At first, the food sounds like it would be fantastic; meat cooked over a wood-fired grill, each meal served with vegetables and a dessert of ice cream or cake. But, the reality is, after the first few meals the trend becomes apparent. With breakfast, we get eggs and sausage or bacon, some cereal or oatmeal for the vegetarians, and tea or coffee. With lunch, it can be overcooked steak, chicken, and occasionally pork. Each meal includes rice and/or some type of potato, with vegetables on the side usually cooked carrots and cauliflower. We get a dessert of ice cream or something along thoughts lines such as cake. Dinner might throw in a portion of pasta which will be one some type of white cream sauce of they have it. And of course the ice cream or cake dessert.
It doesn’t take long to get tired of the food and to realize that it could be easy to get fat eating here. I know the locals are hard pressed and would love such a meal, so it’s funny that they serve all of this to the guests and volunteers. I’m not sure what I will want to eat when I get home, but it’s safe to say it won’t be a beef or chicken product.
As much as I don’t want to, I have to comment on the elephants and my dissatisfaction at seeing them being trained to do carnival tricks and take people on rides, but the means to the end can be justified? I guess… and the idea that another option is slaughter by people selling bones or ivory makes it a little more palpable. I don’t see myself throwing the pictures they had me do setting on them on Facebook when I get home. They have me sit on the elephant while they take my camera to do pictures of me. They have the elephant lean forward, sit, hold one leg up for me to sit on, all while I feed it peanuts as a reward. After the photo-show, they have us do a ride on the elephants where they drag around a chain on the rear leg the use to chain them up with when not on display for the guests and volunteers.
I realize it’s still only the first few days, but I find myself sitting around quite a bit more than I would prefer. And when not sitting around, being toured around like some of the resort guests that are also here. I did come to volunteer to help wildlife after all.
I have used the term guests when referring to others a few times, so I guess I should explain. The Antelope Park is half African Safari and resort, and half volunteer save the animals. The volunteers have separate living environment and quarters to keep them away from the guests, except for some joint events like elephant rides and meals. The park uses the revenue they generate to help pay for the food and care required for the lions and other animals at the part. They also employee about 100 locals, which in a country with 80% unemployment the jobs are a good thing to have.