Volunteering is hard work

You have to wake up early, work long shifts and more often than not, get your hands dirty (in fact, you will be covered in monkey feces and urine).

You often have to sacrifice your breaks to assist in medical emergencies.

You will be feeding the monkeys more than you have time to feed yourself.

You will be tired. Very tired. And you will most likely complain about it.

You will be stuck inside Sickbay all day and you won’t see much beyond the sanctuary.

You may long to do more, see more and interact with more than just monkeys.

You may wonder why you came all this way and why you’re giving up your time for work that seems uninspiring.

You may be let down and ready to leave.

Or you may eventually realize that your job is so rewarding. That it is inspiring.

You will see sick monkeys get better and it will make up for all the tears that came from the passing of other monkeys.

You will realize that working tirelessly for these monkeys was worth it.

You will become intertwined in the intricate social lives of the vervet monkeys.

You will be in awe and in love.

You will want to spread awareness.

You will discover that these monkeys think, feel and eat just like we do. That they are so similar to us. That no one should ever consider them a pest.

Eventually, you will realize that the Vervet Monkey Foundation is making a positive impact on not only those monkeys but also on you.

You will learn so much about yourself.

You will no longer resort to running away from situations that make you uncomfortable. You will realize that in doing so, you will just end up more lost.

You will find yourself in the place that brings you unhappiness.

You will learn to live in the moment and to enjoy each and every day no matter what hardships occur.

You will understand that every sanctuary is different and that you shouldn’t compare a country with another.

Doing this just takes away the beauty of diversity as each place is unique in terms of its culture, people and customs.

You will realize that you shouldn’t ever be upset when things go wrong. You should take what you don’t agree with and what frightens you to be more patient, kind, forgiving and strong.

You will become more open-minded as you learn that some things never go according to plan. It is why you won’t be disappointed when the place you’ve dreamt about working at doesn’t live up to your expectations.

In the end, goodbyes will be hard to come by and even though you’re so ready for your next adventure, you will miss the monkeys you’ve worked with, the people you’ve met and the friendships you’ve formed.

You may even miss the sanctuary that you once longed to leave.

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