A Dream Come True: My Journey to Africa as a Sea Turtle Conservation Volunteer


I had this longtime dream of volunteering in Africa and dealing with sea turtles. This yr, I had the possibility to meet my dream due to this unimaginable firm. Cisco incentivizes staff to present again — offering us with 80 hours of paid day without work along with our common paid day without work known as Time2Give — and that is simply a part of our wonderful tradition. No marvel we’re the #1 finest place to work in additional than 12 international locations!

Turtle being inspected.

For nearly 4 weeks — a mixture of Time2Give and paid day without work submitted for Cisco volunteer donation matching hours, one other unimaginable profit — I labored and discovered with biologists and the native guards from Programa Tatô, an NGO in Praia Jalé on São Tomé & Príncipe Island.

It was a difficult expertise that developed my resilience and helped me overcome many fears. I slept in a tent on the seaside that tore a little bit extra every day throughout enormous storms. I confronted cockroaches, lizards, snakes, and rats. I ate prompt noodles every day, had no faucet water or electrical energy, and spent two weeks with out cellphone protection. Most of my time was spent ALONE, strolling many miles on the sand or within the mud. Once I wasn’t on my own, it was a totally reverse expertise, deep diving into the locals and their tradition, habits, and meals and studying their native language known as “Angolar Creole” to speak. Although some instances have been robust, I felt stronger than ever. Nothing was going to cease me from fulfilling my dream and function for being there.

… and the ocean turtles. I used to be actually blessed!

Though not the excessive season for nesting, it was the excessive season for child turtles. Each day, I helped many infants on their journeys to the ocean, defending them from tremendous enormous hawks, canines, and pigs. And regardless of the season, I used to be nonetheless fortunate sufficient to help a sea turtle nesting each week.

Cristina holding a sea turtle on a boat.

What I beloved probably the most throughout my time there was monitoring turtles on the feeding space close to Ilhéu das Rolas and being invited to fishermen’s houses, tasting their meals, and listening to their tales.

I additionally had the possibility to work with vacationers, current my concepts and proposals for enhancements to the NGO and their workforce administration, and establish some parallel markets, naturally incorporating a few of my every day enterprise operations experience although I used to be far-off from my on a regular basis life.

Being a sea turtle conservation volunteer was a tremendous expertise, patrolling seashores day and night time, serving to moms and infants survive their enemies, and overcoming private fears. I’ve grown a lot as an individual, made many mates, and left a part of my coronary heart in São Tomé.

This wouldn’t have been doable with out the help of my Cisco household and our firm’s distinctive tradition, which inspires our spirit of giving again with paid day without work to do it. Thanks, Cisco, for serving to me fulfill my dream.

 

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A beach.

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