Story of Jo: A Belgian Volunteer’s Experience of Wildlife and Community School Program

Story of Jo: A Belgian Volunteer’s Experience of Wildlife and Community School Program

Last Updated: December 30, 2023

Based on Experience Shared By Jo Vanslambrouck

When our guide Suk spotted it, he signaled us to stop and did not make any movement. Yes, it was there I turned on camera on my cell phone to it and click that as Suk said we can have a photo. He also had a big camera, a canon camera. And that's why he took the clear shot of the leopard.   Yeah, they thought it's a tiger. But I was looking with a binoculars and. No, that's not a tiger. Oh, no, no it's not. That's a leopard!

So how did I feel like when that leopard was just a few meters ahead of me?  Well, let's say it was at least 50m. Yeah. And that was magnificent. I wasn't scared. I was so high with excitement. And then when I take my cell phone and the binoculars and try to film it, and then you saw it. Guide was also shaking, he was also shaking, man! because, yeah, he has a great time. That moment when he said, normally you don't see the leopard. You have more chance to see the tiger than the leopard. Because leopard can climb. They can be in the trees, you know, because they can hide.

It was a great experience! Seeing the leopard.

When leopard was walking away from us another way, he noticed something   and looked to us. And then he was sitting and looking.   I think he spotted us. But we were with three guys. When he must come closer. Then we must stay in a group. Then we look bigger. Yeah, then he wouldn't attack. You should not run. Because when you start running, you're finished. You cannot outrun the leopard.

Also, you must not run from a tiger also, because then your, uh, the, uh, the victim, his instinct says, oh, he's walking away. I must catch him. You know, hey, you must stay put and. Yeah, say ah to Sukha. And then when he comes closer. Yeah. Maybe scare him with, uh. Hey. Wow. Hey. Making a noise or, uh, with a stone or with a stick fight.

Our guide is more careful when he sees or hears about the wild elephant nearby. More than tiger or leopard. If there is a elephant, he's very careful because he says, elephant can be more protective than any other animals and rhinos too

The Wild Elephant Moment

wild elephant spotted in safari

Photo: Wild elephant spotted in safari

When we spotted the wild elephant, we went under the watchtower.   There were the stairs. But I tried to take the stairs, but it was closed. We must be extremely quiet, you know. But he was walking away. I don't know if he spotted us. But when we first hear him, we were pretty close. We were warned that he was there because two other tourists had run from him. You must be careful now because the wild elephant is near, let's say about 300m. So, we walk, we walk. The breeding center was over here. So the wild elephant were walking to the breeding center. So, we must be there before the wild elephant. Otherwise, we can cross this path. So, from that point on the watch tower to the breeding center we took speed walk.

Witnessing a Crocodile Attacking a Deer

Crocodile Attacking a Deer

Photo: Crocodile Attacking a Deer

When we were there, croc was already grabbing the deer on the riverbank and pulled it in the water. It pulled the victim in the water, and it turn around in the deep water until it's drowned and then comes up. And then we saw it Oh, it's a deer. You saw the head from the deer on the water. But at the moment a fisher boat came with two people, local fisher people. And the crocodile was, I think, disturbed. And she was diving and. Oh, we were waiting when she was crawling on the riverbank and we were waiting that she could crawl on the riverbank so we can see and eat the deer. But no, the fisher boat disturbed it. Then our guide Suk said I must find the crocodile. Oh my God. And at that moment, I was so scared what he was doing there, that's. I'd say we were. Yeah, at that level. Yeah. And the crocodile was this level down a little bit higher.

He spotted her, but the, uh, the riverbank was very sharp. Suk was climbing on a tree above the water. When she was lying there at the riverbank. Another croc was waiting maybe to catch her.  In Suk’s camera he got a clear shot.

The Walking Safari

jo walking in safari

Photo: Jo walking in safari

Sometimes we crossed small tree over the water, definitely those with no crocs. But stay in balance, because I was not scared for the water. I was scared for my equipment. Hey, when you fall in the water, everything is gone. All the pictures are gone. Hey, but Suk and the other guy have so many balances, they could walk straight over the tree. They helped me cross river, carrying me on a stick. I was with two guys like this, man. Oh, yeah, very good guides.

The Micro Adventure

jo walking in safari

Photo: In a micro adventure

Micro adventure was very cool, and I felt like an Indian when I starting the fire. I was In the middle of nowhere behind us, there was a banana tree, a forest, a little forest here. It smelled so nice, and it was the first time that I did that, for me, it's also a great experience. I will do that again and a few days later, Suk said Jo we will do Micro adventure again. So we were preparing the dinner at home, take it away to the field Oh my goodness. You don't didn't have that experience in Africa. So that was also wildlife experience there, eating in nature. That was so nice, so nice. Yeah. I will miss that at this moment. Pure nature!

Spotting the Rhino Right Outside the Homestay in Jungle

rhino spotted in the safari

Photo:rhino spotted in the safari

One night in Safari,suddenly my phone was ringing. Oh, man, am I dreaming or what? And it was knocking on the door. “Jo there's a rhino here!” I open my room and. Yeah, he looked through the window. Oh my God. And I with my flashlight. We went outside, uh, behind the door with iron bars. So, uh, a solid door and lightning. And for me, it was a nice feeling. There was a nice feeling, man. So close! And the first rhino went away slowly. And then when we get back to the room, I was also flashing to the window. And there was another one coming. So yeah, but yeah, it was nice. Also thanks to Suk, because he said that was my secret. I hired that room because you have more chance to see the rhino and the other tourists were behind the backyard of the homestay. They see nothing, just the garden with flowers. So that was my luck. But yeah, the great experience it was mostly.

Living with Local Community

jo with host family

Photo:Jo with host family

I find the family very honest and very sincere , and Suk was very clear minded.   So very impressive family.  Suk, his wife, the daughter, the Dog, and entire neighborhood, it was amazing living together will all them.

Working With Community School

jo with community school children

Photo:Jo with community school children

The response from the school and the kids was really overwhelming and emotional. I have never taught before, so I preferred to be more involve in sports and extra-curricular activities. Exploring the wildlife of Chitwan and then sharing them to the kids in the school was a beautiful experience.

A lot of Memories to take back home to Belgium

When I think about it, I became emotional. It was great time with a great family. I was a lucky guy that we met each other. This moment I had with all the people I met, the family, the schools, the jungles and animals of the national park, the birds and the trees. Safari and micro adventure, everything are imprinted in my mind. I am pretty sure these memories will keep coming in my dream and I will always remember it. Yeah! I will be flying back to Belgium with lots of memories.

Get More Info Now »

Volunteer Abroad Destinations
Our Volunteers' Experiences and Reviews

I met calm, nice and good people.

Thank you for welcoming me into this program.

volunteer review marina

- Marina Parejo

Spain, Volunteered in Sri Lanka Monastery

I would recommend this as it is a very full immersive experience in the beautiful Kenyan culture and there is a lot to be learnt.

volunteer testimony Anna

- Anna Avataneo,

Italy, Volunteered in Kenya Medical Project

I was having a wonderful time, more than I could have hoped for.

volunteer testimony marlene

- Marlene Baumann

Switzerland, Psychology and Meditation Program

In our journey of more than 9 years, we hosted and enrolled hundreds of volunteers. All the good reviews from our previous participants say it all.

volunteer fdip - Volunteer Reviews

meditation retreat

online meditation square banner

Featured Volunteer Programs
Recent Articles
Most Popular