We ventured to a place that doesn’t exist because of our love of cheetahs and conversation but returned with a love and new understanding of a region of the world many westerners do not explore.
Of the many rewarding experiences, we gained throughout the trip, the opportunity to present to Somalilander students was toward the top of the list.
Especially for those you who grew up or were around in the 1990’s, Somali was always in news for its unrest and conflict, especially during the Clinton Administration.
Having committed to a very challenging project and days of labor, we get out and have some fun. But we quickly realized that was also going to be challenging!
In addition to the many skills and years of experience we brought to the project; advanced knowledge of animal training became extremely valuable at a time of transition.
A major component to the success of CFF’s work is developing strong partnerships with the locals and especially government officials.
Regardless of the journey and full emergence into a strange culture, the entire purpose of the adventure was to help save a single species.
In addition to caring for over 30 cheetahs of various ages, qualities of health, and temperament, a considerable amount of construction was well underway.
When venturing to any Muslim country westerners are immediately welcomed with a distinct set of cultural rules to follow. Women must cover hair, legs and arms, and in many cases neck and face with a scarf or veil.
Our first full day in Hargeisa began with a full tour of the city via a virtual scavenger hunt for supplies. James, accompanied by American college student Tyler, picked us from the Ambassador Hotel.
After a long and relatively arduous journey, we finally touched down in Hargeisa. Herds of dromedary camels greeted us as they seemed follow beneath us upon landing.
Our first stop in Africa (besides a refueling stop in Togo) was the ancient city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In the west, people may have some preconceived notion of Ethiopia, but our quick visit proved to be a real eye opener.
Our epic adventure to the horn of Africa began at noon on a cold Buffalo winter day…commencing our trip into the unknown.
It’s crunch time!! We are wrapping up all of the year end needs for the Center, try to remember all of the unusual logistics for the trip, finish
We were instructed to get a Visa at the airport upon arrival, apparently they don’t have a US Embassy to apply for a Visa since Somaliland isn’t recognized.
I ordered some new luggage that is plain, nondescript bags that will fit into the overhead bin on the airplane. African airports are known for having valuables stolen from people’s luggage. Ironically, the luggage I ordered disappeared! Never got it. Plus, the money belt I ordered broke after the first time I tried to use it. Is this a bad omen?
HCWC: Last week I had informed Jarod to clean up his facebook pages and phone of anything that might be misconstrued as offensive to their religion. Read more..
HCWC: Booking the hotel. I discovered that the hotel doesn’t take reservations and we have to pay in cash – definitely not a popular tourist area. Oh, and then there is the religious aspect of the region – an unmarried man and woman cannot share a hotel so I have to hope we can get rooms where Jarod is still in screaming distance. Other religious considerations are that we cannot have any skin showing, I need to wear a scarf and Jarod and I both need to wear long pants and sleeves to our elbows in the desert heat. We will also need to wear closed toed shoes, lots of animal fecal matter. All of our money we need for the trip has to be in cash and in small denominations (including for the hotel) on our bodies. Our hotel specializes in camel steaks and camel burgers. How do I explain that to Baboo? Note to self – don’t drink the water, it’s not potable!! CCF: Dr. Laurie Marker sent us a list of high priority needs and the Columbus Zoo is donating a large portion of it, especially necessary vaccines for the cheetahs. HCWC donated a small portion of supplies as well. Jarod and I will be bringing the vital medical supplies with us. I can’t wait to explain why we are traveling with drugs, sutures, syringes, etc. at not one but two custom borders (Ethopia and Somaliland)!
HCWC: Okay, now to prepare for the fun part, vaccinations! Below is a list of diseases we had to get vaccinated against…OUCH!!
CCF: Things are getting worse at CCF. The first temporary facility they built for the seized cheetah cubs is already at max capacity with more cheetahs
HCWC: With the team on board the scrambling begins. First of all, where is this place, is it safe? Looked up Somaliland on the CDC website… well,
CCF: It’s worse than we thought. The world has lost 90% of its wild cheetah population in the last 100 years. There are less than 7,000 cheetahs left in
Hawk Creek has gone full steam ahead on Raptor Park thanks to this section of our new Mill Rd. Facility being funded in part through a generous grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
Hawk Creek is thrilled to announce that the Center will be able to move forward with its Raptor Park construction at its new facility on Mill Rd.! This project is funded in part through a generous grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
Laguna the Ocelot was the best ambassador for her kind that has ever lived. Her absence is felt everyday and her spirit will endure and continue to inspire the world for years to come.