I am always so amazed how animal career based people come from such vastly different backgrounds, yet we are all still so similar – we’re all a bit crazy. I remember my first wildlife conference 8 years ago, The Wildlife Society’s Annual Conference in Miami, FL and just thinking “yep, these are my people.” Then attending my first big cat focused conference two years ago, The Felid TAG conference and that brought things to a whole new level – not just wildlife people, but wild cat people specifically. It was like we were all instant best friends. I only spend a week with them and still stay in regular contact with so many people from Felid TAG. I know this is the career for me. Everyone becomes friends immediately because we all share the same passion in our cores and we just fit, when a lot of times we don’t fit anywhere else.
CCF is no different. There are people here from all over the world, from all walks of life. Yet all of us have given up our homelands to move to Africa in the name of cat conservation. There’s my two Brazilians that I have come to love so dearly, Samara and Ana. I met Sam right off the bat at the airport and we hit it off right away and then spent my first few days rooming in a dorm room with Sam and Ana until my house was ready. These two have such great personalities and are always so much fun to hang out with.
There are quite a few Americans, but still all so different. Kaetlyn was in the Army, Ashley a veterinary technician for domestic pets. Paige, my fellow Pennsylvanian. Samantha (a short-term intern) who just finished up college and aspires to be a zookeeper.
There is Hanlie who is of German decent and was a pastry chef before coming to CCF. Bogdan from Romania, my neighbor, Tamara from Austria. Mike and Lousia from the UK. Katrin from Germany. Bart a French salesman. Tarik, an Indian from South Africa…
Everyone has such a unique story and history yet here we are in the heart of Namibia, all together sitting at one big table eating dinner like a family. I guess that’s what we are, this is my CCF family.