February 1, 2012 by Beverley Simpson
We’re at Makakatana Bay Lodge in the northern part of Kwa Zulu Natal on the banks of Lake St Lucia not far from Swaziland. Having some wonderful viewings of giraffe, water buffalo, zebra, rhino, warthog families and many kinds of antelope with a fantastic guide named Riley who is both very knowledgeable and excited about his work. He’s also a great bartender and cook. We’ve had evening drinks with him on the savannah as well as a fantastic outdoor breakfast at the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park north of the Lodge in Zululand and surrounded by lovely hillside residences and small villages. We left the lodge about 5 this morning to travel to this famous park where there is lots to see.
On the day we arrived at the lodge we took a wrong turn and before we knew it we had glimpses of giraffe, zebra, warthogs and tons of colourful birds. It was very exciting to see these animals in the wild and protected. We spent one evening with this large lone bull elephant just watching him as the sun set and he wandered the plains. At a couple of points you’d swear he knew he was giving us a thrill – he was only 20 feet from our truck – and he seemed to pose for us. Riley was full of interesting information and knew just how close to get so as not to scare or disturb him but to give us a good sighting.
One of the pictures below is of Dung Beetles which live in elephant dung. Thanks to Louwrena, Riley’s colleague who taught us about these interesting creatures and actually had us hold them and their dung balls. The elephants wander the roads at night near the lodge – they come to eat from the trees and one night devoured the year’s crop of mangoes! By morning their dung is full of beetles which will live and reproduce in the dung – as well as recycle the dung into useful products for the ecosystem…a form of symbiosis. They are extremely efficient. Researchers found that a 1.5 km of dung attracted 16 thousand beetles who disposed of it in under 2 hours.
Having a wonderful trip and meeting many interesting people with lots of insight in to this wondefully complex country.
February 23, 2010 by Beverley Simpson
Those who know me know that I am a mad recycler/composter -have been for 35 years or so. I remember working as a volunteer when the kids were little for a Pointe Claire, Quebec upstart organization called STOP – the Society To Overcome Pollution. Seems a hundred years ago – it fact it was about 35 years ago and far too long ago for the seemingly little progress we have made to reduce/reuse/and recycle our immense piles of waste.
However I remain hopeful for a more conscientious future and one of those hopeful signs is right in the Athletes Village where I go each day and see clean, large recycle bins everywhere. You don’t have to carry your banana peel or apple core very far before you can find a composting bucket with a clean –hopefully biodegradable – plastic bag inside ready to accept your offering. Beside the composting buckets is a huge drum to recycle plastic water, juice and pop bottles.
Word is that Coke – one of the key Olympic sponsors – has a piece of equipment nearby that takes hundreds of plastic bottles and makes them into a 4x4x4 foot cube in seconds. The cubes are immediately sent to recycling plants.
February 17, 2010 by Beverley Simpson
One of the reasons I was very excited about my volunteer assignment in the Polyclinic in the Athletes Village was the opportunity to really experience inter-professional practice in action.
It has been many years since I practiced clinical nursing and worked side by side with other health professionals in the field. Here was the chance to experience this in 2010, and in a setting where many health professionals are actively working together collaboratively to meet individual patient needs.
Like other health professionals in the field today, I use terms like inter-professional practice, collaboration and team work regularly and often discuss the actualities of important current concepts like patient-focused care. This seemed like an awesome opportunity to experience the realities of what many might call “lingo”.