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Blog from MBP Volunteer, Sara

Hello Everyone! My name is Sara and I am one of the newest volunteers with the MBP and their black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) project! I am very excited to have this opportunity to study such fascinating animals and to get the chance to travel to a different part of the world and be exposed to a new culture for the next 6 months!

Fortunately for me, I got this position sort of last minute… I was just finishing up a month long volunteer position banding saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus) at Beaverhill Bird Observatory (BBO) in Tofield, Alberta, Canada when I found out about this project. It just so happened that a volunteer dropped out last minute on MBP and so an email went out on a Friday, looking for someone to take their place. My last day of work with BBO was that Friday and so I applied for this position Saturday, heard back from MBP on Sunday and had my interview on Tuesday! At the end of the interview I was told that I had the job and that was that! Talk about things coming together all of a sudden!

I was and still am sooooo excited that I get to go to Madagascar for the next 6 months to study lemurs! This is any biologist’s dream job/opportunity! And I am actually living it! It’s hard to believe that this is really happening at times… What this fantastic news also meant for me was that from the time I accepted the position, I had only 23 days to prepare my things before leaving for Madagascar. I had to get my butt in gear fast and get myself moving in order to get everything ready for my departure! That first week after my interview was such an exciting and stressful period. I was desperately trying to get all the paper work done on time, get all of my vaccinations up to date and I had to go shopping for all the necessary equipment I would need…The most stressful part of preparing for Madagascar was definitely getting the travel visa in order. There were a lot of steps required to getting that document and a lot of those steps took time to be processed. It was a very time-sensitive issue that caused much stress but thankfully everything came together in the end and all is well in the world!

I will be leaving for Madagascar on Nov 29th, and I can’t wait to get there! I’m so excited and a bit nervous at the same time. I am not sure what to expect when I get there… This will be my first time traveling to a 3rd world country for any real length of time so it will be an adventure for sure! I’m curious to see what the capital and rural areas are like. I can’t wait to see the countryside, to meet the people, to learn a new language (Malagasy) and see all the different wildlife there! I’m especially excited about all of the wildlife. Being a biologist and a birder, I am just sooooo eager to see and learn as much as I can about the local animals! I can’t wait!

I am also extremely excited to interact with the locals and make new friendships with them and my fellow-coworkers at MBP. Everything about this position is new and exciting and as I have already said, I can’t wait for this adventure to begin! I know I will learn a lot from this experience, about the world and about myself and I look forward to it with an eager smile on my face and an enthusiasm that will never die (no matter how tough the rainy season is or how bad the bugs will get!).

That is all I can think to say for right now, though I’m sure I’ll be writing another blog entry at some point so stay posted and take care everyone!


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