What Did I Do During Lockdown?!
The first 50 days where the hardest to get through. We were 8 doing the work normally completed by about 45 people. We all stay on the Monkeyland and Birds of Eden property and as all other staff where asked to stay home for their safety those of us who stayed on the property jumped in to get all the work done and make sure all the animals are fed.
Learning that our apples need to be cut into three different sizes for different animals as well as some carrots need cutting and some grating. Some sweet potato we cut and cook and yet again others we grate uncooked. It showed how much work actually goes into feeding the primates and birds in our care. The nearly 4000 animals still needed their twice a day feeding which amounts to about 480kg of freshly cut and cooked fruits and vegetables.
In the beginning it took us hours to complete the daily tasks but we got faster as the days kept ticking by. My duty on a daily basis was to first cut 2 boxes of apples into about an average of 8 pieces. Then I will cut 22 boxes of apples into 6 pieces each. Once this is completed I cut 5 boxes of appels into slices abut 8mm wide, once I have them all sliced I put them through a chip cutter to make tiny blocks no bigger than 8x8x8. Once this is completed I cut the 30killograms of cooked potatoes into "bite size pieces". While I do all these Lara would be cutting 3 extra large boxes of bananas, break 11 loafs of bread into 2 different sizes, cut up the sweet potato that needs to be cooked, gently slice the 10 to 40 bunches of spinach and beetroot leaves (depending on the day) some days Lara also had a 10kg bag of onions to cut up into small pieces. Then there where days that we had to make the monkey balls, help with the cooking of pumpkin and beetroot, help dish up the food into the different feeding buckets and so on.
Once every bucket and bowl has been filled we start the daily clean up. Washing down equipment and tables as well as sweeping and mopping floor and packing everything away so that the next day can start with ease. It still surprises me that in the beginning we would get home at 5pm but towards the end of Lara and my stint in the kitchen we finished by about 2pm each day so I am quite chuffed with us.
I still spend one day a week in the kitchen and I have to say it is an experience I will cherish for life.
Once a week I also took off into one of the three sanctuaries and did a live walk through on our Facebook page to show all our friends and followers that the animals are still doing great and we are still here.
As we went into level 4 we could bring back 2 staff members and then on level 3 we could bring back an additional 4. During level 3 when they opened hiking trails we were allowed to bring back even more staff so we could prepare and then open Birds of Eden (open since 1 July 2020) and then prepare and open Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary (open since 13 July 2020)
We hope the day will be here soon that we can open the 2 Monkeyland sanctuaries here in Plettenberg Bay as well as in Kwa-Zulu Natal.