Waiting for April!


Elleni Stephanou, Local Intern

Date Published

My name is Elleni Stephanou and I have lived in Kenya my entire life! I thought I had seen it all, from annual game drives, to volunteering at chimpanzee sanctuaries and turtle rehab centre’s, but in August of 2012 I realised how wrong I had been.

I visited the STE camp for two nights with my aunt Dr. Paula Kahumbu as we worked on her project Africa’s Wildest Stories and were heartily welcomed and made part of the crew. On the drive to the camp we photographed a cheetah lazing in the evening sun, a leopard hiding in a bush with its kill, and a herd of elephants enjoying the cool river water. That night was a fantastic full moon that I managed to picture using Paula’s telescope.

Already I was in awe at the rich Samburu animal life, and beautiful scenery, and was excited for what the following days had in store for me. I went on focal studies with the PhD student Shifra Goldenberg and Heidi Robbins who we met at the camp. Here I watched elephants come up to the vehicle with indifferent trunk gestures and guttural groans, meanwhile I sat in the back shivering with anticipation at the towering bulls next move. I also went to the nearby village to interview an elder of the community for the AWS project and had to use the bridge that had been destroyed after a major flood in the area. The bridge really tested my prethought indifference with heights as I hung onto a ladder, towering over a massive group of baboons, but soon swung myself, and the camera equipment to safety.

I’m on a gap year having finished high school in the summer of 2012 and hope to be pursuing an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology degree in the future. I have been taking part in as many of the local experiences that Kenya has to offer as I can and so I’m thoroughly excited to start my internship at Save The Elephants this April.