By Jennifer Webb, Abriendo Mentes volunteer
The day we’d all been waiting for finally arrived! About 50 children, volunteers and parents met in front of the Abriendo Mentes office bright and early on Sunday November 21st before departing to Africa Mia Wildlife Preserve safari adventure!
Las Catalinas development, here in Potrero (a new partner of Abriendo Mentes this month) kindly sponsored the transportation to Liberia (an hour from Potrero) to Africa Mia. Thanks to all the sponsors and supporters, our most dedicated students had a great, fun-filled day seeing all kinds of new animals, successfully fulfilling our third goal; the experiential learning excursions.
Although we said to dress casually and wear comfy shoes, the kids came all dressed up, excited for the big outing. Boys sported polo’s and button-ups and the girls were decked out in bejeweled jeans, fancy sandals and studded barrettes. And even though they were hyper, they were on their best behavior.
Each child bought a bag of carrots for 500 colones to feed the animals. The beginning of the walking tour featured peacocks, pigs, deer, ostriches and more. They were all eager to give their carrots away to the deer and had to be reminded to save some for the other animals. The ostrich’s quick, snappy, pecks made the kids a little jumpy. Only carrots were snatched.
There were dozens of zebras but one was especially unique. In between its stripes were lighter beige stripes. On the other side of the road two other zebras were tumbling around and playing.
The giraffes were by far everyone’s favorite. The kids held out their carrots and the giraffes long purple tongues reached through the fence and curled around the carrots before they chomped them down. We learned a giraffes tongue is so long they can actually stretch it all the way back to their horns. It wasn’t demonstrated for us but we could all imagine.
Several times after our tour guide would turn around and start walking to the next animals to be featured, the long necked creatures would arch their necks all the way over the fence and bob their heads over ours for more carrots.
After the camels, oryxs and several kinds of antelope, we saw a baby giraffe and its mom. Another highlight of our safari adventure. After running around a little the young calf began to nurse. A fence divided the father from its family. We learned like many animals, they’re known to be jealous of their infant so the division is for the baby’s protection.
This week we’ll be reviewing all the cool things we learned about our new animal friends and learn their English names.