Few people appreciate nature as much as Omphile. We had the opportunity to speak with Omphile (far left), a guide from Ker & Downey Safaris who in his spare time, volunteers at local non-profit organization, Bana Ba Letsatsi.
Along with Moses (far right), his co-worker, Omphile runs the ‘Wildlife Club.’ During low season, the two guides visit BBL once or twice a week to teach the kids everything from animal behaviour and plant species, to conservation and climate change.
Omphile is so passionate about this project because it allows him to teach kids about the exciting wilderness in their own backyards. “Although many of these kids come from villages on the outskirts of the Delta,” he says, “many don’t have the advantages of coming out into the bush.”
Omphile, who has been a guide for ten years, wants the kids to understand why he is so passionate about nature. “I love it!” he exclaims, “Every morning you’re excited about a new day… getting to see the animals – it’s such an amazing experience.”
Through the club, the kids participate in activities, lessons, and even prepare presentations. Although Omphile was a little uncertain how the kids would react to this, their response was beyond what he could have expected.
“I gave them an assignment to research about trees” he says, “to some people, trees are just trees. I wasn’t expecting the excitement I got… You should have seen the excitement!” The kids came back with facts, stories and even different uses for the different types of trees.
Not only do they regularly visit, but on occasion, Ker & Downey sponsor all the kids to visit one of their camps. The kids are treated to walks, game drives, and even boat cruises. “You could tell from their smiles… we made a change in those kids.”
Partnered with BBL, Omphile is excited to see this program continue to grow. “The management, the staff taking care of the kids, are great… we’re all fighting for one goal: to make a difference in these kids,” he says. He hopes that these gradual steps will one day result in something great: “my dream is to see some of these kids to be guides in camps or managers.”
The Wildlife Club is just one way that Omphile and Ker & Downey are giving back to their community.