Volunteer Spotlight: Emma Baxter

Why did you choose a wildlife conservation and animal welfare organization to volunteer with?

I have always loved wildlife so when I decided to volunteer it made sense to look at programs involving animal welfare and conservation. Initially I started searching for places in South Africa because I had heard that there were several organizations across the country there, however, I then decided to broaden my search and I came across LWT. As soon as I saw the website and got into contact with them I knew it was a place that I wanted to go.

How long have you signed up to volunteer with the wildlife Trust? I have signed up for 10 weeks, so almost 3 months. Ideally I wanted to be here for as long as I could but 10 weeks was all I could at this moment in time.

What got you up in the mornings?

Knowing that I have to feed one of the various orphans that we have here. I know that they are relying on me to be fed and I could not be the one to let them down and mess up their feeding schedule.

Any surprises about life in Malawi?

I have been to Africa before so not that much about Malawi has surprised me. The main thing is probably how green it is now, during the rainy season. But the country as a whole is just amazing, they are faced with daily struggles of power cuts or no water but everyone is so prepared for it that it often goes unnoticed.

Which LWT project or animal care activity did you enjoy the most and why?

So, I have been looking after a little Duiker that we got in not long after I arrived. It’s been really nice seeing him every day and seeing how he has progressed and grown. Besides that though, I can’t think of any particular task that I dislike or don’t enjoy, everything is challenging but in the best way possible and I love it.

Do you have any take home messages for people who may be thinking of joining the LWT volunteer team here in Malawi?

I think that now volunteer programmes are becoming more popular and widespread it is easy to forget that they are developed to help animals, rather than it being a way to get some nice pictures cuddling different animals. So, what I would say to other potential volunteers is that this trust and organization are so passionate about helping the animals, and their first priority is the wellbeing of these animals, which I think is so important. I would definitely recommend coming here because you can really see a difference in the animal’s lives and that is very rewarding.

What will be your lasting memory of your time at LWT?

It’s so hard to pick one memory so I’m going to have to mention a few things. My first one being the little Duiker that I have been looking after, he’s really starting to show his cheeky personality now, which is so cute. My second memory will be the other volunteers that I have spent my time with. Everyone here is so lovely and it’s great to meet people from all over the world and hear their stories. A third memory will be my trip to Liwonde National Park. It was really nice to drive through Malawi and actually see the country, and the park itself was absolutely gorgeous.

What struck you the most about the people who work at the Trust?

I love how passionate the whole team is, whether they are one of the animal care guys, part of the office team, or the orphan care team, everyone has the animals best interest at heart. They are also so friendly and welcoming, you never feel alone or left out of anything, someone is always around and happy to help you. They are one of the best things about this place and the work they do is incredible, they are truly inspiring.