Fall in Love and Cut Everyone Some Slack

FafaThe past few weeks I’ve spent 20+ hours a day loving animals. Eating and yoga were my only daily activities without them. (Yes, I slept with them.) Moments from this animal sanctuary will play on the highlight reel at my deathbed.

There were 30-45 other volunteers. Since this blog is designed to help me build love for humans the way I automatically feel it for animals, let’s go through some of the characters. (For their privacy I’m not using names.)

Female, 20- Her family’s business is operating a Nature Reserve for safari. So she grew up with lions, leopards, rhino and elephants in her daily life.

Male, age 47ish- Has worked in retail, as a pastor, in a diamond mine, and now in animal management where he can cuddle lions and they love it.

Female, 40-something- Is going through a divorce because her husband cheated on her. She’s happy to be done with him and said, “He’s her problem now.”

Male, 18- Has a vertical scar on his right wrist, following the veins. I never got a chance to ask about his past.

Most of the volunteers were Europeans on gap year (19-21 years old.) There wasn’t all that much difference between me and them, other than I’ve been living with my partner for 8 years and they still live with their parents. Some topics are the same regardless of age: food, love, the confusing choices that come with the privilege of being free. Pride

Sometimes I’d justify their behavior with their age:

Male, 23, on staff, slept with a different volunteer every week. Because the sanctuary is over an hour from town and workdays are 12+ hours, he had nowhere else to look for women. If he was older, perhaps he could’ve exercised restraint. But a hot 23-year-old guy is just gonna get it wherever he can and we can’t really blame him.

Female, 19, was a lazy extrovert. I didn’t like being paired with her because she was more interested in socializing than cutting meat for the animals or cleaning cages. Sometime in her 20’s I imagine she’ll figure out how to work efficiently and still have time for play. I don’t harbor hard feelings against her. I’m just glad I don’t have to work with her again.

namibiaFeaturedAt the sanctuary I could ignore 99% of all bullshit from humans. I was oblivious to bullshit because I was focused on animals. Remember falling in love? How in those weeks or months you weren’t fazed if your bag got stolen or someone cut you off in traffic? You were in a bubble of your own happiness. That was me with the animals: in love. When we fall in love with something, we can let the rest go.




  1. Rachel, I LOVE your passion for animals!!!


  2. Welcome back Rachel! I love reading this! What an experience!!


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