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Ulovane Update: Connecting with Pieter




Hands sanitised…..check
Mask on…..check
Nobody in my 1.5m social distancing space….check
Daily screening and cleared to operate….check
…..and we are good to go!!!
Welcome to all from a fresh, chilly morning in the Eastern Cape Bush and an extra warm welcome to all our new students who have arrived at camp for our first course since the lockdown started earlier this year. Seeing everyone arrive yesterday, full of smiles in their eyes (being the only visible portion of everyone’s faces) and excitement mumbling through the facemasks was a rather strange feeling. Everyone has been waiting for the ‘new normal’ to start, and we are exceptionally lucky that the guide training industry has opened up and we can all get back to doing what we love and we have reached a point where the ‘new normal’ can commence.
The lockdown has had a lot of negative effects for the country as well as most individuals, especially in our industry that took a massive hit due to the lack of tourism and our biggest condolences to anyone and everyone who has been affected during this troublesome time.
We all had to learn how to deal with compromise and change recently, for some being easier than others, but through it all, I think a lot of people have forgotten to see the good that has come from it. Nature has been transforming itself over the last few months, just standing on the deck at Ulovane campus and looking down at the animals on the plain, you can clearly see the change in their behavior and their patterns, for the first time in decades they have their home mainly to themselves. They have become more relaxed in their movements; they’ve been free to move wherever they wanted to without disturbances from people and really believe this has been an amazing time for all creatures out there. There are numerous posts on social media with flocks of birds or pods of dolphins, all in numbers that have ‘never’ been seen before. Mother nature needed this break, and despite all the hardship for humans that came with it, it is without a doubt a hugely positive outcome from this pandemic.

There has also been a massive increase in communications between family members. I have noticed that there have been people you never heard from for years on end, but since the lockdown, more people are making contact, yes they have more time on their hands, but at the same time, things are more personal. It has always been acceptable to just send a text message to a family member on their birthday or a quick call throughout the day, but since this lockdown started the number of ‘combined family effort’ video montages, etc that have been made to celebrate a loved one’s birthday has gone through the roof, each one starting the same way….”Due to the fact that we cannot have a party and get everyone together…..”, but ask yourself, how many of these birthday parties have you actually missed in the past without it ever being an issue? Nobody realized how much they were neglecting this aspect of life until the opportunity got taken away completely, so even though everyone is being kept away from each other, at the same time it is also bringing people closer together, it gave people some time to realize what is important in life, made people realize that the rushed lives they have been living might just not be as much worth as they thought.

Numerous friends and family members, myself included, focus on new hobbies or old ones we have forgotten about or always used the excuse…” but I don’t have enough time”, people starting using their skills to bring in money for their households, re-discovered old passions and realized they are capable of being a lot more self-sustained than they thought. I fully realize the impact the COVID situation has on everyone, but I want to send out a request to everyone to stop complaining about everything that doesn’t go their way anymore, finding fault with every decision that gets made and just having an overall negative attitude following them around. Yes, it is hard times and yes, it is still far from being normal or having the feeling of freedom again and yes, there are a lot of things wrong and unfair…but don’t neglect to see the good in the situation, stop focussing just on the bad and negative, you might need to dig a bit to find the positives, everyone has their own experiences and affected differently, but I am positive that there is something good that came out of the lockdown for everyone, find that something and use it to help overpower the bad.
The storm will pass, you can either sit around and complain about it or find the ray of sunshine that breaks through the clouds and shows you the way. Stay safe and warm this winter, and don’t let everything going on around you bring you down, start looking for the things that can help you build yourself back up.

  • Pieter Dunn – Lead Trainer for the Trails Guide Courses