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The class of July 2019 started our first day getting to know 22 new names and faces, getting a feel for campus life and starting paperwork. The campus rung out with many “what’s your name again?” as we all settled in and attempted to memorise new slightly nervous looking faces. The next day brought new ventures for the international students as they ventured into Polokwane to register for traffic numbers at the department of transport. The remaining nationals got a taste of bush life, going on a litter safari, picking up any litter along the riverbed. The evening was spent getting to know a few more faces and introducing ourselves during the Welcome braai.

Making new friends

The third day we all ventured out to the reptile park, learning about reptiles. We had a lecture on dangerous snakes before being allowed to handle them. A few lucky victims fed chameleons, with a twist… they fed live cockroaches from their mouths. One student got a taste of bug life when a cockroach burst in his mouth. After the adventures of the morning, a trip to khaki fever came next, where we all picked up our uniforms. The start of our official look.

Getting up close with some reptiles

Friday and Saturday were spent in the classroom gaining our first aid qualification. Many victims were chosen, and “bites” administered amongst other injuries as group members rushed out into the “wild bush” to find the patients. Stretchers came and went, CPR performed, and treatments administered as the classroom teemed with life. With everyone restored to life and full health, Saturday evening was spent at the local pub after everyone had all passed their first aid exam.

Hand on first aid training

First aid training

The highlight of the week, however, came when everyone was studying hard on the first official lecture when a pangolin came to class. The lecture abandoned as the surprised students rushed out to witness this amazing spectacle. The pangolin had been found near an electric fence, and was rescued and  shown to the students before being released as a preventative measure, much to the delight of all. For many, it was their first encounter with a pangolin. Passing pangolins has been the best start to our first official week, and all are excited to see where the next few months lead too.

Passing Pangolin

Blog by Sam Parker, photos by Georgie Stewart