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    The final week of semester 5 brought with it the culmination of all the blood, sweat and tears (and hard work!) of the previous 5 months.  Those of you that read the previous blog will note that the students recently wrote their FGASA level 1 theory exam, and I am delighted to inform you that everyone passed!  With that hurdle out of the way, all that stood between them and a full guiding qualification was the practical assessment…

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    Throughout the week, all 20 students ventured into the bush in total control of the land rover.  No more did they have a trainer sat by their side in case the proverbial waste products hit the rotating blades…  Instead, they were faced with an assessor in the back row with a clipboard and high expectations!  Despite the pressure to perform, we were confident that all would excel.  The previous drives from all students had proved that their knowledge base was well beyond a standard level 1 guide and their communication and guiding skills had improved infinitely since the beginning of the course.

    As we had hoped (an expected), everyone performed very well and the assessors were treated to drive after drive of in depth and relevant knowledge on every aspect from the bush.  From making tooth brushes from Magic Gwarri’s to explaining how to sex millipedes, the students proved unequivocally that they were ready to be let loose in the guiding industry!

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    Not only were the assessments a great success, but they brought with them some amazing sightings including a beautiful leopardess on the prowl and a male lion on a giraffe kill being hounded by the local clan of hyenas!  Suffice to say that even 8 vs 1 was still not enough to deter the king of the jungle from relinquishing his hard earned meal!  Perhaps the highlight of the week however was not the string of amazing sightings (or the effort the students went to during their morning and afternoon coffee breaks that included home baked muffins and scones as well a freshly prepared fruit salads!) but the fact that finally the rains arrived!

    Friday morning brought with it a deluge of rain that deposited over 20mm of water in about 15 mins!  Dams were almost instantaneously filled and the bush literally sprang to life.  After postponing that morning’s assessment for a couple of hours, by the time the rain abated, the bush was awash with dung beetles, millipedes and the sounds of frogs as one and all rejoiced in nature’s elixir!  The rain continued on and off for the next 2 days, allowing its life giving properties to soak into the soil and resurrect the barren landscape that has been common place for the last 9 months.  Such is nature’s power to bounce back from adversity, it will be amazing to see how the bush will have changed when we all return from a well-earned week off!

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    Until then……Ben & the Bushwise Team