I’m Jordan – an apprentice from Leeds, I went on an Erasmus+ placement to Aruba with Everything is Possible.
Aruba, a tiny happy island in the West Indies – is the perfect place to experience culture, work and fun. I enjoyed my placement at the Aruban Donkey Sanctuary so much that I forgot I was working at all. The placement gave me the opportunity to work with all different types of animals – from Dogs at Contreras Vets to Monkeys at Phillip’s Animal Garden- all of the hosting organisations did everything they could to make me feel welcome and I am grateful to have been given the chance to make a difference out there.
Day to day life in the Donkey Sanctuary consisted of feeding, cleaning, welcoming visitors and running the souvenir shop. I was able to both further my skills and give something back at the same time. Their are 124 donkeys at the sanctuary, each with their own unique personality. Desiree – who runs the sanctuary is inspirational and works tirelessly to ensure the donkeys are well looked after – she even knows every donkey’s name – from Tio Mexico the oldest donkey to Tiddles the youngest!
Phillip’s Animal Garden is a centre for rescued animals, here I was introduced to many fury friends – a monkey called Peter and a baby goat that knew I was there to feed it and would follow me around! My duties at Phillip’s consisted of cleaning out the aviary and feeding the various animals. The staff at Phillip’s speak mostly Spanish so it was a good opportunity for me to improve my language skills!
In my free time, we visited the many local sightseeing destinations including Ayo Rock and the Natural Bridge – where I got drenched by an unexpected wave – the climate is so warm that this wasn’t really an issue but provided a good laugh for the other volunteers!
During my time in Aruba – I learnt what it means to work in a team, I learnt that working with others is a challenging but rewarding experience. Spending full days working in the heat taught me self discipline and self belief – it showed that I was good at getting hands on. I also learnt some more specific skills such as herding and catching donkeys, feeding goats and how to handle monkeys. I think the project enhanced my passion and care to animals and opened my eyes to the responsibilities we have to conserve their existence.
I will always hold Aruba close to my heart and would recommend the project to anyone!