You already know several things about JACK and today I would like to introduce you our team.
Franck and I don’t work alone in this wonderful project. Seven Congolese workers assist us every day and they deserve a post on this blog as well!
JACK is employing 3 women who actually have become the surrogate mothers of the chimpanzee orphans.
From the left to the right: Arta, Angeline and Maguy
Different women came to work at JACK. But, some of them have been obliged ever to come back again because their husband had said it was not decent to work with wildlife… Remember, I’ve told you already that people over here don’t have a lot of respect for animals and that the Swahili word for « wildlife » (= nyama) is the same word used for « meat »… So, it took us quite some time to find Arta and Maguy.
Arta actually has a very very good contact with most of the chimps although she knew nothing about Great Apes before… Today, she is feeling and doing ok.
Together with Angeline, Arta works with the main group (= 13 chimps aging 2 to 4) which sometimes isn’t an easy task at all. Feeding time for instance usually turns out to be « struggling » time when, impatient but although properly fed, some of the little ones jump onto the « mamas » to get the food.
Impatient, the chimps jump onto Angeline
Struggling with the food
Maguy arrived at JACK not that long ago. She knows a lot about chimps because, when she was a child, someone of her family was detaining some ape infants and she loved to take care of them.
Maguy working in quarantine (top) and in the main enclosurewith Angline (below)
Because we still haven’t got any nursery, sometimes, when one of the very youngest chimp is severely sick, one « mama » comes at my place sothat she can look after the baby during day while I take care of him/her at night.
Arta at home with Jacky(top) and (below) Maguy was JAC’s « mama » when he was dying
There are also 4 men working with us. They are the ones who are in charge of security during day and mainly at night.
Bukasa is the eldest guard. He has been working with us since end 2006 and studied Biology and Fysics just like Angeline.
Bukasa’s brother, Christian, arrived at JACK on Christmas Day 2007…
and there are two newcomers who arrived last April :Isidore and Augustin.
Isidore (top) and Augustin (below)
But, being a guard at JACK also means:
1/ being able to help the « mamas » in the main enclosure if they need help
2/before dark,when the chimps are in the night facilities, fixing the day enclosure to make it ready to start a new day
3/ covering the quarantine cages with tarpaulins to face cold nights
As you can see, JACK is still a small project. Once the project will get bigger, new assistants will be needed and anyone wishing to work with wildlife will be given a chance.
In addition to the 7 workers, I don’t want to forget Adolphine who works at home with me. She is actually Angeline’s sister and she helps me a lot in preparing all the food that is sent every morning at the Refuge.
Today, JACK has a good team. When we left early July to have just a few days off, we knew Chantal was there but we also knew our assistants would do an excellent job during our absence. They work with their heart and this is very important to us…
Thank you, team of JACK !