I realized it is dawn from the first sunlight shines through my eyelids. I slowly opened my eyes finding him laying on my pillow facing towards me. He looked at me with his long and curved eyelash brushed up twice, and his gentle purring sound grew louder.
It is the first time I sleep with a cheetah through the night. His name is Gabriel, a cute naughty cheetah boy of six months of age. He loves to grab you with a “hug”, and he wants to challenge any cheetah that walk pass him. Despite how much of a little bully he is, everyone loves him for he has a face of an angel.
Life here as a volunteer is not only about beautiful moments like when you wake up with a cheetah lying beside you. There are times that I was holding a dead chicken with guts dangling around; times I saw millions of maggots under the animals’ leftovers when I was cleaning the enclosure; or times I have to scoop a smelly sticky poop with flies buzzing around.
However, these slightly uncomfortable feelings will soon be covered with joy that the most ordinary volunteer life here would present to you. Whether it is the blue sky filled with hornbills and propeller planes flying by, or the watching the high grass that cheetahs move about in , whether it is the feeling of a furry paw that a baby leopard placed on your hand or the mysterious long black hair on a caracal’s ear brushing past your cheek. All these scenes have filled my heart with happiness that nothing can compare. Everything is just worth it.
Half past six in the morning, Gabriel gave me a morning kiss while he was grooming his paw. A quarter past seven I grab a poop scoop and started walking in Camp 1. The morning sun sparkled on the dewdrops making the lawn a land of diamond. My feet gradually get soaked but there is a smile upon my face..
Wuyou – China