Culminating Dr. Jane Goodall`s 8th trip to Singapore during the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore (JGIS), was a Volunteer Appreciation dinner that was held on the 8th of August at the Daily Treats Café at The Westin.
Volunteers started streaming in hours ahead of the dinner as those who had volunteered their time to the last official event prior to the appreciation dinner, the Roots & Shoots conference, had traveled directly to the dinner venue.
The venue was soon overflowing with JGIS volunteers who had helped during Dr. Jane`s visit.
In complete awe of Dr. Jane`s graciousness to the students, staff, volunteers and members of the public over the course of her visit, fellow volunteers gathered to discuss their experiences in events and interactions with Dr. Jane over the past few days.
Affectionately known as Uncle Kwan, one of the volunteers who were in charge of media coverage during Dr. Jane`s visit was one of many volunteers who would soon gather to amass the largest at the dinner alongside my beloved mother, myself and various other volunteers we had befriended.
Earnestly displaying his past videography works of wildlife in Singapore, he was brimming with the excitement of how he was to soon show his work to Dr. Jane as we began to devour the delicious spread of exquisite vegetarian dishes that had been promptly prepared by the chefs from the Daily Café.
Those present were completely awestruck over the scenes in which majority of those present would have only beared witness to such events when introduced during educational programmes on television. Would have never imagined such incidences to be taking place in Singapore. The array of animal and plant species that call the shores of this tropical island home were magnificent and breathtakingly beautiful.
As volunteers were in complete fascination over Uncle Kwan`s video, Dr. Jane made a silent appearance at the event. Greeting us all with her warm smile, she made her way to her table before thanking us for all the hardwork and dedication towards JGIS. Alongside Dr. Jane was the current President of JGIS, Tay Kae Fong, who also expressed his gratitude towards the volunteers. Dr. Jane made her way to the vegetarian buffet spread area and picked out a variety of vegetarian dishes before sampling each entrée.
After she had finished her meal, she graciously allowed volunteers to speak with her and even take photos.
A magical night indeed. Having a chance to talk to such an inspiring woman. The advice she imparted to me are words I will always carry by my side on this journey entitled life. Even being in her presence was nothing short of a once in a lifetime opportunity that would forever be embedded in the minds of all the lives she has touched.
Having been part of Dr. Jane`s visit over the course of the past few days have reminded myself and I’m sure various other new and seasoned volunteers on why we would gladly lend our time to JGIS.
I have been absolutely astonished by the display of commitment, hard work, knowledge, compassion, and love for wildlife conservation by all whom I have seen and met during Dr. Jane`s visit. Very sure there are much alike that inhibit this world just the same and with that, a new hope has risen within me that conservation will soon be a familiar word that would resonate in every household.
Genuinely cannot wait to see what the future has in store due to the impact these past few days have left us in sunny Singapore.
Indeed, Time with Jane is a time one shall not forget.
Keep scrolling for photos from our volunteer gathering.
Written by Andrea Vincent.