Hello, my name is Maxim, and I am a predator research assistant at the PPP. Having studied at Nottingham Trent University for the past two years, moving half way across the world and living up a mountain, most definitely takes some adjusting to.
Fortnightly, there are trips to town, so popping to the shops isn’t a luxury. Surprisingly enough however, I prefer it this way as you learn what is needed over a two week period. Enjoying undisturbed weekends in paradise, is worth the removal from society. Living in a remote and natural environment we are privileged enough to enjoy trips to the waterfall for swimming. These natural pools are much better than any artificial pool. The remote location of the research station means that you live and work with fellow research assistants in close proximity. Living in each other’s pockets can be personality strengthening at times, but creates good friendships and plenty of laughs.
A predator assistant’s working week is enjoyable, with reasonable hours and time in the evenings to spend as you wish. Working at a long-term research station gives me a sense of pride, contributing to real research with the aim of conservation. Hiking is my favourite part of the job; getting the blood pumping and burning some calories on a regular basis causes much happiness. Not to mention, giving you an excuse to eat cake (the oven bakes delicious brownies). Philip Faure, our predator coordinator, is always on hand and is great at supervising personal projects, answering questions and dealing with problems you may have.
On the same property is Lajuma Research Centre. It is only a five minute walk down the road and is home to other like-minded research assistants. During weekends, a combined braai (barbeque) is often held there, with plenty of socialising and connecting with like minded folk. One of my apprehensions prior to arriving, was whether there will be enough people around to socialize with. Lajuma Research Center students do a great job of mixing things up, with often a variety of nationalities and all of the fun that brings.
I thoroughly enjoy being a research assistant here. The location is beautiful, the weather is lovely and the people are great. I would recommend applying, given you are happy to adjust from what is probably a privileged and connected background, to a more simple life with all the perks that come with it.
Thanks for reading,