Tuesday, 14 July 2015

WENDY - TRIUMPH  OVER  ADVERSITY

Wendy Anne Macleod, my eldest daughter, has overcome many adversities in her life including being bitten by a poisonous spider which turned very nasty and left a large scar on her leg to being  diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age and having  to spend her junior schooling at a special school in Johannesburg.

Undaunted and determined to lead a normal life she took up karate, overcame her dyslexia and was eventually accepted by a normal school - Sandown High, in Sandton, where she matriculated. And soon after turning 18 she was awarded her Karate Black Belt - 2nd Dan !

After matriculating and considering a teaching career she enrolled at a teachers’ training college - the Johannesburg College of Education. However she decided to take a “gap year” and go back-packing in the UK and Western Europe instead. This she did unaccompanied and entirely on her own. After returning to South Africa from her trip to the UK and Europe she took up parachuting  and also sky-diving.

However the “travel bug” had already bitten her and, with her small savings, she travelled to Brazil (South America) where she slept in hotel foyers to eke out on her small budget before boating up the Amazon - just by herself and accompanied by a local tour guide. Here she had some unusual experiences including a near escape from a shoal of piranhas after her small dinghy was holed and started sinking and she and her guide had to desperately start baling out water whilst frantically rowing ashore!  

During her couple of weeks in the Amazon jungle Wendy used to sleep in the open, in a hammock slung between two trees in small clearings in the jungle.  
It was here on one occasion that she woke up in the early hours of the morning to find a small marmoset monkey curled up asleep on her chest! This particular incident ignited a burning desire in her heart that her life’s career should be caring for small primates, especially marmosets.  

On her return to South Africa she decided that as she could not afford to study to become a veterinarian the next best thing to do was to teach herself and learn as much as she could “on the job” by helping out at local vets on a part-time basis as well as doing voluntary work at the Onderstepoort veterinary training hospital in Pretoria. In the meantime, to help make ends meet, she got a full-time job with a market research company in Pretoria.

In her mid-twenties Wendy finally took the plunge and decided to give up her full-time market research job and  follow her heart and her dreams. So, "on a wing and a prayer”, she started a full-time small primate care centre just north of Pretoria. A few years later she relocated to Linbro Park in Johannesburg where she had been offered accommodation as well as free space on a small-holding for  her, by this time, several dozen small  cages that housed over 40 small primates, mostly marmosets.  After a few more years, with growing help and donations, she was able to acquire a small property near Kempton Park where she lives to this day.

The success of Wendy’s passion - the sanctuary that she has named “World Primate Sanctuary” and which presently cares for more than  60 small primates - has been due entirely to her energy, dedication and commitment and helped by media publicity, including several TV and radio interviews and numerous newspaper and magazine articles as well as her personal visits to many schools.

Wendy’s “World Primate Sanctuary” has been funded entirely by donations and sponsorships from the public including from individuals and companies and most of the little primates have been given their own names. A special achievement of Wendy’s is her desktop-published, comprehensive and beautifully illustrated authoritative manual on how to look after small primates, which is an absolute  “must” for every owner of a small primate.
In recognition of her success South Africa’s Vodacom Super Rugby chose Wendy’s “World Primate Sanctuary” as one of their “Charities of the Year”.

Wendy is exceptionally kind and caring, almost to a fault  - not only to animals but also to all human beings, many of whom she has helped with loving and caring tenderness  including accident victims and others whom she has consoled during times of hardship or grief. Wendy has absolutely no airs or graces and is a genuinely caring, compassionate and completely selfless human being and is a free spirit who recently adopted the name “Wayne”.

If you would like to contact Wayne or wish to know more about the “World Primate Sanctuary” or would like to help in any way please feel free to email:  monkeymacleod@imaginet.co.za


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