Reflection from Dubai

A Reflection from Dubai by Asad Khan an ex-Milites Dei Student

Asad enrolled at the academy and for the staff and students Asad is a remarkable young man. The letter below is written by Asad and the letter is a testimonial of Asad’s abilities and strengths.

My Experience at MDA:
If I had to describe my experience at MDA in one word, I would say it was Incredible! It’s been just over a week since I left the camp and I still feel so attached to the place, the people and the routines.

Over the past 12 months I’ve travelled to Asia, Europe and Africa on a quest to broaden my understanding of wildlife conservation, from rescuing and rehabilitating Seals in the Netherlands to working with various Primates in Thailand. I’ve walked through marshlands, mangrove swamps, ancient rainforests, vast deserts and through the African bush trying to figure out what the most efficient way to protect our wildlife would be.

One common problem kept reoccurring. The human-animal conflict.
By definition the Human-Animal conflict is ‘any interaction between animals and humans that causes harm, whether it is to the human (and their resources) or the animal (and their habitat).
From my observation and research its usually the animals that get the short end of the stick in these exchanges. The more I delved into the human animal conflict the more I heard about poaching and the more I understood the implications of what poaching actually meant.
While on this journey I got accepted to a Masters course in Wildlife Conservation and Drone Technology at  Liverpool John Moores University. With my mind on poaching I realised that’s what I wanted my main focus to be on so I scoured the internet looking for anywhere I could go and learn more about poaching and what is being done to stop it and that’s when I came across the Milites Dei Anti-poaching Special forces course. I immediately emailed Amareza and she responded just as quick, I had a few questions and concerns which she helped clarify and before I knew it I was sat in the back of a bakkie (pickup truck) making my way up a dirt road to the Academy.

I could go on about what we did all day at MDA or how it was challenging but that isn’t the point of this post, I want to share what I left MDA with.

For one, a huge misconception I had about ‘discipline’ and ‘freedom’ was cleared up; Let me explain, Inspection was the worst part of the day for me, I saw no point in arranging my cutlery on my bed in a certain OCD-esque manner day after day but it was something we had to do everyday regardless. What that instills in you is a sense of ‘you got to do what you got to do’ (for a lack of a better way of phrasing that) now small chores around the house which I would ponder over and would usually put off till later, I do them immediately and that in turn gives me a sense of freedom as its another small thing that I don’t have to worry about anymore.
I learnt how to push my limits at MDA. I thought I was pushing myself previously but I learnt I could push myself a lot further and deal with things in a better manner, I don’t just mean physically but mentally too, It is hard to explain in words but there is a certain calm you reach after you pass your threshold its an almost meditative state.

I could go on about all the things I learnt about my self while I was at MDA but I’m going to skip to my favourite part about the Academy; The people, I got to experience pretty much every culture of South Africa under one roof and what made the experience even more beautiful was the fact that everyone was there for a singular purpose, to better themselves and to create a better future for their families, communities and country. Everyone helping each other regardless of their race, colour, religion it really felt like a family.

I think anyone that’s looking for a new experience, regardless of if you are interested in Anti-poaching, being a specialist operative or whatever else courses MDA offers, if you want to learn about yourself or about what your limits are do a month or more at MDA and you will leave with a better understanding of yourself and what you are capable of.
I’d like extend my gratitude to the Staff at MDA that went out of their way to accommodate my dietary and spiritual needs, I’ve worked with many organisations and I’ve never experienced any that have taken so much care of me, for that I would like to thank Aunty Amareza and Uncle Barney.
Finally I’d like to thank all my fellow squad mates, without you guys my experience wouldn’t have been anything close to as awesome as it was, you helped me fit in and get used to the routines taught me about your cultures and languages and took interest in mine, at MDA you make friendships for life. Another one 😉
Reflection from Dubai

Reflection from Dubai by Asad Mohammad Khan