In 2010, Caroline Ladewig had a life changing experience when she travelled to Borneo for 2 months to volunteer with Orangutans.
Having worked for 15 years as an acupuncturist, and running a successful gym and acupuncture clinic in Alstonville (Australia), it was the work with animals that was the missing piece of the picture for Caroline.
After returning to Australia, Caroline went on to train as a vet nurse and studied to become a veterinary acupuncturist.
From there she began treating animals with a combination of acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.
It was 2011 when Caroline discovered the Young Living essential oils, and found them to be the perfect fit for her practitioner work.
“The thing that really made me notice the effectiveness of the Young Living oils was when I used them on my own dog, Sweetheart. She’d come to me at 9 years of age, and to my frustration she didn’t like acupuncture. As much as I’d try to tell her how much better it would make her feel, I just knew it wasn’t her thing. What she did love was Raindrop Technique and lots of massage. This was probably the first time I’d used oils on their own, so I had the opportunity to see how effective they were. Sweetheart began moving like a dog half her age, and she was glowing with wellbeing. It brought me such joy to be able to help her with the Young Living oils.”
Caroline still loved her volunteer work in Borneo, and had been traveling back there a couple of times a year after her initial visit. But Borneo was a stepping stone to Caroline’s deeper passion.
“From the age of 8, I’d been obsessed with Jane Goodall. I knew that one day I would work with Chimpanzees in Africa. During my time in Borneo, a fellow volunteer told me about Ape Action Africa.”
Even though it had been a lifelong dream, Africa seemed so far away, and it took another six years before Caroline made it to Cameroon. It was seeing Wayne Dyer in Melbourne, and hearing him talk about “burning desires” that proved to be the catalyst. In 2016, Caroline volunteered for 2 months at Ape Action Africa’s Mefou Sanctuary in Cameroon, and absolutely loved it, and from there was offered the position of volunteer coordinator at the sanctuary.
In Cameroon, education and community support are a vital component to the success of the Ape Action Africa program. Their primates face dangers from all sides, including the bushmeat trade, deforestation and the illegal pet trade.
“Sandie” was brought to Ape Action Africa at one month of age, after her mum had been killed for bushmeat. Orphaned baby chimpanzees require 24 hour care when they first come to the sanctuary. In the wild, they are totally dependent on their mothers for at least the first four years of their life. They’ve experienced incredible trauma by the time they arrive at Mefou.
“As one of Sandie’s carers, I had the opportunity to use the Young Living oils on her. I started with Lavender oil, to help keep her calm. I’d put just 1 drop into my hands, and massage her head, back and feet with it. I mix Thieves oil into coconut oil, and rub that mix onto her gums to keep them healthy. I give her a tummy massage with DiGize oil, also applying it to her back and feet. And I keep her healthy by making a combination of Thieves, Purification and coconut oil, and applying that to her feet daily.
Sandie has become a very happy and healthy baby! I can see the oils really help her, and she totally relaxes when I apply them.”
If you feel an inner calling to this project, they are always looking for hardworking, animal-loving volunteers. If this interests you, visit their website at www.apeactionafrica.org. Caroline sees herself as being at Ape Action Africa indefinitely, and looks forward to seeing you soon!