How Many Interns Does It Take To Build A Drain Cover?


The amazing Carol is the founder and backbone of the Seabird and Penguin Rehabilitation Centre, an organisation small in size but significant in passion. SAPREC is a non-profit organization that strives to save the endangered African penguin and rehabilitate various injured and unwell seabirds.

Every Tuesday a team of 3-4 White Shark Africa interns visit SAPREC to assist in the daily duties, usually carried out by the amazing one-woman show – Carol. Along with scrubbing, raking and gushing over penguins we are on the prowl for side projects. So as fate would have it one Tuesday morning we stumbled upon a rotting drain cover that was in need of replacing and so an afternoon project was born!

We were kindly supplied with a sheet of marine plywood, some nails, a hammer, a metre of plastic piping and a litre of green weatherproof paint. How complex could it be? Turns out it was quite complicated for the hands of three rather carpentry illiterate interns. So what should have been a ten-minute project became a two-hour struggle to achieve what we thought was the perfect drain coverage system!

Proudly presenting the drain cover to Carol the following Tuesday, she excitedly placed it over the drain only to find it was not remotely close to fitting (a quick note to everyone, never measure a drain in ‘elbow to knuckles’ measurement, instead opt for a recognized system such as metric – it’s much more accurate).

We traipsed back to the drawing board for a second trial and returned the following week with drain coverage system number two. Second time lucky! Please appreciate the before and after photos, they were a long time coming.


We interns are constantly on the hunt for ways in which we can assist just a little bit more. For it is small gestures that when multiplied can make significant differences to our natural world and its future preservation. Each year SAPREC faces a financial struggle that results in the threat of closure. The interns of WSA have been working hard on a project over the past few weeks in an attempt to free Carol of the avoidable financial stresses she is currently faced with. All it takes to make a difference is a passion, a cause, some determination and a truckload of motivation. In our WSA intern team we found these elements and set off on a mission.

We have joined forces with the amazing and generous Caitlin of Sharktopia to create a fundraising venture for SAPREC. We have some really beautiful sharky tshirts available for purchase; all proceeds will go directly to the work of SAPREC. Follow this link to view a short video outlining the amazing work SAPREC followed by instructions on how you can help Carol to help our ocean dwelling birds!


Jessica Rettig WSA Intern March 2015.

Follow her on Instagram @jessicarettig and @rarebagstas

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