A love story, part 2 + elephants

Here’s  another kind of love story I am happy to share with you. You may recall reading about my friend Jacquie Gauthier here on the blog last April. Click here to see the post. 

I love Jacquie’s story for a long list of reasons, but mainly because she took a chance with life. Volunteering in the South Sudan, an email romance, elopement, moving from Canada to South Africa … as I’ve said before, she’s a true possibilitarian! We’re in touch online regularly, but I thought it was time to bring an update to all of you. You’re going to love how her adventure is playing out!

PS ~ Welcome back, Jacquie! We’re all looking forward to reading your update.

JG ~ Thanks, Patricia! I’m happy to be here again! In the lingering spirit of Valentine’s Day this week, I’ve been reflecting on how lucky I am in love!

It’s been seven years since I met Johann while on an Aid trip to South Sudan. After a six month email courtship, we eloped and soon after we moved to his native South Africa. Not only do I have an ongoing love affair with the man I married, I’m totally besotted with this beautiful country, its people and its incredible wildlife .
We won’t be celebrating this Valentine’s Day together; Johann is currently away working as a medic on the set of a reality television show being shot on location in the bush. We won’t see each other for another few weeks, but that’s normal for us.

PS ~ It sounds like you are adjusting very well to your “new normal”.

JG ~ The nature of our life together has taught us to be flexible and to appreciate any time that we spend together. I’m no longer very attached to celebrating holidays or anniversaries on a specific date.We can make any day special by taking a drive down to our favourite spot in the dry riverbed and enjoying a sunset picnic while we wait to see which animals will choose to join us!

PS ~ That sounds idyllic and a way of life most of us can’t even imagine. I know you have become involved in some important projects involving conservation and the environment.

JG ~ Absolutely! I’m loving all the projects I’m creating or becoming involved with. It’s clear to me that conservation has to be achieved through poverty alleviation. Early childhood education is critically important, so I’ve been working with a wonderful NGO called Nourish on a project called Rise.

The goal is to provide safe, clean and stimulating environments for pre-schoolers to give them a solid foundation. We also strive to incorporate environmental education so the children grow up feeling more connected to the environment. Many of the local children live only a few kilometers away from Kruger National Park, but have never seen an elephant. That has to change for them to become passionate protectors of their natural heritage. www.nourish.org.za

PS ~ Last year you told us about your exciting new venture with Alicia Fordyce, Two Girls and an Elephant. I love your tagline ~ Art with Attitude.

JG ~ Two Girls and an Elephant ~ Art continues to be a passion project. It’s always so satisfying to create beautiful images, and even more so when that leads to raising money for Elephants Alive.

There have been many setbacks on the road to elephant conservation in the last several months, but those have been completely overshadowed by the monumental decision of the Chinese government to shut down the ivory carving factories in that country.

PS ~ YES! What fantastic news that was!

JG ~ The closures are scheduled to start next month, and I believe this change in policy and in attitude will make a huge difference in the efforts to save the elephants! www.twogirlsandanelephant.com and www.elephantsalive.org

PS ~ You are one busy lady! Even so, I know you have some good book news for us.

JG ~ I’m thrilled to say that the first draft of my new book is finished! I expect to release Twenty Eight Elephants ( and other every day miracles) in October. Meanwhile, the German version of The Gift of an Elephant will be available on Amazon soon!

PS ~ Yay! We will all look forward to that! What else is up next for you?

I expect to be back in Canada in October and November to launch the new book, and speak at several events, including the Power of the Purse women’s conferences. Dates and venues still to be confirmed, but I will post the information on Facebook and on my Amazon Author’s page as soon as the details are finalized.

PS ~ See you in the fall, Jacquie. Keep doing what you are doing and thanks for stopping by here to bring us all up to date!

Want to see more of Jacquie’s fabulous photography and learn about life in South Africa? You can connect with her through the links above.

About Patricia Sands

Family, writing and travel are my passions ... okay, and chocolate ... and I'm seldom without a camera. I write women's fiction and keep in touch with readers by a monthly newsletter that also has giveaways and contests. Come and join us by signing up on the right. See you there!


  1. I LOVE this post!!! How exciting to follow your passion and make a difference.

    I’m sooooo glad to hear about the ivory factories closing down in China. That is a huge step forward. Others need to follow!

    Keep up the good work, Jacquie. And thanks Patricia for sharing this amazing post.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Oh, and congratulations on the book. I forgot that part.


      • Patricia Sands says:

        Hey Patricia,
        I’m always delighted to share Jacquie’s ongoing story. Like you and your husband, she took a big chance with her life and began a new adventure in life.
        You all have proven there’s always something good on the horizon!

  2. And I though moving from Canada to Spain was an adventure! What an incredible story. All the best.

I love hearing from you ~ thanks for stopping by


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