In short...I have been on a long and turbulent journey to complete my PhD in rhino conservation with some spectacular pot-holes and brick walls along the way. It is crunch time...one month until thesis deadline, and my funding has run out. I am on the third month this year of having to tell my landlord I can't afford to pay rent yet, while I try and scrape together old IOU's and find household items to sell. And I have been dependent on donations from friends and family to be able to buy groceries and keep my medical aid/ health insurance from being cancelled.
I am working 18 - 40 hours shifts on my thesis writing and don't have a spare second for jobhunting just yet. But I am also trying to secure sufficient funding to be able to pay rent and bills until January 2018 as this will allow me two months after thesis submission to be able to work on manuscripts for publication, and thesis corrections when they are received from examiners. I have a manic month ahead, and November-December will most likely be equally non-stop.
I have already lost critical days in the last two months to financial scrambling and trying to ensure I have enough to scrape by, and now I really need to be able to keep my head down and lock myself away in a quiet room with my laptop and my data and get this thesis written. I can't do that when every other day I am wondering how I will pay rent in a few weeks.
All I can offer in return for donations from backers is sincere heartfelt thanks that I will share on Twitter and summarise in a blog post once my thesis is submitted and I can take a day to catch my breath. And of course I am more than willing to answer all your questions on rhinos (IF I can ;) and South Africa, so feel free to ask.
If you are feeling particularly prosperous and wish to donate in the 3-figures, I have offered an Acknowledgement in my final PhD thesis (and an e-copy once published), and/or one of my favourite rhino prints from my fieldwork over the years (which you can select from some images I will share on this campaign page over the next few weeks).
Thanks in advance for taking the time to read about my campaign and please share as far and wide as you can if you think it a worthwhile cause. Stay tuned for updates, which I will try my best to do every Friday after sending thesis updates to my advisors, and if you would like to know more about me then follow me on Twitter @RhinoGayle. I do have some additional information regarding my PhD goals on the site I originally ran a crowdfund campaign from early 2016, which you can check out at www.experiment.com/africanrhinos and I am going to do my best to keep my past backers updated with progress in the next month as well.