JoJo and Loic
JoJo's and Loic's story, in their own words : http://www.scribd.com/doc/132317046/Jojo
It's a compelling and fascinating story, which deserves to be told by JoJo herself in full. Excerpts :
After University JoJo worked as a retail assistant to save enough money to go and volunteer in the Republic of Congo at a chimpanzee sanctuary, where she worked for six months to release orphaned chimpanzees back into the wild. This experience opened JoJo’s eyes to the terrible plight of chimpanzees and gorillas in Africa, who currently face enormous pressure on all sides from poaching, habitat destruction and huge global demand for raw materials. Upon returning to the UK JoJo was determined to return to Africa as soon as possible to continue working in great ape conservation. She again worked as a retail assistant in the UK for 6 months while she applied for jobs in Central Africa, until finally in January 2005 she was successful, getting a job in Gabon to set up a new chimpanzee and gorilla conservation project for the Max Planck Institute (MPI) in Leipzig, Germany.
Upon arrival in Loango National Park, Gabon, JoJo met Loïc: a Gabonese research assistant also hired by the MPI to work on the new ape research project. Loïc is a committed conservationist, previously working with endangered forest elephants, hippos and crocodiles in Gabon. He grew up in a village on the edge of Loango National Park and knows the area like the back of his hand. So in 2005, Loïc and JoJo began working in Loango with just two other staff, exploring the rainforests in search of chimpanzees and gorillas, estimating how many apes lived in the forest, and mapping an area of over 100km2 to document the swamps, savannahs and different habitat types. JoJo and Loïc lived in a remote and isolated tented camp with no running water or electricity, but they loved the work they were doing, and felt that a lack of creature comforts was well worth it. After 5 months working and living together day in day out in Loango, JoJo and Loïc’s relationship turned from that of colleagues into something more. They moved into the same tent, and despite spending all day in the forest together and having little privacy in the basic camp in the evenings, their relationship flourished in the remote rainforest.
[ ... ]
JoJo and Loïc are incredibly lucky compared to many couples in a similar situation. They do not yet have children and so are not enduring the pain of raising a family apart. JoJo is very fortunate to be able to earn over the £18,600 threshold to qualify for a Visa, and with her grandfather’s inheritance it will be very difficult for the UKBA to claim they cannot support themselves. Loïc did not even have to take an English test (and run the risk of failing it) because there was not a testing centre in Gabon. JoJo and Loïc are well aware that compared to others, they are very lucky and are likely to get a positive outcome to their appeal at some point in the future. But that does not stop them being filled with anger and frustration on behalf of those who don’t and may never qualify financially.
JoJo's story : http://www.scribd.com/doc/132317046/Jojo