As many of our newer community members in South Africa are starting to participate in international VC groups on FB and, as they encounter a more established community that has been around a lot longer, they encounter some well-known names in these circles. They often don’t know who these people are, or what they’ve contributed to the growth of our respective communities, as well as to the total culture of the VC. In this episode in a series of interviews aimed at introducing some of the prominent figures from the international Vampyre Community to the locals, we chat to Cheri.
Many seem to assume that the Vampyre Community is exclusively made up of Vampyres, after all, it is called the Vampyre Community. This is a little misleading, because aside from Vampyres, the community also features friends of the Vampyre, including Otherkin – and Donors.
One of the most respected Donors I know, is Cheri. For a number of years now, she has helped us to approach, educate and advise both Vampyres and Donors on issues regarding feeding and feeding methods. As a matter of interest, she’s the only who features so often and so openly on the OVC, and the only one I know of who has been willing to leave a legacy of written advice to both Donors and Vampyres. Some of her articles and contributions have been added to the SA Vampyre Culture Center website, and also circulated within the SA VC.
SAVN: Please introduce yourself to the South African Community, including a little bit about your background in the community, when or how you joined a VC group, or began participating in the VC, and so on.
Cheri: Hi, My name is Cheri. I became aware of real vampires when a friend asked me if I would be willing to be his donor. That was over 20 years ago now. And most of my involvement with the community has been one on one and in very small groups. It has only been in the last few years that I have become involved in the online part of the community. I am active on a few forums and try to be available for anyone with questions on being a donor or donor safety.
SAVN: Please discuss or review your contributions to the VC, either in a local sense, or internationally?
Cheri: While I have written a few articles and participated in a few interview type sessions, much of my involvement in the community is through the sites I spend time on, and in the private one on one advice that I try to offer new donors on donation and the safe practices for donation.
My goal is to offer advice to others so they may not make the same mistakes I have made. I want to see people come into being a donor with their eyes fully open and a solid knowledge of what is involved. I believe this leads to people staying in the community as donors longer and makes every ones’ lives easier.
Many potential donors come into the community based on some fictional idea of what a vampire is, and what being a donor will be like. Some rush into a donor/vampire relationship in their eagerness to get started and then find that it is not all they expected. We have a true need for informed and sane donors in this community and the only way we are going to get them is if we provide prospective donors with the information they need to become good donors.
SAVN: Community members in SA by now all know about your contribution towards Donor education – and the education of Vampyres regarding Donors. Do you have anything you would like to say to them?
Cheri: As a new and growing community, you have the opportunity to encourage safe donations, healthy relationships between donors and the vampires they feed, and can set the tone for how new donors are accepted in your community. By giving donors a voice in your community from the start, you can encourage the open communication needed to create strong donors that will benefit your community.
SAVN: What are your hopes for the future regarding the general Vampyre Community, and for younger communities like ours?
Cheri: With the VC in general I would like to see more donors become active in the community. Right now we have very few donors that actively are part of the community. Most donors stick with the few vampires they know personally and never reach out to the greater community. By encouraging donors to be active in discussions and activities, it gives a more welcoming feel to the community for those simply considering becoming a donor.
The community here in the United States is fairly well established. Any work in changing how things have always been done will be harder here then it would be if you make changes early in a community’s growth. IE Many vampires do not want their donors involved in the open community for various reasons, Some reasons are valid, but when a donor is isolated from others that can offer support, they burn out sooner and may fall victim to those less then honorable members of the community.
An informed and well supported donor is more likely to remain a donor when things are not going completely as planned. With support and others to turn to
for advice, those issues that do come up are less likely to cause a donor to stop being a donor.
SAVN: Thank you Cheri!