First day of manual labor. Just that sentence alone makes it sound horrible. It’s really not. My job this morning was to clear the older dried grass out of one of the elephant areas. It gets loaded into the truck and brought to a place where they grow more grass and the dried grass is used as a mulch. That was the morning labor. Easy enough. The elephants needed to be fed, so it was cucumbers for them.
We explored the area a bit and were shown the ‘poo paper plant’. They actually turn elephant poo into amazing high quality artisan paper. Pretty impressive. Look for it in your local high end stationary stores.
The elephant cemetery was nearby. Within minutes of an elephant dying a monk is notified to bless and pray over the body. I have to keep reminding myself that despite the treatment some domesticated elephants get, they are a highly revered icon in Thai culture. It’s difficult to reconcile.
From here we walked the elephants to the water hole. It’s amazing to watch them play and relax in the water. This is one if the opportunities they get to be off the chain. You can see the joy they get from being in the water. They frolic, dive, roll around. It’s hilarious to watch. When the mahout calls for them to come out they seem to act like children that refuse to come out of the pool. Five more minutes, Mom! Please!!
Really enjoy your blog – sounds like a very eye opening experience. Are you planning to do similar travel / volunteering in other countries too?
This is the first time doing anything like this. I love it do far and it’s been nice to incorporate the volunteering with a ‘regular’ vacation. I’m headed to Bangkok after the program for a few days and then back home to return to work. I would absolutely do some kind of volunteer program again. A great experience!
Sounds awesome – looking forward to hearing more about it