Like Madison, I have been much too busy to write on a consistent basis. We arrived on the island of Phuket two days ago and we haven’t stopped doing things since! Before I tell you of all the adventures we’ve been having here, I will first finish telling our day with the elephants.
(continued from previous post) Once the elephants realized we didn’t have any more food to feed them, they lumbered out towards the fields. After the last of the food scraps and baskets were put away, we headed over to the river. As we walked down the stairs from the walkway and stood on level ground with the elephants for the first time, we realized just how huge the elephants really were. Standing next to them and throwing water on their backs was a moving experience. Just by the simple act of washing the elephants, we started to learn how to interact with them and learn their true nature. We learned to keep an eye out so that we could keep a safe distance from their feet. We learned how to approach them in a safe way and whether it was a good idea to approach them at all based on their mood. The elephants learned how to interact with us too. Later, when we were playing with the baby elephants, the older elephants were protective at first but then learned that we only wanted to have fun and let us be with the baby elephants alone.
Aisha and I helped some of the workers tie together grass for the baby elephants to eat. One of the people we tied grass with was the founder of the Elephant Heaven. She amazed me. The way she crouched on the ground next to the baby elephants, stroking their trunks and allowing them to stand taller than her was incredible. She let herself be in a vulnerable position to their crushing feet and strong trunks yet seemed to feel totally at peace. The other worker sitting with us was from France. He had come to the sanctuary as a paying volunteer. He was at the sanctuary when the male baby elephant was born and the two became connected. He was then offered a job at the sanctuary as a paid worker and has been there ever since. Aisha and I both decided that we wanted to have his job as well. We also decided that if that plan fell through that we might be able to disguise ourselves as elephants (we had been watching the way they dived headfirst into the mud pits and felt that we could probably pull it off just as convincingly) and stay at the sanctuary as well. We proposed this plan to the French worker and were told that we would probably have to learn how to charge other elephants as well. We decided that this was not a good idea and have since been devising another plan to go back to the sanctuary.
The day was very moving for the whole group. We learned about the plight of domesticated elephants in Thailand and were given hope about the situation.
Here is a link to information about the elephant sanctuary we visited. If you are interested in donating, click the link below. The money is used to care for and buy abused, domesticated elephants, so every penny counts.
Thanks for reading!