This will be my last entry as a blogger whose on Senior Projects. As 9 other students are falling asleep before our 5 AM flight, I am sitting with my laptop, trying to sink in the fact that I will be leaving Bangkok in a few hours.
The last few days at the Elephant Nature Park have been an mind-boggling experience. When we went up to the Elephant Haven, an hour hike up the mountain in the dead heat made the hike seem worth it. There was nothing but nature. Even though the hike was pretty bad, “step step break.” After two or three steps, the elephants would stop and eat the nearby grass and they never seemed to be full. But their hunger made the hike more relaxing and gave us more time to enjoy the living nature of the mountain. When it got dark, Pum told us bunch of stories of the elephants, of Lek and the beginning times of the ENP. Lek seemed to have gone through so much to have built all this. Sometime close to 9, we went on a mini-hike around the mountain with flash lights, following the mahouts to find the elephants. The prickles and bushes did not make the hike fun but painful. But it was amazing how mahouts could easily find their elephants in pitch dark without hearing any noises from them.
The next morning, we had even bigger agenda for the day. WE WERE RESCUING AN ELEPHANT. I must say, we are a hell of a lucky group, because we experienced events that wouldn’t have experienced if we weren’t there at that special week. With the forest fire, and rescuing an elephant? The park has rescued 35 elephants over the course of 20 years. What are the chances that we work during the week that they save another one? Anyway, this new elephant was abused by being ridden by tourists for money near by the ENP. It’s back leg was broken for 30 years. The nature park people were the elephant’s 17th and hopefully last owner. The elephant did not go into the truck, so it had to walk back. Most of the volunteers went to rescue the elephants and some decided to walk back to the park with the new elephant.
By the time it was Sunday when all the volunteers were leaving, I realized how much bonding we had with the rest of the volunteers during this week. I met some really interesting people, such as people who quit their jobs to travel, bikers, etc.
Right now, I don’t think I can fully describe how this experience will change my life right now or in the future. I haven’t seen the changes yet, but I am excited to see them in my life and see changes in other people too. The aftermath might not be visible at the moment, because we just left Thailand and the service was physical labor but it will be visible in our actions soon enough. I can’t wait to see everyone and begin talking about our Senior Projects.
Thanks for reading my blogs, and I hope they were helpful in keeping you updated!
March 8, 2011