By Annalisa Pellegrino – 1 week volunteer
My week-long stay at Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary was unforgettable. On the second day in the village, I had a really beautiful surprise. Two members of the local community, a homestay and a former mahout, were getting married and they had invited us to the wedding! Myself, my fellow volunteers and the Kindred Spirit staff attended the ceremony and took part in the celebrations that lasted two days. It was incredible. The whole community came together and I felt as if I was a member of the family.
The celebrations took place at both the bride and the groom’s houses, where lunch was served with the host’s entire family present. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. There was an abundance of delicious food, including pork and rice stew (called dah poh poh in the local language), watermelon, and endless plates of cookies. The ceremony was beautiful with the elders of the village tying bracelets on the newlyweds’ wrists.
During the evening after the main ceremony, there was another gathering where the newlywed couple and the village elders drank traditional rice whiskey, along with all the guests that attended. The whole experience was wonderful and I feel so honoured that I was able to witness such a beautiful event.