By Sylvia Yang – 1 week volunteer
After hiking for a few days, the group decided to head out to cut grass for the elephants to have a change of view. We took a bumpy ride back out the way we came into the village and under the shade of the roof we were finally able to notice a lot that we hadn’t seen on the way in. The mountains are vast and very easy on the eye; a nice break from all the technology we had been using in school. On the way there we parked by 7-Eleven for a snack stop. There was a lot of food that we hadn’t seen before in Singapore’s 7-Eleven so we took this chance to buy as many different snacks as possible.Once we reached the fields and stepped out of the car, it was evident that the sweating was going to start early. So we took out our essentials: hat, water bottle, sunscreen and gloves. This wasn’t a planned activity, so not many of us brought long sleeved shirts on this trip. We improvised by putting on a thin jacket/raincoat instead and one other member tied two shirts around her arms. This actually worked out well since we could easily remove our sleeves after the job was done.
In a few minutes we had a system going which worked quite efficiently. The locals cut the stalks down, the tied bundles were carried by Talia and Kerri and they would then be passed on person to person all the way to the base of the truck. The whole process was pretty smooth. After our first break we swapped positions and continued with carrying our (XL) grass bundles until they were all gathered by the foot of the truck. Then we watched as the mahouts AKA the experts single handedly stacked the bundles sky high. Time actually passed by really fast from this activity. We also met a yellow ladybug and dog on the job!Bittersweet would probably be the word I would use to describe the way I felt when all the corn stalks were loaded onto the truck. This experience was one of the more unique ones I’ve had and the thought that I probably won’t have the chance to do this ever again made every moment tiring but cherishable. On the way back we ate at the same restaurant from when we were travelling into the village and as for the food rating I’ll quote one of my friends “my taste buds are dancing”. In summary, you should be looking forward to this worthwhile activity: the journey there is just as entertaining as the process itself, teamwork will be involved and the sun will be there.
A fun tip: Film the process by placing your camera/phone on the ledge of the hut in the cornfield, giving a wide view of what’s going on. Then when the video is fast-forwarded it looks like many little ants are bringing food home.