By Leanne and Alex Lucas- 1 week volunteers
We are currently on day 4 of our 1 week adventure with the Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary. So far it has been an experience of a life time. On day 1 we set off from Chiang Mai on our trek to the Karen hill tribe village very unsure of what to expect. On arrival to the village we were greeted by staff members, interns and volunteers from the program who were extremely welcoming. We were then introduced to our host family and our accommodation which we would be calling home for the next few nights. On the first night, we had a cooking lesson with our beautiful host family making a feast of vegetables and rice. When eating we were sitting with the grandmother of the family she was translating to one of the staff how much she wished she could communicate with us.
After our first day of hiking we were lucky enough to get a Packinyaw lesson from one of the interns. Now with basic knowledge of their language (still using our cheat sheets) we wanted to get to know our host family a little more. They were so welcoming on the first night we decided to head back over and get to know them a little more.
We had packed some colouring books and pencils with us for the trip and went over to the main house to gift them to the children. We sat out on the balcony with our host family which included 3 sisters, their husbands, their mother and their 5 children. After colouring and interacting in Packinyaw and English we discovered one of the books had stickers which turned into a game for the whole family. It was really rewarding spending time with them and learning more about their culture and their way of life. It’s simple but fulfilling. This is a week we will never forget the time with the elephants as well as getting to know the villagers and spending time at the local school.