By Justine Marsault – 2 week volunteer
I spent two weeks at KSES as a volunteer and I really enjoyed my time here. It’s a very different lifestyle than living in the city, being surrounded by nature and mountains in the middle of nowhere. I think what I loved the most throughout my stay was the people, both the homestays and the other volunteers, interns and staff. Everyone was so welcoming and made the village feel like home. The homestays are very selfless, they will do everything they can to make sure you are comfortable. They even cook vegetarian and vegan meals for those who ask for them, and they will usually give you loads of food that you can share with the others at dinner time, which makes supper a great time to taste all sorts of different meals.
It’s very relaxing to be around so much nature, especially when you are disconnected from the outside world (due to no wifi and limited phone signal). Also, seeing the elephants out in nature is really exciting and makes you feel really happy for them, considering many elephants in Thailand don’t get a nice life like these ones do. The hikes to get to the elephants are very fun, although they can get quite slippery when there is a lot of mud, but that just adds some challenge to it. All the animals around the village are very friendly, and it’s quite surprising to see all of them free and running around. It took me a little time to get used to seeing chickens and roosters everywhere, but it eventually becomes normal.
As volunteers, we get to try out many different activities, such as helping to teach English at the local school, going to see the kids at the nursery, helping out with the elephants’ health checks, cooking with our homestay, and many more. One of the days that I found both very challenging and amazing was when we went to the field with my homestay to put fertilizer on the corn. It was a very steep climb to get there, but the whole time we had the most incredible view, being surrounded by mountains the entire time. It was a lot of hard work in the field, because for a couple of hours we were out in the sun putting fertilizer all over the crops, and it was quite tiring. I had never really done farming before, so it was quite fun to try something new What amazed me the most though, is that the local people go to the fields almost everyday and do all this hard work, and are still so accommodating and generous with all the guests.
I really loved my experience overall, it was very nice to be helping others.