By Amber Hughes- 1 week volunteer
My time at Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary has been absolutely amazing. Getting to live with the Karen Hill Tribe is something I will never forget. Coming from New York City, this was a welcomed change to see all the greenery every day. I was really worried that I would not like the food here, but it was amazing.
My homestay family was also very welcoming, they spoke as much english as they could with me. My family was also nice to exterminate my room for all spiders, which I appreciated very much. One day, the other interns and I got to teach English to the kids. School was not in session so I didn’t get to see the school but it was a lot of fun playing games with the kids to teach them. It is really nice to see that positive impact this program has on the village. The village is getting to learn English and have an alternate source for income.
The hikes were quite strenuous but were amazing when I saw an elephant randomly in the forest. I had seen wild elephants in South Africa and Mozambique before but only from afar. This is the first time I got to feed and touch an elephant. It makes me happy to know these elephants are enjoying their life living in the forest and are able to do what they want.
One day, the elephants were brought near the village as they needed to get water from the river. Everyone in the village came to see the elephants drinking from the river. It is surprising how well such a big animal can blend into the forest but they do it so well and it will sometimes be hard to see elephant that isn’t that far away.
Boon Rott is the most social, so I spent the most time with him. He also joined us for lunch one day and the mahout had to keep moving him away from us because he wanted our food. I am hoping for a Mae Doom and Boon Rott romance and I can come back and see their baby. I look forward to following Kindred Spirit’s growth and look forward to seeing more elephants back in the forest on my next visit!