By Brenda Patterson – 1 week volunteer
I was happy I chose the backseat of the open truck to view the picturesque topography of this region, and feel the warm wind on my body. The vehicle climbed up rolling hills as we approached the village, where I would call my home for the week. When I gazed out, I viewed luscious green foliage, banana trees, and fields upon fields of emerald rice paddies as well as corn stalks growing in the fields. If only I was not so afraid to drop my iPhone out the window in order to take a panoramic photo as the truck sped over bumpy roads. I was lucky enough to enjoy a different perspective on foot of this beautiful land when I walked back to the village after helping the English interns teach the local elementary school.
My pinnacle moment was meeting the beautiful elephants. They are majestic, kind, and playful. It is intimidating feeding them especially the little naughty one, Gen Thong. However, it is the whole experience that I am in awe of: walking from base camp (a big open tree house), over the rickety bridge above the river, through the village homes saying hello ‘da blue’ to the locals who have fed me comforting meals, and know the ways of the rugged land, skipping over rocks in the creek, and making a big ascent to the mountainside. There is time to anticipate the majestic mammals that await us.
The natural surroundings are stunning, raw, and vivid just like my experience at Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary.
As I write this, I’m overlooking the river currents flow rapidly while listening to the strong pitter-patter of the rain hit the metal roof, and trickle off the edge. It is calming looking at mist covering the hillside ahead. I wish I could bottle up this memory and feeling of bliss to share with my friends and families back home.