Today we had an early breakfast and headed in the mini vans on the journey to the elephant sanctuary from Siem Reap! Once we arrived it was time to settle in and discover our new accommodations; brand new wooden bungalows with beds an mosquito nets. We all went to bed feeling like princesses tonight! (Yep, even the boys haha)
We headed to the main building for our orientation talk and meet the volunteer coordinator Dino. He discussed what we would be doing this week, how and why it was so important. We also were introduced to the washroom facilities which are bucket showers and with no hot water! Welcome to the real Cambodia! And lucky it’s hot here 🙂
We were then all given a watermelon and walked toward the forest where we were amazingly greeted by a elephant! Everyone had to opportunity to feed the elephant a small watermelon, and being this close to such a majestic creature is an amazing experience.
But it didn’t stop there! We headed down the path and came to the monkey enclosures. They ate the fruit we gave them and are very cheeky! These monkeys have been rescued and are being rehabilitated to be released back into the surrounding large forest.
It was then onto the hard work! Helping establish a fire break for the sanctuary to prevent major forest fires an the destruction on the important habitats of elephants and many other species. It was hard and hot work under the Cambodian sun but I am very impressed with the volunteers and their energetic spirit 🙂 with rakes and makeshift tools we were able to clear a large section of weeds and debris next to the road. As a reward for the hard work we went for a short jungle walk to a local river and some had a nice refreshing dip!
Back at the sanctuary it was time to relax until dinner time. Refreshing showers, hammocks, and naps were had! A buffet style dinner was devoured and a documentary about the rescue of the elephants here at the sanctuary was shown. A very competitive card game was then had and we were all reminded that the few hours (6-10pm) of electricity a day were over when all the lights went out! Everyone is looking forward to a big day tomorrow!
Good night and a good tomorrow 🙂