Day 3 – Elephants, Monkeys and Firebreaks!

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)

The group in welcomed to the elephant sanctuary!

The group is welcomed to the elephant sanctuary!

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.

Oh hi there elephants! The group making new friends

Oh hi there elephants! The group making new friends

Ben and Charlotte getting up close and personal!

Ben and Charlotte getting up close and personal!

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.

Peta making new friends!

Peta making new friends!

Cheeky monkey

Cheeky monkey

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!

The perfect type of transport :)

The perfect type of transport 🙂

Getting into the hard work of making a fire break

Getting into the hard work of making a fire break

A nice cool dip in the local river

A nice cool dip in the local river

Harvesting banana trees for the elephants

Harvesting banana trees for the elephants

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 🙂

~ Jess

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