Today after breakfast we would be heading into the community to help the education of the local people about the importance of forest conservation an preservation. Today would be the first step in many to help bring issues to light and help change the culture of deforestation and burning. The first step today was to put up posters describing the problem and solutions around the surrounding area. We drove around 45 minutes to the border of Thailand where we began displaying the posters. We were also accompanied by the local military and locals in training who help protect the forest from illegal logging and hunting.
1st stop: The border. We put posters up around the immigration area and in an area that on weekends has markets (the equivalent of a shopping centre)
2nd stop: The Hospital. We went to the local hospital in the area where there is a lot of people coming through. It was also eye opening to see the health care here in Cambodia compared to the western world. I think people were quite grateful for our health care.
3rd stop: The Town Hall. We were introduced the the head of the district (the mayor) and were all seated around a long board room table in the town hall. Dino was there to translate his speech and he welcomed us to his district and thanks up for coming and volunteering to make a difference. We are the first volunteers in this region and he was very grateful. He gave his permission for us to display our posters so we did so around the town hall where many people congregate.
Stop 4: The market place. This was the central market for food, clothes and many knick knacks. Lots of posters were put up and the local kids were very interested and got involved! We also picked up some yummy fried bananas and fried sweet potato…yum!!
It was back to base and time for lunch! After lunch we were going to bless the trees. We were given monks robes that had been blessed and cut them into strips. We headed out to the road and all along the road we tied the material around the trees. Majority of the community is Buddhist here and this is a major deterrent for cutting the trees down. The group absolutely smashed the work and finished early, so was rewarded by relaxing at the base. During this time we cut up food for the elephants and waited for dinner.
Dinner was delicious and vegan, and afterward we watched a series about animals that Dino recommended and then spent the rest of the night talking, showing magic tricks and playing cards. It was a great night!
(Potential group name: The RoV Covern)
Good night and a good tomorrow