Morning avid readers,
This is your guest writers; Kirra and Georgia. This morning our lovely volunteers awoke early, eager for a few more minutes of sleep yet ready for a breakfast of cereal, toast and the usual khmer breakfast range, but more for the cereal.
After a relaxed breakfast, everyone split into two groups, Team Leona and Team John and went our separate ways. Team Leona excitedly climbed into the back of the ute, many looking forward for their first ride in the back and headed out of the sanctuary and towards the rangers camp to continue the already started construction of the new toilets. The morning was relaxed, with the steady rhythm of brick laying and digging taking over along with the usual background music from the stereo. Time flew by and before everyone knew it, it was time to head back to the sanctuary for lunch.
Meanwhile Team John started out at the tool shed, each grabbing a rake ready to get to work. Our job for the morning was raking the dry undergrowth of the forest – grass, reeds, and broken branches – into piles to be control burned by the staff of the sanctuary. This control burning is important to make sure that when there is a forest fire, it doesn’t spread throughout the entire area. While raking away, we were able to see some orange sashes tied to some of the trees. These sashes are blessed by monks in order to prevent people illegally logging the forest surrounding and owned by the sanctuary. We worked steadily enjoying each others company and conversation… as John loves to say “Teamwork makes dreamwork!”.
After lunch the real surprise came, it was Team Leona’s time to bathe the elephant; Arun Ria. The volunteers thoroughly enjoyed tossing buckets of water onto her back while she eagerly devoured watermelon. After a bath the volunteers then watched as Arun Ria grazed on grass, threw sand on her back to keep away bugs and most excitedly; learned from Say; our guide, how to turn grass into javelins that travel amazing distances. Only a few managed to master this art in the small amount of time. Then began the walk back where we encountered Kamlin slowly making her way to the field that would become her dinner table. The volunteers swiftly overtook her, allowing Kamlin to take her time while the volunteers headed back to camp to machete chop the fruit for her snack.
Back on the other side of the sanctuary the other group was changing the sanctuary one weed at a time… AKA weeding the garden where they grow food for residents and visitors of the sanctuary – the elephants, the monkeys, and the staff and volunteers. We all put on our gloves and followed Mix’s lead as he showed us which weeds to pull. We helped the work along by playing some more riddle-type games. Some were infuriating, but still hugely fun as we all laughed and joked together, getting the job done.
Finally it was free time, otherwise known as hammock nap time or for a spare few the never ending game of figuring out the latest riddle which gets passed through the group of volunteers and/or a game of cards or two before dinner.
After dinner comes the nightly elephant documentary, in tonights case the volunteers have the joy of watching one about the very sanctuary we are staying in and how it came to be.
Many Kisses for Kamlin…
Goodbye you fab humans,
blog ya later
Kirra & Georgia