Today was our last day of full work. We woke up at our usual time and ate breakfast. Full of veggies and coffee we split into two groups for the last time. One group headed out to a local farm to collect manure for the farm. This manure will be used in the vegetable garden we are building outside of the sanctuary. The second group headed into the geese pond (the sanctuary isn’t just home to elephants, it houses monkeys, gibbons, geese and more!) to give it its’ weekly cleaning. After scrubbin’ the geese pond squeaky clean they cleaned up the puppies’ water area. After a morning of hard (and a wee smelly) work we washed up and filled up with lunch.
During break many volunteers soaked in all the hammock time they could as it will be our last afternoon here 🙁 The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to blessing the trees to try to save them. We took cloth that had been blessed by monks and tied them around trees in the forest. In Cambodia it is a sacrilige to cut down or harm anything that has been blessed by a monk. Reach Out Volunteers had the honor of starting this months ago and the forest is starting to look like a sea of orange 🙂
Our last dinner sadly came and went and we celebrated our last night here with a bonfire. The only American in the group, I had the incredible honor of introducing everyone to S’MORES! No worries, Jade got “The Art To Making S’mores” on camera so you’ll be sure to discover the gooey goodness soon. S’mores in our tummies, Teagen pulled out sparklers. Country music (and traditional khmer music) in the background, all the cooks, rangers and volunteers danced the night away, language barrier set aside.
Tomorrow we head back to Siem Reap. A bittersweet moment on so many levels.