Hello! It is Thursday and we started the day at 6:30 and went to eat breakfast. After a bumpy truck ride to the Elephant Valley Project, we went trekking down a slippery hill and across many natural wooden bridges to meet two more of the project’s elephants. After following the elephants through the forest for about an hour, we observed their eating patterns, even watching one take down a small tree.
Our leader Jack explained to us that when elephants eat fruits, their droppings spread the seeds throughout the forest, contributing to a healthy ecosystem. As we hiked back to base-camp, Jack spoke to us about the illegal logging practices in Cambodia and how the Elephant Valley Project is helping to prevent those practices. He also lead us through a spirit forest, a sacred space to Cambodian people. He told us that if someone cuts down trees in the spirit forest, a curse will come upon him and his family.
After the hike back and delicious lunch, we visited one of the villages supported by the Elephant Valley Project to learn about a traditional Cambodian way of life. The houses were well-built and even sported colors to represent the individual cultures of each family. There were many animals throughout the village, including chickens, pigs, and many dogs. After visiting a school, which catered to about 50 students taught by one teacher, it was time to head back to our guest house to shower, have dinner, and go to bed. All in all, it was a tiring yet fun and rewarding day.
It is now Friday, and today we set off for the Elephant Valley Project to hike again to see the five elephants that we first met. We were lucky enough to get the chance to hand feed Onion, one of the project’s elephants, with bananas, pineapples, and lemongrass. After watching the mahouts, the local Cambodians who watch over the elephants, bathe the elephants in the river, we continued to follow the elephants through the forest for a couple of hours, then headed back to base camp for lunch.
After lunch, we trekked down 278 steps, across 4 wooden bridges, and through countless mud puddles to finally arrive at a set of beautiful waterfalls. For about an hour, we relaxed, took pictures, and listened to the soothing sounds of the falls. When it was time to head back, we again trekked through countless mud puddles, across 4 wooden bridges, and up 278 steps. Then, we headed back to the truck, hiking the steep and muddy hill from base camp. After dinner and showers, we all went to sleep satisfied with the day.
Andrea A. and Abigail R.
10/29 Family Workshop (virtual)
11/11 Parent Cohort Virtual