July 6, 2017
Today we had our first full day in Thailand!! We started the day with orientation, then treated ourselves to an awesome buffet lunch – a perfect opportunity to try heaps of different Thai foods. Next we visited some gorgeous gold temples and learned a little bit about Buddhism. We were also able to chat with some local monks about daily life in Thailand. Then we went to Elephant Parade, an organization that partners with local artists to create elephant centered art and spread awareness about elephant conservation in Thailand. It was an awesome start to the program!
– Sam (Mentor)
July 7, 2017
Hi friends and family, day three consisted of lots of fun! We started off the day by going to the Thai Elephant Hospital and the Elephant Conservation Center. Here we learned about the lives of elephants that were injured in the past and brought in to be taken care of. At the Conservation center we had the opportunity to touch the elephants and feed them. After this we watched an elephant show where they completed tasks like painting, moving logs, and putting hats on their owners. We finished off the night by going to a nearby restaurant and shopped in the markets.
Lance is the best!👍🏻👍🏻
Carley and Chloe
July 8, 2017
Today was our first day at the Thai elephant home. Since we didn’t have service today, we spent the majority of the day with the elephants, riding through the mountains and bathing them in the river. On our trip up the mountain, we got to see some amazing views of the Thailand jungle and also of the towns at the bottom. Stopping halfway for lunch, the elephants took baths in the mud and the students took turns rubbing the clay onto them. The rain, although it made it harder to hike, was refreshing for both the students & elephants. Our whole journey with the elephants took about 5 hours, and when we got back we had group discussions & played games until dinner, while we watched a slide show of all the amazing pictures that were taken of us on the ride. Overall, we had a great experience with the elephants and are looking forward to many more days we get to spend with them.
Andy (Andrea Graham)
swadi (saw-wa-do-ka) which is hello in Thai! Today was our first day of service so we were up bright and early to help the mahouts clean up our elephant’s living quarters. We were then split into our service groups. One group helped build a damn while the other group cut down food for the elephants. After our hard work we ate lunch and prepared to take our elephants down to the river to give them a bath. It poured rain there and back but we still had a blast! Rain or shine, it’s beautiful here in Thailand. We ate a delicious dinner and then watched an interesting ted talk video that everyone should check out: https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story/up-next
We’re excited to see what tomorrow brings!
peace and chow
Lexi & Gaby
July 10, 2017
Today was day 6 of the program and day 3 at Thai Elephant Home. We woke up bright and early to partake in our favorite activity of the day, shoveling poop!! Afterwards we had breakfast and prepared for our separate service trips. One group was rained out from dam building, so instead they took a hike through the forest to find herbs to create medicine balls for the elephants. The medicine balls were made of wood, herbs, bananas, and other materials and elephants loved them. The other group had a second day of grass cutting. Today was a lot more successful than day 1 because we cut a lot more grass and the bushels were much neater. However, we did find a snake in the grass and a scorpion on our walk back which wasn’t too fun. After service, we had lunch and then split into 2 groups to make flags with team names and later an elephant trivia game. Emerson, Hannah, Nicole, and Lexi were the winners and got to go first at dinner. After trivia, we went on the daily walk to bathe our elephants. After that, we had a short shower break and dinner. The fruit in Thailand is amazing. Tonight is the first night we have no activity after dinner so we get the night to ourselves which is nice, considering everyone is super tired.
See you soon!
Emerson and Mädchen
July, 11, 2017
To start out day 7 ( day 4 at Thai elephant home) we woke up at 6:00 am to go help the mahouts clean up the elephants area. Afterwards we headed over to eat breakfast. However we were very sad because Joon had his day off today and couldn’t toast the bread. Next we split off into our two groups where one went and finished building their dam and the other went to collect materials from the forest to make medicine balls. After service we all came back to the home base and ate a very amazingly good lunch. Around 2:00pm we had a group discussion on plastics in the ocean and then we did an evaluation on the program so far. At 4:00pm we took our elephants down to the river for their daily bath. Then came home and got ready for yet another very good meal at Thai elephant home. Later that night we played a optional game of spoons.
Your dear and loving leaders,
Kaitlyn & Riley
July 12, 2017
Today after cleaning and feeding the elephants early in the morning, we walked to the local market to try new foods and buy souvenirs. Half of the group went to build a dam in order to regulate rainwater coming into the local village while the other went to cut grass to feed to the elephants. We ended the evening practicing for our upcoming talent show!
By: Alexis & Kali
Today was day 9! This morning, we got up at 6:00 am to clean up after our elephants. Then we had chow circle and ate a delicious breakfast! For our activities today, we split up into two groups. One group visited the baby elephants at the nursery. They were so cute and playful! The other group continued their service by building the rest of their dam followed by a relaxing, hour-long massage. Afterwards, we all went on a hike with the elephants instead of going to the river since the water was too high. After showering and getting cleaned up, we all gathered for chow circle, gave our shoutouts and ate dinner. Today was a pretty rainy day but we all made the most of it and worked hard. Can’t wait for the rest of the week!! M
By: Hanna & Katie
July 14, 2017
Hello friends and families! Today was day 10 (July 14) of our Thai Elephant Program and our last day of service work (thank goodness). Kelly’s group finished up with grass cutting for the elephants and then came back to home base, where they relaxed and got full body Thai massages. While Sam’s group went to the Thai elephant nursery and played with baby elephants. Sunday (6 months old) was a fan favorite! After, we all gathered at home base and took our elephants down to the river for a bath. We then had dinner and played an evening game.
Here’s a picture of Sunday and his mom
Here’s a photo of the grass that was cut
Here’s another photo of Gaby, Maria, and Carley feeding Sunday
July 15th, written by Maria.
Today was day 11 of GLA’s Elephant Village Initiative and the 8th day at the Thai Elephant Home. We began by doing our daily cleanup of the elephant area at 6 AM. We then came back to eat breakfast and prepare for the day’s adventures, which included white water rafting.
At around 8:30, we got into the vans & drove to the river, where we were given a safety briefing and rafting tutorial. We then spent around an hour and a half rafting down the river, before eating lunch.
A few hours after arriving back at Thai Elephant Home, we walked the elephants down to the river for our final bath with them.
Finally, we ate dinner, and prepared for our talent show, which we all participated in, which served as a special show for the mahouts.
Hi friends and family! Today we left Thai Elephant Home and drove back to Chiang Mai :(. We all had an amazing time there and were sad to leave. In Chiang Mai, we went to a 3D museum. It was really fun taking pictures with all the exhibits. We also went to a big night market. It had lots of cool stuff with lots of people. Joon even joined a band with a couple younger Thai boys.
Lily and Diana in “Venice”