Monday, January 17, 2011

Let's Get Started!

We regroup at 5 p.m. at the meeting center to go over group chores. The following pictures summarize far better than I can. All I will say is that Sabine and I are in Group A.

There is always a morning chore that may run one 1 to two hours. This is followed by morning project, which could be anything from spreading fertilizer (elephant poo is all they use and it is very.... fertile!), to making mud bricks that they use for building, to moving dirty sand (from urine laden sand in stalls) and replacing with fresh sand, etc. Main feeding time occurs at the large feeding platform at about 11:30, although specific elephants may eat a little earlier (this will be elaborated on in a future journal entry). Lunch is served at noon. One o'clock is bathing time for the elephants, done in shifts, with childless females first, males next and then females with their babies. There may be some intermingling here as long as the two young males (10 and 11 years old) are not near each other. Two o'clock is afternoon chore. And by four o'clock we are free to relax and assist in more activities which include another 4:00 p.m. bathing for the elephants, 4:30 p.m. feeding the babies, 4:30 p.m. giving of mud baths to the older female elephants and the babies if they have not rolled in the mud that day (I'll explain the reason behind this later). Sabine and I decide to do as much of all of this!! But we agree that 5:30 p.m. is OUR bath time since 6:30 p.m. is always meal time, and really do not want to be stinky. We have discovered that it is way too cold to shower in the morning or before bed (always gets down to about 63 degrees; the daytime is usually a comfortable 80 degrees).

We learn that when the bell gongs 3 times, it is dinner time. There are endless supplies of huge water jugs to refill our water bottles as well as coffee and tea. I am drawn immediately to the tea and drink only tea and water during our time here. Dinner is always buffet style with more food than you can imagine all vegetarian and a lot of vegan dishes as well. Occasionally there are a few fish dishes. And loads of fresh fruit -- papaya is new favorite!! Just look at this colorful plate of food:

I am also VERY tired and can't wait to finally get some sleep. In a bed!