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Kristina Jenkins

The fog lifting in the mountains of Huay Pakoot!

My whole project experience has been fantastic; from stopping at the waterfall on the way in to grabbing a quick bite to eat in Mae Chem.  Meeting my homestay for the first time was made much easier with a staff member dinning with me for the first week to help me settle in. The pakinyaw lessons helped me to communicate with my family so much better and I quickly began to fall in love with my second family. I love to watch Lukaye (my granddad) play with his grandson in the mornings and sit around the fire. I’m often told I’m one of the lucky ones as our house is often full of random villagers that pop in to say hello on their way in and out of the village.

All the mahouts coming to have lunch at my homestay.

The village life in general is incredible everyone is very friendly. I’ve got to know a few of the other villagers through teaching English in the evenings as well as the children in my class at school. The unexpected pleasantries would be the breathtaking views from base and the scenery on the hikes. The vast expanse of forest combine with agriculture that surrounds us all the time is host to a range of incredible species. I’ve heard the Gibbons a few times but I’ve yet to see them. The nights are often clear leaving you to stargaze on your walk home each night and seeing the odd shooting-star.

When Sah Jah just decides to come and say hello!

The elephants are obviously everyone’s favorite aspect to the project and the level of welfare and interaction is just incredible. My first elephant encounter was the magnificent Thong Dee who is the largest of all the elephant on project. She truly is a giant but what has impressed me most over the last few weeks is seeing the relationship each of the mahoot has with their elephant. When looking into how elephants are utilized within Thailand for tourism; these are a lucky few -especially the young ones like Lulu and Gareepo. You do try not to pick favorites as each elephant is amazing in its own right but Lulu is such a character which I put down to her inquisitive youthfulness.  I’m looking forward to the rest of my stay here and hope the day I have to say goodbye to my second home doesn’t come around too quickly.

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