The Gental Giants of ENP
As we drove along the rocky and dusty roads of Chang Mai on our way to the Elephant Nature Park (ENP), we passed by many gentle giants with hundreds of pounds of equipment tearing at their backs. I took long deep breaths as we passed these elephants - relieved to hear this was not going to be our experience with elephants for the coming week. Once we settled in, we watched a video about how terribly elephants are treated - they are used for trekking, logging, and many more harmful activities that ruin their lives. We walked around and heard many of the elephants' stories - and it was exciting to know that for the rest of their lives they will be safe - but also quite sad because some are permanently injured, mentally and physically.
As we learned more about Elephant Nature Park I was awestruck to find out that they also rescue cats, dogs, and many more animals. This was one of the most relaxing and calming places I have ever stayed at. I felt at peace with the world while being surrounded by animals that were safe and taken care of.
Although our time at the park was short I felt like the work we did was very helpful and was always done in a fun and enjoyable manner. The work we did for the elephants was rigorous and made my muscles sore, but I always ended the day with a big smile on my face.
I enjoyed all of the time we spent doing service work as a group and it reinforced why I decided to come on this trip.
One of my favorite parts of the week was getting to wash the elephants in the river. We all had fun doing this despite the fact that the elephants were pooping and peeing in the river with us. They are such gentle creatures and seem to enjoy (or at least not mind) the help of humans. After we bathed them and they went on their way, we all went swimming and had mud fights. I will never forget the smiles and laughter on everyone's faces.