On we travelled, pick up truck style to our third village stop. We repeated the gift giving process with the village children and their mothers. As some of us were handing out flip-flops we heard a crash from the back of the house we were staying in! Stam, our Karen guide had been preparing dinner on the back veranda when the timber posts holding it up gave way under his 7 stone bulk! This sent Stam, pots, pigs and chickens flying in all directions much to our amusement! Chris and Tim went to investigate and found that the veranda was the pot wash location, over the years the dirty water running down through the slats had formed a lovely bog under the veranda rotting the posts! This was obviously a regular occurrence as none of the locals batted an eyelid.
Tim and Chris got to work clearing the debris and removing the old posts, a few locals wandered over to supervise and between 5 of them they rebuilt the platform in about an hour, with no words just pointing and laughter. The hardest part was trying to nail the teak planks to the posts with the village hammer. The wood is so hard that nail after nail succumbed until the best technique was demonstrated by the village carpenter.
A few of us accompanied the vet on a tour of the village to worm and give rabies injections to dogs. That evening the locals brought their hand woven wares to us to admire, we bought some skirts and a shirt.
In the evening around the fire we chatted to Lek and finally got some background to the project and insight into the full strategy she is employing across her various projects - she truly is inspirational. Every question we had was answered fully and her passion for Asian elephant welfare was contagious.
The next day we headed back towards the Elephant Park, on the way we met a majestically large elephant who was also part of the project. She was beautiful and very gentle. We fed her watermelons and sweet corn. She could strip the sheaf off the sweet corn quicker than we could with her dexterous trunk!
A typical north Thai sunrise
A lazy new moon still showing at dawn
Our standard cozy accommodation for the week
Stam preparing traditional dress for us to try and buy
Tim with our rebuilt platform including plumbing and drainage
It's a masterpiece
The group in traditional Karen dress
Our final elephant visit before the park
She loved maize and could peel it quicker than we could
Back in civilisation enjoying a Thai banquet