It was a hot and quiet night, the temperature was still around 30c at 9:00pm when I went to bed and I woke to a fresher, cooler, mountain air temperature of 20c in the morning. It is dark when I get up at 5:30am but daylight comes quickly and the hazy pink sky breaks about half an hour later.
This weeks volunteers started to arrive mid-morning and I helped out in the ele-kitchen, preparing lunch until everyone was here for the orientation. It was a lot of work in the kitchen as all the water-melon and pineapples needed to be washed and cut up, I also helped cut the skin off three or four baskets of water-melon for the older elephants, as they have a more sensitive digestive system.
I met several of the new volunteers over lunch and answered lots of their questions about how things work here. It helped break the ice and it was fun to be part of the excited apprehension of starting a new adventure. I think this weeks volunteer group are more varied, in countries of origin, age and there are more men in the mix this week (last week here were only five of us in total).
We all got together at the Meeting Point and headed down to the water for bathing the elephants, particularly fun on a hot afternoon. The ‘Welcome Ceremony’ was held in the second level of the main platform and this week I was able to take part in it. Four of us received the blessing from the local Shaman and he tied the white cotton around our wrists, symbolizing the good fortune we were blessed with.