When I look back on this day, now after almost two years my heart still hurts.
Knowing what I do now, I feel at a loss in so many ways…
To see the chains and hear the explanations, I feel the mahouts wanted to believe the reasons themselves.
I truly believe they had the best intentions at heart, the majority of them were young men from Cambodia who are working there to make a living.
No reasons though make chains ok!
I feel a great deal of sympathy and compassion for these young men though, because there was also a disconnect with them and the elephants.
To them, this was a job. Traditionally mahouts and their elephants are family. There is a deep bond between them, and in many places throughout Thailand this still exists.
I hesitate to judge because I do not know.
On this beautiful day, I take moment to think about how amazing this planet of ours is. The trees outside my window are covered with buds of pink and purple, the birds are singing while looking for a place to nest.
I am blessed to have seen terrain in different parts of the world, the wildlife and jungles vivid with color.
I believe we must all take the time to do our part to keep our planet a safe place for everyone. Whether it be recycling, planting trees or animal conservation, all our vital to protect the place we all call home.
Happy Earth Day. ❤
A few months ago I saw a picture of two elephants and a gentleman with a stick next to them. The post was stating that these two girls were being beaten.
The response was immediate by advocates and activists demanding to know where these elephants were, who was hitting them, etc. etc.
I was also included in the mass to demand justice. Until I met the woman behind the camera.
We did not meet face to face, but I read the words being thrown at her, comments of hate and I needed to know more.
The truth was beautiful and Laksmipriya & Bishnupriya, the elephants who live in Mayapur are so loved and cared for.
I learned about the dedication, love and care these dear girls are given everyday. The commitment to providing them life long protection.
The riding I saw was not by tourists, but their care givers. Tourists do not ride them.
They spend their days playing in water, their feet our treated and they are fed delicious food.
Knowledge is power. I thank this woman for showing me to look beyond, when I see something to ask questions and not assume.
We live in a society where we feel we have to explain our happiness. Not everyone may get our dreams, hobbies or choice in education or profession.
Why can’t that be ok. When I talk to someone about my trip in the Fall, I get asked many questions. I enjoy these questions and answering them.
I like talking about what I will see and do, the chance to make a dream not only come true, but a possible career path.
Comments have been from ” I could never do that” to ” Aren’t you scared?”
I believe if our dreams don’t scare us they are not big enough. I actually just finished a book with that title of a woman’s trek around the world.
Your dream is different than mine, just as my path is different than yours.
Embrace it. We need to stop being our own worst enemy and be excited with our accomplishments. No need to always be humble, boast about them.
I don’t ask anyone to understand, just support and love.
Yesterday I participated in a protest against the circus in Pittsburgh. The wind was fierce and the air was chilly, yet we stood there steps away from the entrance. We held signs of images such as these with words of truth.
There were words thrown at us and one gentleman and I exchanged words and I did let my emotions get the best of me.
My intentions for being there yesterday was not to call out judgement or point out flaws.
I was there for the elephants, for those who do not have a voice. I saw children look at the pictures and ask the adults questions. What was puzzling was they would tell them “That elephant is being beaten” yet continue inside!
I thought about the stories I hear of abuse done to these dears by the hands of man. There are many about elephants turning on these men and great tragedy happens.
I feel great pain and sadness. We should never want violence and suffering to be the retaliation.
I think of the great Maya Angelou, and her beautiful words. I would like to share my favorite by her:
Today my article was published!
To be able to share my experience as an example of what NOT to do is truly a blessing.
On this rainy Monday morning, I am re-watching a video recently sent the page I am an editor for, Voices for Asian Elephants.
Most of my days are spent looking at horrific images of elephants abused and neglected as well as footage of torture.
I read every comment in regards to these, many are by people who although they are passionate about the cause, they can not bring themselves to see them.
While I very much understand this, I can not look away. The world is full of such destruction and misery, and I have committed myself to doing what I can, no matter how intricate in the fabric of the world.
It is incredibly unbearable to watch mankind take their anger out on innocent beings, animals and humans. Many have come to accept violence as the key to problem solving.
There are many moments I admit, I walk away after something has incredibly disturbed me, at times even take a walk and reflect. I then think about what I will see on my trip, the advice I have been given by those in the field before:
“Look for what they don’t want you to see.”