Last week we did the Mahout experience and it was the highlight of our trip to Thailand. Getting up close and personal with these giant, beautiful animals was a fantastic experience for us. We spent the morning with Jo, one of the volunteers, and she was fantastic. We went at our own pace and were able to ask as many questions as needed. It was very relaxed. The grounds are very well kept and the residents, e.g. elephants, are very well cared for and well fed. This was clear because they could be picky about that they did and did not eat. The bananas that were not quite ripe enough were usually dropped and the trunk was reaching out again hoping for something better.
We saw the baby of the group, Song Kran, go through his daily prayers with his Mahout. Considering no one taught him to do this, it was quite incredible to watch. We also saw Song Kran do his little show for visitors. This was not part of the experience but he was performing for another group so we watched. Jo told us that he will do the show on his own when he is bored because he has fun with it. At least it truly looked as if he was having fun when he was dancing or playing his harmonica.
We learned about the organization and the Mahouts while we fed Raem Roy. We spent most of our time with Tong Kam who is incredibly gentle. We took her for a long walk around the grounds giving her treats along the way. She followed us most of the time but sometimes she went her own way; especially when she spotted her favorite vines among the dense vegetation. After the walk we gave her a bath. Of course Jo told us that she’d get herself all dusty again at first chance only because that is what she prefers.
When all was done, we were given a simple but delicious vegetarian, Thai lunch along with our Mahout experience T-shirts. Knowing that they rely strictly on donations, I gave an extra donation after the lunch. However, at no time did anyone asked for or even allude to additional donations or purchases. Once again, it was a fantastic experience for us and we are so glad we did it. We would highly recommend the Mahout experience at Hutsadin.
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