As we approached the last complete days in Mae Rim, the group decided to go out and explore. They biked about 15-20 minutes to go see how elephant poop is turned into paper and other recyclable products.
Finally and tragically our last day in Mae Rim, all our preparation was coming down to this night. First as usual we had our thai language class in the sala where we added the finishing touches to our speeches. Then we made some lanterns out of banana trees for a ceremony called Loi Kratong. We continued to set up and rehearse for this highlighted event in Mae Rim. We were finally able to finish an uno game that had lasted for hours. We then started to get ready. Ladies with long skirts, white shirts, red sash, a floral headpiece, and long gold fingernails. The gentlemen wore white shirts, burgundy pants, and had swords. It was time.
As our host families started to arrive with tasty dishes, we did final touches. We first started with a Buddhist ceremony, in which at the end we got blessings from our host parents and other community members. After dinner we gave our very first speech in Thai. Some of our proud host parents filmed us. Afterwards we put on a performance of a lifetime. Following that we topped it off with a dance created by us to show how grateful we were for them. And it had people dancing. The next morning were our real goodbyes. I cried, that’s all I have to say.
Then off we went back to Chiang Mai. We had a free day to go out and explore. We went to the internet cafe, Wararot market, and tried new places to eat. In the evening, we went bowling and the ladies went to do some karaoke. The following day we spent the day caring for elephants. Feeding them, walking them, and bathing them. Elephants are such sweethearts. They gave us a good time and kisses.
Currently we are in Chiang Rai, where we have started our work with the mirror foundation. After orientation at their base, we settled into the village where we would be working. So far the work is hard but doable.
Stay tuned for more updates in a few days!