trunk calls from thailand

mosha friends of asian elephantsDuring the recent unrest in Thailand we caught up with our two Intrepid Foundation beneficiary charities, to see how they are faring: Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) and Baan Unrak Children’s Village.

Soraida Salwala, the Founder of FAE writes: “I went to Bangkok for FAE bank transactions but became stuck and unable to return. I had to rely on working by SMS and email, however I talked to Motala and Mosha via mobile phone. My staff had the speaker on and held the phone near them. They were surprised at first but became used to hearing my voice over that small object. Motala reaches her trunk and touches the phone. Mosha will have her trunk up in reply to my greetings “Sawasdee kha!”

Our five permanent residents are doing well. Motala and Mosha have their new prosthetic legs and walk proudly on them – Motala, because her prosthetic leg has had recent repairs and Mosha, because she is still growing. Auang, Ekhe and Tanthong eat well and sleep well too. The weather is hot so the trio love to have water sprayed on them.

Kamnoi is still being fed with banana flowers to increase her lactation but the milk is not enough and so her baby Dante also drinks about 4 litres of goat’s milk a day. He is very tiny, weighing less than 40 kg. The pregnant elephants, Kamton, MaeNoi and Jokia have not yet shown signs of delivery.

Our running costs are high, approx 800,000-1,000,000 Baht/month. I am worried very much about what will come next, but give thanks to you all out there. Life goes on no matter what happens!”

baan unrak children's village thailandBaan Unrak Children’s Village have had their own regional additional challenges the past month. Volunteer Anne-Cecile writes:

“Since April 22nd, the situation along the Thai/Burma border is very critical, as the ethnic armies refuse to be integrated into the Burmese army to become border guards. Hundreds of families in Burma have fled from their homes to get closer to the border. They depend on small local NGOs like us to help with their food: vegetables, cooking oil, salt, fish paste, dry fish, eggs and beans.

The work on the teenager boys’ house is going very well, and the boys are very excited about it. We are still seeking more funds to furnish the building. We are concerned with the instability because if the number of tourists reduces, so will the sales of the clothes that we weave and sew, and the activity at our restaurant, and these help to cover our monthly running costs, which are around 500,000 Baht a month.”

With fewer travellers likely to be visiting in coming months, please think of Thailand and contribute what you can to either of these two very worthy organisations via The Intrepid Foundation. Intrepid Travel will match all donations dollar for dollar.*

* Up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$300,000 for all donors in each financial year.

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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It’s sad to hear of the additional stresses that a downturn in tourism can cause tor organisations that are really doing fabulous work. I’m going to make a donation through the Intrepid Foundation to them right now, and hope to visit them on my Asian adventure later this year. Thanks Intrepid for telling us about some of the issues we don’t hear about in the mainstream media.

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