Day Fourteen of 365 Acts of Courage and Kindness
Today I experienced something so beautiful that warmed my heart and lifted my spirits and hope of human kindness. We visited a sanctuary for elephants in Thailand. After witnessing elephant slavery throughout the world due to tourism, zoo’s and circus’s I didn’t know what to expect but I was completely surprised by what I found.
There were no sticks, nasty prongs, chains or anything other than words and kindness used to manage the animals. They were free to roam around the area with no fences or barbed wire and to play in the river. Yes, you could pay for an elephant experience where you got to ride them, swim with them (actually it was scrubbing the dirt off them so they don’t get sores), and feed them but it was all about the happiness and the health of the elephants and not about the people.
There were no uncomfortable seats strapped to their backs that would rub against the skin of these majestic beings. There was just you, sitting directly on the elephant’s shoulders (the strongest part) with your knees between its ears and only one person per elephant per day gets the opportunity. Everything I saw was gentle and kind and realistically, carrying a human for these big animals is nothing as each person was paired with a relatively sized elephant. These experiences also pay for their care.
So, my act of courage was simply to be in the presence of these huge beings. To walk next to them, pat their leathery skin and feed them. Standing next to them and looking into their deep brown eyes of wisdom, and witnessing them caring for their young, all without any walls, barriers or chains to restrain them was an experience I will cherish forever.
I have always had a fascination with elephants. They are such majestic creatures, very smart and gentle giants. But this isn’t always the case. They do have the ability to get angry, charge and as one of the carers said, “flick you with their trunk and send you flying”. Although this is extremely rare, it is still possible as they are a wild and very strong animal. So there was the fear of that happening, all be it fairly remote, it still goes through your mind.
Because they are roaming free, and there were young and old altogether, there is also the concern that if you aren’t watching what is going on, you might accidentally get stood on. It may not be intentional, and they did seem very aware, but accidents do happen and an accident with a foot the size of theirs could be damaging and painful.
With all of that in mind, there was still nothing that was going to keep me from getting close to these wonderful beasts. Was I afraid, I’ll admit, only a little. So, was it an act of courage? Well, only a small one I guess but here is my point. What might be relatively easy for me, might scare the beegeebies out of someone else and we all need to be aware of that. Respect that we are all different and be kind and understanding if someone is afraid of something that you aren’t all that afraid of.
My fiancé, for example, mentioned yesterday that he would never go do the tiger experience. I was talking about it with my brother and although I would absolutely love to get that close to a tiger, I refuse to because of the way they are treated (and often drugged). He on the other hand
He, on the other hand, won’t do it purely because he is totally afraid of tigers. And that’s the beauty of how different we all are. What scares him may not scare me and visa versa and I think we all need to remember that when it comes to fear it’s always unique to us.
My act of kindness today was for the few people that did do the elephant rides. I took video of them, not with the initial intention of giving it to them, just because I thought it was beautiful how they rode the elephants down to the water to scrub them. They had their own photographer there so I figured they were covered.It wasn’t until later when I saw them again I suddenly thought how much they would probably appreciate having the video of their experience so I spoke up, offered it to them and took down their emails. They were so grateful and it really brightened up their already amazing day. For
It wasn’t until later when I saw them again I suddenly thought how much they would probably appreciate having the video of their experience so I spoke up, offered it to them and took down their emails. They were so grateful and it really brightened up their already amazing day. For
They were so grateful and it really brightened up their already amazing day. For me, it reminded me of how easy it can be to be kind. Yes, it will take a wee while to download the video’s into dropbox and email them the file link but that’s what being kind is all about…a little bit of effort.