Although there are 200 elephants in the village and the mahouts travel with their elephants to the Annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in various parts of Thailand, most of their children had never seen a match. Therefore, the children could see it played and obtain first hand knowledge of their fathers’ elephant handling skills. Although the players did not have an elevated load out station to get on the elephants, we all managed to climb up on their backs.
You will note that we had some creature comforts with a tented awning and some electric fans in what was pretty extreme heat. Behind us you will see a portion of the local school facility.
It became clear that there was nothing else in this remote village but a Buddhist temple, elephants and their families. The local shopping facilities were limited to the roving convenience store shown below.
We had a long discussion with the headmaster of the school, Khun Prachuab, and the headman of the village to develop a bit different educational concept for the village school. Subsequently we discussed it with John Roberts of The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation to put forward the following concept: develop an English and Japanese language program, fiscal responsibility economic courses and general exposure that there is a bigger world outside of this small village. Since then, The Elephant Story has raised and donated one million baht or $33,000 to underwrite this educational program. The objective is two-fold—create a self-sustainable eco-friendly support system for the community and expose the children to other endeavors such that the families are not compelled to breed elephants for work opportunities that do not exist in an era of dramatically shrinking natural habitats.