A Working Wendy

First of all let me just throw my hands up and say ‘my bad’ for the very sporadic blog posts, with the Staff Meeting in Cha Am and my airport pick ups and volunteer numbers I have been running around like a crazy person and taking care of everyone.

So yeah, my bad 🙂

This is a post that should have been up about 3 weeks ago so you know what to do; pretend it’s three weeks ago 😀

At the moment I am sat on the train from Hua Lamphong in Bangkok to Surin, I am so excited to get home and to take my new volunteers to see our beautiful elephants.

Going from left to right: Mike, Allison, John, A Monk, Riley, Jody and Donna

The team at their monks blessing

I am so in awe with this group of volunteers that I currently have, they consist of a family of 4 and a married couple, it doesn’t sound all that exciting but their story on the other hand is very interesting. The family is made up of mum, Jody, Dad, John and then their two beautiful children, Riley and Allison. They came to Bangkok last night from Bali which was where they had spent the morning in a monkey jungle filming them jumping all over their iPads and shoulders, ill link their blog at the end of this and you can check it out. So they had a pretty busy day to say the least!

The truly amazing thing about this family, apart from giving up their time and hard earned money to volunteer, is how much they are actually doing, they are travelling around the world, and I mean the world, to volunteer in every country they go to along the way. The stories they have been telling me so far have been so astounding and inspiring to hear, and the fact that the two kids are doing all of this and studying at the same time is just incredible. I would have loved to have the opportunity to travel and learn at my own pace when I was the same age; Riley, who is 16, is sat right now working on his early college entry work and Allison, who is 11, is doing some spelling practice. They are both using iPads to the fullest extent of their capabilities, and they are so diligent and disciplined to still be learning even when they are travelling the world with their parents.

The married couple, Donna and Mike, that are also with us are actually videographers, who are from the States like the family, and they are filming the family as they travel around the world, making a documentary about their wonderful adventure. They are both also heavily involved with photography and seeing some of the most amazing candid shots of the monkeys in Bali and the family themselves is also very beautiful to see; I wish I had the eye for a shot that they both do.

We here at Starfish certainly feel very privileged that they have included us in the their travels and documentary and we hope, and I know, that we can show them the most amazing time here in Thailand. Hopefully we can be one of their favourite destinations on their trip, I mean we have a baby elephant, so who can really contend with that???

My secret weapon!

I am pretty lucky that the family and Donna and Mike are huge conservationists and are so mindful of the issues and problems going on in the world. These are definitely my kind of people, Mike was a zoologist at the San Diego Zoo for 15 years so I know that we shall be having many lengthy conversations about training and animal care, some of you may know that I was studying Animal Management and Science before I came out to Thailand so I am hugely passionate about welfare and training as well.

I cannot wait to be able to get these guys up to our elephant village and show them the beautiful elephants we have and to show them how by them coming to care for them that they make sure that for one more week that these beautiful creatures don’t have to be on the streets trying to entertain people for food and money.

What I have noticed about this group is how close they are. The family are so in tune with each other and you can just feel the love and passion that they have as a family, I feel so lucky to be with a group of people who are just so caring and kind towards each other, and not because they have to be but because they want to be; and they don’t do it expecting anything back which I think is such an amazing quality to have.

It is people like this that make my job incredible and so unbelievably rewarding, just to know that I can ensure that this family and Donna and Mike have a wonderful experience down to the hard work and dedication of every single person in the Starfish team, is the reason that I do this job. When I was a volunteer it was the people that pushed my experience over the edge and made it once in a lifetime, so hopefully we can make it so for this group as well; pretty sure the baby elephant will achieve that for me 🙂

Well, we are all safe and sound in the elephant village now and I can tell you with a huge smile on my face that the whole team is certainly blown away with our baby elephant! The family are so enamored with her and it is so amazing to see just how much time they are spending with her as well, every time I look outside I see Allison with a massive grin on her face and Donna making sure that Mike captures even more of that incredible footage.

All of our volunteers love spending time with the elephants but there is something about this group that feels as though they need to be near them. I don’t really know how to explain it but the first time I took them down to the river with the elephants you could just feel the vibes that they were giving off and they were nothing but positive.

I won’t give away any of their travels as they have their own blog that you can read and see everything they did so here are a couple of pictures that I took over the week that they were here 😀

Enjoy!

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Beautiful sunrise on the families first day of work 😀

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Allison working super duper hard!

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Jody and Riley helping with planting our new sugar cane field

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A tasty snack for Pailin! Great work Ally!

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Everyone spent a day teaching at the local school

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The kids loving the book the Donna and Mike wrote!

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Mikes first ride into the river 😀

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The family enjoying a dip with the elephants

To read more about the White family and their incredible adventure then take a look at their blog, The Courage Vibe, and Facebook page. There is a great video on the Facebook page of them swimming with the elephants so take a look at that!!

If you want to come and swim with our elephants or teach our beautiful children then all you need to do is visit the   Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page, the Starfish Website or even the Starfish Tumblr page. Alternatively you can also check out the Instagram page which is #starfishvolunteers or even my personal Instagram which is constantly being uploaded to, by clicking the blue icon below.

I have a huge new found love for Twitter and Tumblr as well so take a look at that at as well, from there you can also see the other members of the Starfish team and what they are getting up to as well 😀

Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto

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