Lottie shifting her own weight in clay, mud, gravel and concrete in order to put in the new pipe system 😀
So for the last two weeks me and the volunteers on the Elephant Project have been working super hard on replacing the water pipes that are at the elephant shelter in the jungle. This was not as easy as it sounds I can assure you!!
Nice early starts to the day 😀
The shelters themselves were built by the government and provide shelter for 11 elephants during the blazing hot days that the village sees everyday. They are in great condition and are looked after by the mahouts really well, the only issue is that over the last few years the water pipes have deteriorated hugely and this has meant that there has been no water supply for several years. Not only does this mean that the elephants don’t get a supply of water when they are in the shelter, it also means that the mahouts who work very hard have no running showers or toilets that they can use.
This is the basic water collecting system one of the mahouts had installed in his shelter but there has been no water for quite a long time so it has laid empty for many months.
Now we here at Starfish do not think that that is OK so Worn (our elephant coordinator) decided that we should replace the whole piping system including all the taps and to refill the very large water silos so that everyone can enjoy a nice cooling off 😀
Definitely no water in there is there??
The volunteers that started on our Water Pipe Project were Lottie, Cas and Ruth. They were very lucky to be able to work for several hours in the blazing heat trying to find where the old pipes were hidden beneath the extraordinarily strong clay, gravel and occasionally concrete ground.
Needless to say much water was drunk as well as perspired!! Boy was it hot that day! Not only that but we were greeted by about 5 very large elephants who were having some sort of debate about sugarcane or some other elephant topic and it certainly gave the volunteers a shock to see just how loud and at times dangerous our beautiful elephants can be.
Lottie sawing off a damaged bit of the water pipe in order to replace it with a shiny new bit 😀
Thankfully nobody got trampled and the elephants actually did us a favor by flattening down the ground that we had used to cover new sections of the pipe system 😀 They are now elephant proof which is certainly a relief as I don’t know how well it would go down if the elephants had managed to destroy the several hours of work the volunteers had done!
Cas digging out the space to lay the new pipe. Great work there Cas!
In the second week of building we were down to only Cas and Ruth but they did a stellar job and managed to pretty much finish the whole new piping system. Unfortunately we ran out of straight connectors after having to replace many sections of the pipe that had been burnt. So hopefully Worn will be working the new elephant volunteers to get it finished this week 😀
Luckily it rained a fair bit the night before we dug the new sections for the pipe as it would have been impossible otherwise. We even had to use a machete to cut away at the ground at one point!
Oh hey Cas!
We actually had to go through the jungle! Worn is gluing some connectors together and making sure they are water tight, not to mention a little giddy off the very strong glue 😀
Thanks for helping there Tom!! Typical mahout 🙂
This new pipe is so important to the elephants and their mahouts in this village and it is great to see that Starfish are the ones who can achieve a new, working system in just a few weeks. So to pay homage to the hard work done by our volunteers I decided that we needed to make some sort of sign to show the names of the hardworking individuals who had completed it.
+10 resourceful points for Wendy
So I found a plank of wood, some paint and fashioned a paint brush from a piece of sugarcane and some banana leaves and set to painting it and covering it with the names of our volunteers. Thankfully Worn turned up with a small headed paintbrush so painting the Starfish logo and the names of the volunteers was much easier than it was to paint with the sugarcane banana leaf contraption 😀
Just needs a few more names and some finishing touches and then it will be done 😀
Here is our snazzy sign 😀 It isn’t finished just yet but it is looking pretty awesome I think. Hopefully baby elephant won’t try her own hand and painting on it though!!! I know elephants can paint but she doesn’t even remember she has a trunk sometimes!!
She loves having her belly tickled 😀
Talking of baby, I may as well do an update on how she is doing!! She is such a bundle of naughty energy at the moment and all she wants to do is play, much to the behest of Pailin. There have been several times we have all heard Pailin roaring at Katin to come back, even resorting to hold onto her tail to stop her from chasing after chickens! It always reminds me if the Jungle Book 😀
She loves to play with peoples feet for some reason!
She is also big enough to go down to the river now, and goes down with Pailin a few times a week to get used to the river and the trek down there. It amazes me just how far she can walk without getting tired or bored; Mr Lee kidnapped Cas for around three hours one day to take Pailin and Katin out for a walk! Katin can’t swim just yet as she isn’t quite big enough yet but she is certainly enjoying rolling around in the shallower sections of the river and splashing mud everywhere as she does it as well. The elephants might leave the river clean but me and the volunteers certainly don’t 😀
Pailin looking very pleased that Katin is getting better at swimming 🙂
If you would like the opportunity to teach Katin how to swim or to spend time with any of our beautiful elephants then you need to head over to the Starfish Website and sign yourself up. And whilst you wait for your project date to come around you can keep up with all of our Starfish goings on on the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page and the Starfish Tumblr page as well.
You can see more of what I am doing on my Twitter and Tumblr as well as my Instagram which can be found by clicking the blue button below. These are all really great places to contact me if you have any questions about any of our projects as well 😀
Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto
Found this funky millipede whilst we were digging, look at his crazy legs!