29.01.2013 - 29.01.2013 35 °C
The 6.30 start this morning was a little easier as we both got to go to feed the giraffes rather than clean out the monkeys. Chelsea took Liam to meet Lung Noi the man in charge of the giraffes and we set about feeding them along with the zebras and ostrich that are also kept there overnight. The giraffes are beautiful (even with the drool) and the males are huge, they could easily step over the fence in their enclosure. They have two giant bowls, one for pellets, and one for greens but once you fill one of the giraffes bowls the giraffes at either side reach over with their long necks and tuck in as well. Once the feeding was over we hand fed them bananas with vitamins inside and then Lung Noi left us and we were able to admire them for a while before going back to help with the monkeys. They have decided that as Chelsea has started to build up a relationship with Lung Noi that she can do giraffes every morning and introduce a new person every day which she is ecstatic about as it is her favourite job.
We made it in time for the last half hour of the clean up then Liam left as he had the amazing role of walking the Tiger cubs from their overnight enclosure to the pen they spend the day in which the customers can pay to enter. Unbelievably this involves putting a lead on the cubs and running alongside them as they bound along. Every so often they need a little persuasion to carry on, so you carry a bag of chicken and dangle it in front of their nose. If that fails then they like to chase a stick. The male cub is very protective of his sister and will only walk forward if he can see her ahead, so if she stops, he stops. It takes quite a while.
Once the cubs were at their pen, Liam joined the rest of the group for breakfast and then we were set our morning tasks. Liam got to spend the whole morning with the cubs; and Chelsea had to photograph information for a volunteer guide. A morning with the cubs involves, feeding them mince chicken and milk, cleaning any mess and sitting in with them (trying all the time not to get bit because it really hurts) and being there to help tourists if they pay to sit in with them (making sure they do not get bit), as well as telling the idiotic tourists not to provoke the cubs. It’s a great job and they are fun to watch and to play with and feed. As it is right by the entrance we also get the chance to tell the few customers the park gets about the volunteer programme.
Chelsea had a busy morning with the camera, she had to photograph every aspect of being a volunteer, this included all the monkeys and leopards and cages, the food and seeds they eat and what if anything can be harmful to the monkeys. She enjoyed a slower paced morning.
After lunch Liam came back from the cubs and we both went off into the jungle by the zoo with Mike, another volunteer to find a tree for Trousers, the monkey in next cage that we are renovating. It took a while to find a tree that would be suitable, it had to be strong enough that he would not break it but we also had to be able to chop it down and carry it back. It was hard work cutting it down with a rusty saw and a machete but we managed it. At one point the tree was almost falling over so Chelsea gave it a push and it almost landed on Mike, but he just about scrambled away and was left covered in leaves. We carried it back and then we both went off to plan our English lesson for tonight before dinner time.
English class was meant to be in the village but the owner of the park wasn’t comfortable with us going down to the village as apparently some teenagers tried to thieve our bike wheel last time (we were too busy to even notice) so the village came to us. We weren’t expecting many people because of this but loads turned up which was amazing. In Thailand they can fit like five people on a bike so we should have known. We decided to split the group in half, the more advanced in one and the beginners in another as their abilities vary so much. Some have very good skills and good vocabulary but some literally don’t know any words at all. Me and Liam took the beginners and taught them some conversational basics like, ‘my name is’ and ‘how are you?’. We then taught them some of the animals in the zoo and played some games to get them guessing and speaking. They like to get up and play and love it when you act over the top and they all laugh and giggle at you. We played a running game incorporating animals and snap and then played duck, duck goose (well we actually played Lion, Lion, Tiger) which went down a storm and they were laughing their heads off every time they picked the teacher to run. They are so cute and even the shy ones came out of their shell which was great. At the end we came together and sang some songs, Hokey kokey, If you’re happy and you know it and Heads shoulders knees and toes. The mahouts (elephant trainers) watched us playing and looked a little worried that their English class might be about holding hands and singing songs.
At the end all the children say in unison ‘Thank you teacher’ and it’s so cute. We love teaching the English school, it is one of our favourite jobs and can’t understand why so many of the volunteers shy away from it as it is so much fun and so rewarding. We can’t wait for our next class on Thursday.