My Dear Gentle Reader,
Yes, I wrote something called the 2nd year, but it’s Christmas and I’m remembering the Christmas letters that my family used to send out with all the news. I was not as appreciative of them as perhaps I could have been. Anyway, they inspired me to write this and share with you a few photographs that you may not have seen.
|Do you know this was taken?|
I have spent the entire year as a long term volunteer with Save Elephant Foundation (formerly called Elephant Nature Foundation). I have learned more about me and about positive relationships than I thought possible. I have adopted the founder, Sangduen “Lek” Chialert as one of my spiritual teachers and I think she is doing a fabulous job! There is no formal lessons given or anything like that. People come into the picture and do what they do. I simply observe how Lek reacts. She always takes the high road. To say I have received Abundant Blessings would be a gross understatement.
|Lek inspecting the flood situation|
I am in a loving supportive relationship with my partner Maliwan. For two years this woman has put up with me. We actually met on American Thanksgiving Day 2009. The last day of this year will be spent with her parents discussing wedding plans.
|Maliwan and her son Gun|
In late January – early February we went on a whirlwind trip that took us to Laos and then to several parts of Thailand. You can go back and read some of the posts if you missed them. We had a wonderful time.
|On the boat to Luang Prabong|
In late July – early August I went back to the States for a brief visit. I had the pleasure of going to Lego land with my 5 year old grandson and his mom and dad, spending a bit of time with my California relatives and then a couple days with my niece Kate and her family in Colorado.
|Andy at Lego Land|
|Kate & the tribe at Rocky Mountain National Park|
The first of October we moved to Chiang Mai. The pace has quickened. This city has a lot going on and I am within a comfortable walking distance of the SEF office. The proximity has allowed me the opportunity to get more involved. Because I was in Chiang Mai at the right moment I had the opportunity to go with the SEF people when they rescued Pang Pornsawan. I swear that elephant and I immediately ‘clicked’. She teaches me patience, tolerance and most of all compassion. Maybe one day I’ll write a whole short story or something about our relationship. Today, the story is a long way from being finished.
|A recent visit with Pang Pornsawan|
I had the opportunity to spend a day on the truck rescuing and feeding dogs in Bangkok. I am awe struck by the dedication of the volunteers, the acceptance and serenity of the people effected by this travesty.
|Safe and on their way to a better life!|
|Stranded on a roof, we can only feed this one. He's in a panic|
My Art Sale Event to help Pang Pornsawan has also taught me a few valuable lessons. Timing is everything and the event was trumped by the floods in Bangkok. It’s hard to ask the world to help one elephant when there are thousands of people and their animals trying to survive in a huge flood zone!
|Flood Dogs Reality!|
We moved the date of Pang Pornsawan's Art Sale Event to the 21st of January and expect a good turnout and are still accepting art work. You can read all about it, and even help by going to the website.
|The Chiang Mai Poster for the Pang Porsawan Art Sale Event|
The last two months of the year has been spent largely with what I am calling the “Mubu Products Project”. At the moment that includes two finished books, both authored by Peter Alexander with illustrations by Sergio Paulo. This is a great project for me because the books contain marvelous examples for children all over the world. They are based on the childhood of Sangduen “Lek” Chailert. Check out the website at www.mubustoriescom We also have a Facebook Page, please go and like The Mubu Book Series - "The Little Girl Who Made a Big Difference".
|Magazine Ad, not the version that was chosen|
Last night Maliwan and I were guests at the annual Elephant Nature Park Christmas Party. It was fabulous. Different groups put on different ‘shows’. My two favorites were the mahouts doing a traditional bamboo stick dance, and Darricks family serenading Lek and Darrick with their own re-writes of the 12 days of Christmas. 12 ele’s, 11 pachyderms, 10 thousand acres, 9 dog cages, 8 buffalo…… and a moon bear in a tree.
|Christmas is Love!|
I hope your Christmas Holidays are everything you wished and that your new year brings you everything you so richly deserve.