Testimonial from Huay Pakoot Community
Having GVI in the village is a very positive step for Huay Pakoot as it provides an income and education for many people and the community are proud to have their elephants returning to the forest. Not only the elephant owners and mahouts benefit from the income but also the home stays and shop owners. We feel it is good that more families want to have home stays as we can all share the additional income and responsibilities of keeping volunteers happy and base hut maintained. The village is more organised with GVI as a part of it. The mahouts especially enjoy returning to live in the village as they make friends with the volunteers, compared to the camps where they meet people for a day or two at a time, here they can actually get to know one another and learn about other cultures. Visiting mahouts are inspired by the project and meeting volunteers that they also want the opportunity to bring their elephants back home to the forest.. Everyone in the village enjoys speaking ‘gola’ (English) with the volunteers; this is evident by many requests for English classes. The interaction between cultures is a learning experience for all. The volunteers also influence some villagers, opening their minds to the world of independence and travel. The aim of the community is to have the elephant numbers increase annually so more mahouts can return to their families and have happy elephants as more and more mahouts are realising the elephants are happier living naturally in the forest rather than doing tricks and giving rides in camps.
- Huay Pakoot Community