Tuesday, June 21, 2011


As I had mentioned before, I had been assigned an elephant on my first day at MEF. Poojah, a 25 yr old female elephant is probably the naughtiest elephant here. And I use naughty in the nice way here, meaning mischievous or even bordering on playful.Over the past week I have worked closely with Poojah and found out several interesting facts about her. She has a crooked tail( which she inherited from her father) and was the first elephant born in captivity in Sri Lanka. Her mother, Lakshmi also works at MEF is one of the favorite elephants to ride for the tourists. Poojah, though well trained loves to have fun with the volunteers here by splashing water on them. I experienced this first hand and walked around drenched for the next 2 hours. She also loves bobbing her head, almost as if she is listening to music. Apparently, elephants do this to release excess energy( that could be a new great fitness mantra?)
Her mahout Ratna is a nice man. I got irritated with him quite a few times because just as I would scrub one part of Poojah, he would come and scrub again as if my effort was useless(may be it was) but I found out later that he does this with all the volunteers. At the end of the volunteer program, each volunteer gets an elephant ride and shower for free. I really cant wait for my ride and elephant shower(though I've already experienced my elephant shower unofficially!)
By the end of this week I would have to move on from Pinnawala and start the last leg of my trip in Trincomalee where I will spend three days before heading back to Colombo. I do wish to go to Anuradhapura( the ancient capital of Sri Lanka) but it remains to be seen on how things go in Trincomalee.
Keep following my blog to catch the rest of this Sri Lankan sojourn!

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