So as some of you may know, there was a slight issue with my 2 week reservation volunteering at Elephant Nature Park. We are volunteering the week of the 12th and the week of the 19th. Sabine’s reservation went through for both weeks but mine only went through for the 2nd week. We called this morning to confirm the Monday morning van pickup to the ENP office. I explained again that my first week reservation seemed to be dropped, so they suggested that I volunteer the first week at Elephant Nature Park for dogs. That way I can still be on the premises yet have housing; there was no housing available for elephant volunteer. I agreed to go to the ENP office at 11 a.m. since it was too late to make an online reservation.
We decided to leave a little early and arrived at the ENP office at 10:30 a.m. Who should be in the office (which is like a little tropical office space loaded with office cat and dog rescues, the resident 4 leggeds) but Lek (founder of ENP) having her picture taken with stacks of boxes of donated clothes. We saw her and she immediately smiled and said ‘You back!’ We said yes, every 2 years has been our plan. She said how nice it was to see us and we tried to scoot aside so that she cold finish with her photo-op moment. 2 young local Thai volunteers at the registration desk offered to assist us and I proceeded to tell my story again and then agree to do the first week with the ENP dog volunteer
alternative. As we were talking, sweet, tiny little Lek comes up behind our chairs and puts her arms around us to say hello. She said how she is so glad to see us again. She asked if we were volunteering again and I explained my situation aaagggain – not to get any preferential treatment but just telling her that Sabine was doing 2 weeks with the elephants and i was doing first week with the dogs and 2nd week with the elephants. And she says…
‘Oh, no, no… you can do both weeks with elephants’. And I said how I was told it was full. But she said, ‘no, no, we make room for you.’ And then I said thank you but I know there is no more housing available. And she says, ‘I always have housing for you, especially when you keep coming back…’ I stared at her, then jumped off my chair and threw my arms around her, and, of course, started crying. I could not stop saying thank you…. and she smiled and kept hugging me back. I was overwhelmed at her gracious gesture. I would NEVER ask for preferential treatment and would gladly accept working with the ENP dogs.. although my preference is the elephants. But it was like everything aligned just right at that moment: getting there 30 minutes early, running into Lek at the office, Lek recognizing us and insisting that there is enough room for me at the park. And even further more, when the 2 young men were registering us, and we said we would pay the balance now (rather than the typical Monday morning during pre-park registering) we realized that the balance was less than what we owed. When we said this, they said, ‘no, Lek told us to give you a discount’. What??? I was just filled with emotion. So, to not offend and tell her that the discount
is unnecessary, we accepted her ‘gift’. And I will be making an online donation to the park in the near future.
We had a slightly bumpy time since the start of our trip, but now everything has fallen into place. I am beyond happy!!! Thank you, Lek… angel and my heroine.
Jumping into Thai time zone… 12 hours ahead of home. Feeling a little fuzzy and happy.