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Published: February 21st 2020
I forgot the elephants ! How could that have happened ??
Two days ago we were staying near one of the National Parks . This one is refuge for wild elephants . There are between 7-10,000 of them . During the day they are quite placid but at night they roam . The highway leading to the park is closed at night because it is considered to dangerous . You can no longer build houses in the area around the park and those who have them sleep in tree houses. Actually they are just platforms . Each year there are a human deaths , I think the number was @150 , caused by the elephants and double that number for the elephants. They are protected and the deaths are in defence, old age or illness .
Our safari found three different herds .Udi says the groups usually range in size from 3-12. It was quite fascinating to watch them .They snuffle and shuffle about eating what ever is available . If they are bored with the higher growing things they paw at the ground cover to expose enough of the root to grab and pull out ...and eat that . It was bewildering to see them grab anything and then just swing their trunk back and forth many times before putting it in their mouths . It turns out they were shaking out the dirt and dust .
The last group we saw was at least 12 of many ages and sizes . There was a very little guy who stayed very close to his mother , practically under her a times . At one point it was time for nursing and mom and baby were protected by two of the other elephants .They formed a sort of triangle with the babe in the middle . I was impressed .
Last night we stayed at the Tamarind Farm homestay . It is at a higher altitude so not so hot and small villages that are basically farming communities. There is a dolomite mine in this area as well . We had a lovely time . They served us lunch when we arrived. .rice and curry as always with a chicken meatball curry . Gadventures Plantera funds an organic vegetable garden there and the curries , potatoes , pumpkin , bean and cabbage were from the garden . They then showed us around the village where the women are becoming entrepreneurs .Making jewelry , upcycleing rice bags into grocery bags featuring a painting , and making incense. The owners of the farm /guesthouse employ @ 30 people in the kitchen , doing laundry , helping g with the dairy cows (12 of them) and working the garden . They also bicycle unused paper in student notebooks to create new booklets . He is also a science teacher teaching basic household skills , wiring lamps , fixing plumbing ...They are in the process of building a community centres where they have already started a library , and it will house a skills training center . I really liked them and the work they do . They are both Sinhalese who lived and worked in London for 17 years before returning to build their dream .They bought the land in 2003 but had 5o continue working until 2010before they could start building. The guest house is actually 4 houses each with two rooms for 2-4 people . They are basic with electricity , cold water , a fan and a mosquito net around the bed . The verandah of each u it was the gathering place to visit .
In the evening a few of us helped to prepare supper . I peeled potatoes for the curry and then made STRING HOPPERS . Hoppers are made with a dough made of rice flour . I used a hand press to create the string (Sinhalese pasta ).Which I pressed one to a bamboo form . That was steamed and then peeled off the form and place on a serving dish . One puts their curry on it . It was so quite satisfying .
In the evening we played traditional games and laughed a lot.
It was lovely to have a cool night for sleeping . It rained most of the night and that has continued off and on all day . Today was another travel day with a visit to a tea factory . We are currently @2000 meters above sea level and it has been nice to wear a sweater and long pants . We,'ll return to heat tomorrow but this is a respite.
Hope all is well . Keep in touch .
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