A few days ago we received the sad news that the elephant Noatomee was very sick. Soon after, she passed away.
The passing of an elephant is a major event for the family and the community to which belongs. It is very much like the death of a family member.
All the community is involved, everyone helps as they can.
Baan Unrak children were there too.
We all went in the jungle to assist Noatomee in her last journey…
Buddhist monks came from the nearby temple to perform the funeral rite.
Because of Covid, the elephants Noatomee and her daughter Noamujee had to return to the village in the jungle where their mahouts (keepers) live.
These gentle giants need lot of care. They cannot survive in the jungle by themselves anymore.
The family that owns her faced hardship to take care of the sick elephant.
The owner became sick with malaria for the time she spent in the jungle caring for Noatomee. They even brought a doctor from far Kanchanaburi to visit her.
They spent lot of money to give her the best food they could.
But she was too old, and it was time for her to go.
Noatomee died of kidney disease.
One of our Baan Unrak staff is also part of that family. With his little daughter, 5 years old, they went to buy watermelon, pineapple, and all the food that the elephant likes, and brought it to her deep inside the jungle.
Back in the past,
we went to visit Noatomee several times.
Our first encounter will remain unforgettable…
We quickly became friends
How good she was with our children…
How connected we felt with her…
Here, the last time that we met her and her daughter…
That day we brought a lot of sugar cane for our elephant friends. They loved it.
We shared the same breakfast!
Back to the present day,
as we received the sad news of the elephant’s pass away,
we ventured into the jungle one more time…
…this time, to say…
Our children helped to carry wood to the funeral pyre.
Then, we all sat in silence.