What a place it is, so diverse, rolling hills, lakes, streams and lush vegetation, an elephant dream!
We started unpacking, and settled fast, even our cat Oz who never had stairs love it the place! She was a Queen in the house.
But back to work than… what to do first? Work on the land? Work to raise money?
Aahhhh, so many things to do!
We started building the perimeter fence for Phase 1: 7 hectares or almost 1200 meters of poles.
As we did not have much money and materials at the start, everything had to be done manually.
We had our first group of volunteers over in July 2016! 22 people, man, woman and kids! They worked in the morning and after lunch, they could take the day off. They started with the first chestnut pole for the perimeter fence!
They had put in 100 poles and attach the wire to it, good for 300 meter fence!! Wow… we were so happy.
More and more volunteers came over to work on the land: replanting trees, clearing space for the perimeter fence, etc.!
Family came over, neighbours to, etc., what a nice area!
In September we had our first long stay volunteer: Joss. What a guy, loved to be outside and doing heavy work… so he was at the right address. Joss has just ended his contract at the zoo in Beauval as internship.
So we could concentrate more to the end of November… a big meeting with the veterinary service (“service vétérinaire” locally).
This department has to give us the most important permit and that is to receive the first elephants, and we all knew it was going to be difficult
November soon came and we were in Limoges, in front of 20 people.
Many questions were fired to us, maybe 1 or 2 about elephants and all the other ones about the finances…
How were going to pay for all of that? Who were our sponsors? Etc. They could not believe that we received donations and sponsoring.
So after 4 hrs, we left the meeting room very tired and wondering how we were going to convince them.
To be continued…