|Rich Edwards (center) and Olivia Daniels (right) dress in traditional clothing|
Olivia Daniel is no stranger to the village of Ban Talae Nok: she was a volunteer for three months in Ban Talae Nok before the tsunami. After the disaster, Olivia’s care for the villagers led her to volunteer with NATR (the NGO that would eventually become Andaman Discoveries). When she and her friend Rich Edwards decided to travel in Thailand for two weeks this year, there was no doubt in their minds where they would spend the bulk of their time.
“I am so pleased I chose to do a homestay for five days of our two-week holiday. [It was] an amazing combination of beautiful scenery and friendly people. When activities could not go as planned, alternatives were always found,” said Olivia. Olivia particularly enjoyed her homecoming at WARF, where a monkey has been named after her.
|Olivia’s simian namesake.|
This homestay also turned out to be very interesting for Rich, who works is a forester in England. During a hike he took advantage of the opportunity to discuss agricultural methods with local guide Bang Reed. Rich was particularly impressed with the diversity of the plant species the rainforest, contrasting the variety here to those in England. There is a much greater diversity in plant, as compared to the five or six usually found in a forest in England. Rich also had a chance to explore Bang Reed’s rubber plantation, which unlike many of its kind is grows in harmony with other plant life. “Bang Reed was very knowledgeable about the forests and it was really interesting to see his rubber plantation. It wasn’t like the evil views we see in the media back home.”
We look forward to seeing Olivia and Rich back here again soon!