From Our Lovely Neighbor (Part of Our Incredible Community)


Living in rural Brazil is not without challenges, but it’s also not without blessings.

We are part of an incredible community here. When you are so far from everything (stores, restaurants, paved roads), you often have to turn to your neighbors for assistance. It works both ways, and we are so fortunate. We regularly help out our neighbors, and they regularly help out us too.

Everybody around here works together when a need arises. When we first arrived, we were two foreigners (who didn’t speak the language well) buying a considerable tract of land for elephants. We were an enigma, yet the local community immediately accepted us in a way that makes us eternally grateful. Now we seem less weird to them – there is a mix of native English speakers and Brazilians on our team, and our Portuguese has improved substantially. From the beginning, though, our community accepted us in a way that we never expected.

One of our lovely neighbors reached out to us a few weeks ago. She knew our elephants liked fruit, and she had a little bit of extra produce in her garden – it was more than her family could eat. She wanted to know if we could take it and feed it to the elephants for her. We were delighted to accept her donation of 20 (!!) watermelons.

It was such a sweet gesture. It’s touching to know how much our community supports us and believes in us. It’s beautiful to see how, in a community that doesn’t have much to give, they can still always find something to give.

The elephants have been enjoying these beautiful, fresh, local watermelons just as much as we have enjoyed what they represent.

March 2, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Barb says

    What a lovely and thoughtful gift from your neighbors ! A blessing for all at ESB especially the lovely Maia, Rana, Lady, and soon to be joined by the cutie Mara.

  2. REPLY
    Julie says

    That’s so nice to hear! It really takes a community to pull off something like what you all are doing, caring for these precious elephants who never had a break before. And you know you’re on the right track when things start falling in your lap. So happy for you!

  3. REPLY
    SHEILA says

    god bless ?ur lovely neighbour‼️thank u neighbour for the lovely watermellons for. lady!?rana! ?and maia? oh ill bet the ladies sure need a lovely treat !! ?

  4. REPLY
    Patricia says

    That is so lovely! I’m sure the girls are delighted. Humans at their best around there. ???

  5. REPLY
    Nishant Bhajaria says

    In an imperfect world, these gestures of kindness are everything!

  6. REPLY
    Sallie Robbins-Druian says

    Thank you for sharing this lovely recollection of the friendship you and your neighbors shared! Nothing like melons to make elephants happy and feel at home!

  7. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    If only all communities could live in this way. It reminds me of the stories of village life that my grandparents grew up in in the UK so many decades ago. This demonstrates to all how humans and animals can benefit from kindness and compassion………and, also, how animals can bring out the best in us. What a wonderful world this could be!

  8. REPLY
    carey says

    How very kind of them, and they look yummy. They sound like a great community. Maybe they would like some elephant dung compost in exchange? I had been meaning to ask you to tell us your own journeys, we know all about the girls, the indigenous animals that live with you, and other stuff besides, but little about how you have experienced your pwn journeys?

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