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.