As we watch Pocha navigate her journey here at sanctuary, it is becoming clear that she may have a longer road to healing than her daughter. Both she and Guillermina have to learn who they are as individuals and, for Pocha, that means making decisions on her own, without her daughter’s influence. It’s obvious that for a number of years, Guillermina’s dominant personality came first in their relationship. When they initially arrived here, Pocha would look to Guille when it was time to make a decision; Guille would also guide or corral her mother to the areas Guillermina wanted to go. Both seemed to know that Pocha wasn’t the primary decision maker in the relationship.
We are just beginning to see small changes in Pocha’s outlook and choices. For over a decade, Guillermina has been reactionary in both good and not-so-good ways. Even in the most positive of situations, you can occasionally see Pocha brace herself when Guille has a big reaction, as though she didn’t know what was to come. Guillermina’s energy may overwhelm her at times, causing Pocha to almost expect a negative reaction from Guille, even when the situation calls for something else. These days she seems less watchful of Guille when Guille gets excited. She seems to know that there are other elephants who can help absorb all of the energy that was once directed her way.
One of the most positive things about sanctuary is the ability to make choices. We see Pocha and Guillermina together often. But we also see them in different configurations, with different elephants each day. That means that Pocha is able to soak up new energies and experience new sets of boundaries – ones that she decides for herself. If Pocha isn’t in the mood for Guillermina’s spirited antics, she can walk away – something she never had the opportunity to do in Mendoza. This could result in more time spent on her own, delving into exactly who Pocha is. The more time she takes for herself, the more progress we hope to see her make.
Photo of Pocha
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Pam saysAugust 11, 2022 at 2:16 pm
It fills my heart to know that Pocha finally has the space and time to discover who she is as an individual, and to read of the small steps she is taking in that direction — literally and figuratively. Thank you, ESB, for making this possible!
Beji saysAugust 11, 2022 at 2:34 pm
Pretty girl, one day at a time
Cintia Abney saysAugust 11, 2022 at 2:42 pm
Pocha was hostage of the physical and psychological fate she was immersed in.. No way out.. Until now ❤️ She will catch up, I am confident ❤️❤️ In search of Lost Tome..
Katherine saysAugust 11, 2022 at 3:06 pm
Love Pocha – here’s to her growing independence!
JR Jenkins saysAugust 11, 2022 at 3:10 pm
The amazing thing about GSE is the incredible nuance you bring to this – almost impossible – situation. The patience, love and unconditional support you bring to these gentle, but deeply wounded beings is a constant inspiration to me. Bless you all.
And bless you Pocha – every overwhelmed single parent knows this “who am I” challenge. You are not alone!!! And bless those amazing Aunties who are helping this pair find a larger truth about themselves.
Sara saysAugust 11, 2022 at 3:12 pm
Thank you for expressing that. But the hard work is Pocha’s to do. <3
JoAnn Merriman-Eaton saysAugust 11, 2022 at 3:50 pm
Such a complicated relationship that developed from this mother and daughter being isolated together for over 20 years. I am confident subservience of Pocha to Guille will become less as she begins to explore and expand relationships with her sisters. I think it is important that we do not expect too much change too soon, as Guille and Pocha are bonded in a different way than other rescued elephants have been.
Julie saysAugust 11, 2022 at 4:14 pm
Oh, beautiful sanctuary! Pocha you have my heart. Love you, dear girl!
Charlotte Hansen saysAugust 11, 2022 at 4:15 pm
This makes me so happy for Mama Pocha! She finally gets some help with that daughter of hers and can have some time to herself. At the same time, Guille is learning some manners. And they both have some new friends! It looks like a win-win-win!
Susan saysAugust 11, 2022 at 4:48 pm
Was Pocha living at the previous enclosure for many years before she had Guille? The fact that she was able to bring up a daughter on her own in that environment is a testament to her incredible strength and fortitude. I have the utmost admiration for all these ladies and their seemingly ‘never give up’ attitudes. I have drawn so much inspiration from them when facing my own challenges. They have incredible grace. Thank you for sharing your observations and allowing us to travel along on this journey. Love and hugs to all. ❤️🐘❤️
Sara saysAugust 11, 2022 at 4:54 pm
Pocha lived at the Mendoza ecoparque for over 20 years before Guillermina was born. Her strength over the course of her life is inspiring.
Debbie Sides saysAugust 11, 2022 at 7:31 pm
It’s wonderful that Pocha can get a break from Guille. She’s an amazing mother but now she can lean on “nannies” or aunties to lighten her load.
Terry saysAugust 11, 2022 at 11:33 pm
I’m rooting for Pocha! I adore her love and compassion. Her wisdom to walk away is heart warming and so healthy for her!❤
Carmen Dalziel saysAugust 12, 2022 at 8:29 am
I feel for Pocha. Many thought Guille would be the troubled one but it’s dear ole Mom Pocha with the psychological damage. I’m going to pray daily for her mental stability to heal and renew. Mom needs a whole lotta love and encouragement to explore her own world. Praying for strength and wisdom for you all as you grow and learn from her also. 💕💕💕🙏
Diane saysAugust 12, 2022 at 12:01 pm
Thats so wounderful she needs to be an elephant not a 24/7 mom so happy she is getting the true freedom she needs
Nancy saysAugust 12, 2022 at 12:14 pm
Reminds me of a traumatized prisoner of War. Need a long time to adjust to freedom but never really rid of the past either. Cheering for Pocha…and Guille !!
SHEILA saysAugust 12, 2022 at 3:20 pm
YES. DEAR SWEET POCHA. HAS HAD A TOUGH TIME FOR 22 YRS RAISING GUILLIE IN THAT CAVE PIT. IT WAS I HUMANE. GUILLE GOT DOMINANT AND WE CAN SEE SHE IS LEARNING TO LIGHTENIP AND WILLING TO BE COACHED BY THE OTHER LADIES. I SAW AWHILE AGO WHERE GUILLE PREVENTED PICHA FROM GETTING MUDDY, HOWEVER. NOT NOW. THE GROWING IN FREEDOM, HAPPINESS AND LIVE IF THE OTHER LADIES WILL HELP BOTH OF THEM TO HEAL.. THEY R AMAZING AND THEY HAVE YRS IF CHANGE OWED TO THEM. 🙏💖 GOD BLESS GES BRAZIL😍🙏
Carey saysAugust 12, 2022 at 3:25 pm
Love Pocha, and she’s such a beautiful looking elephant. What captivity and deprivation does… very sad. She does have a long journey ahead, but knowing the journeys of others as we do she will certainly get there in time.
Rachel saysAugust 12, 2022 at 8:35 pm
One of my all time favorite posts. I was too busy to comment on this when I first read it but it resonated with me so much I had to save this post until I was able to join in on the conversation.
Just thinking of the freedom to walk away from something that you don’t want to be a part of is, well…immensely relatable. Pocha wasn’t only a prisoner to the walls surrounding her, but a prisoner who had to deal with an energetic, bored daughter being held in a tiny, concrete cell. Guille knew of nothing else but to release her energy in not always the most positive of ways. Mama Pocha did her best to help Guille cope with the frustration of it all. Who could blame them for doing what they had to do to survive in such soul-depleting conditions? My heart is filled with hope and deep joy for Mama Pocha as she begins a new journey for herself – when she needs it, how she needs it – and the relief she must feel to not only watch Guille enjoying a freedom she never knew, but to have the support of the other eles in teaching / raising the “youngster.” It’s a journey of self-discovery for the both of them that I can’t get enough of. Love them all. 💝
Sara saysAugust 12, 2022 at 8:53 pm
Thanks for those thoughtful words. ❤️
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