Lynchee's under the gavel - Top Secret Mission Revealed
Before I get into my end of month totting up and my beginning of month paperwork; who deserves the sugarcane bonus this month? (they all do, pineapples too), mahout of the month? (difficult one), are you sure all this whisky was for the spirit house? etc. etc. In short, before I get down and finally do some work for my baht I thought I'd better drop you a line and explain my shady dealings of the last few months.
On the 27th of June, in the presence of Royalty, both British and Indian, Celebrity and some of the greater businessmen of our age, under bright lights in a far off country a scheme came to a head. You are aware that the charity Elephant Family held an Elephant Durbar, I told you that, but I held a little something back - first of all I didn't quite tell you the scale of the event, but some of you dug up web links and followed the media trail, the event was covered widely (at least in the Telegraph, The Daily News of India as well as on Elephant Family's own website).
But the second thing I held back, when I said that Anantara and Four Seasons had donated a lot, well that's true, but an elephant related holiday of a lifetime was only part of the lot. The second part of the prize was ownership and care taking of both Nong Lynchee and Pang Taweekhoon her mother, the highest bidder will not only own both mother and baby (and pay for Lung Eck their mahout - though I'm not sure they'll own him too, we're working on the wording of that contract) but will give us the chance to guarantee them both a future away from the streets and, most importantly, give us a chance to keep mother and baby together and fat until weaning age three, four or five years from now - and thence to the future.
So I told you at the time that I'd rented them to be part of a secret mission, you never dreamed I'd sell them (but to sell them will allow them to stay with us forever!). I don't know yet who the new owners are and when they can come to visit but the lot, holiday, ele-stars and all raised £50,000.
£50,000! But before you unbook your visits and cancel your subscriptions because John's hit the big time (and I might pay for and un-cork some champagne myself, but the mahouts will not be sporting top hat and tails from now on) the majority of that money will be kept in the UK to go to help e.f's projects elsewhere - but the asking price for mother and baby is guaranteed, plus fodder and the upkeep (if not ownership) of Uncle Eck.
There's still a lot of work to be done and when I told Amp the great news this morning she was excited until I said, well, this unties some of the monthly up-keep money so we can afford to help another baby, she quite rightly pointed out that we need to build elephant and mahout housing first.
So we'll allow ourselves a day of celebration and congratulate Mark, Edwina and the crew at Elephant Family (our little success was only a very small part of something much larger and more spectacular for e.f. and the ele world at large) and then it's back to work!
PS. Somehow, possibly working on my theory of updating website only when there's other more pressing work that really needs doing, Nikki at Elephant Family has added a Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (we really need a logo - any designers out there?) page to their website - including a direct donation route, and interview with me (yes, I know I talk too much).