One of the things I was most looking forward to in Laos was Leo getting bored.
At home there is always something for our children to do particularly when the television and digital devices are such compelling and instant entertainment dispensers. The members of our family rarely spend hours on end with nothing to do.

However, here at the Elephant Conservation Center, there is electricity only between 6 and 10pm when the generator is switched on and we had previously not had access to any Wi-Fi or a mobile phone data connection. A perfect storm!

My fondest memories over Christmas this year were the hours we spent with friends and family playing games of many different varieties:

24-Hour Board Game Marathon – with games such as Catan, Tikal and Ice Cool

Family Games Evening in Cumbria – This was a game where you had to put an ‘After Eight Mint’ on your forehead and without using your hands slide it into your mouth!

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Four Generation Jigsawing – A visit to Leicester to see my Aunt and Grandma resulted in all of us actively helping finish Grandma’s current jigsaw in progress. (I had a lot of pride as our children were able to name many of the landmarks and their countries in this jigsaw).

We’ve continued to see out gaming opportunities here in Laos, with Uno, Hand Games, A Ball of Whacks and, unexpectedly, a 1000 piece jigsaw.

It has been a joy to watch Leo get bored. It has resulted in him:

  • encouraging visitors to the center to play games with him in the evenings
  • playing imaginative games with a stick
  • saying “yes” to opportunities to participate in activities to support the elephant work here (especially ones that require cutting things with a machete)
  • sitting for over an hour on the platforms observing elephants find the food he had hidden for them in the enrichment area
  • Observing the breeding program – Leo has become very knowledgeable about the different states of a bull elephant’s erection!
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