THE POWER OF TOUCH
To celebrate Tourism Month, the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency organised a 3-day blind friendly tour. Most of the delegates have been blind from birth and, prior to visiting Elephant Whispers, had no ‘picture’ in their minds of the sheer size and power, and the distinctive physical characteristics of the majestic African Elephant.
Before the group arrived, the staff at Elephant Whispers brainstormed ideas on how to use senses, other than sight, to assist blind guests to be able to ‘visualise’ an elephant. Andre likened the blind guests to blind elephant who can survive in the wild by making use of their other senses, and knew this was the key to creating their special elephant experience.
The visitors put their trust in Andre, the Elephant Handlers and the elephant, giving him their hands to take them on a complete ‘tactile tour’; from the elephant’s smooth tusks and the patterned ridges under their feet, to the wiry hair on their tails. The guests put their fingers on the throbbing pulse in the elephants’ ears, they felt their breath against their cheeks and leant into their bodies to smell their distinctive elephant odour. Through touch, the guests recognised that elephants’ trunks are unbelievably strong, and yet they can gently take an elephant cube from people’s fingers and caress their faces in a greeting. With an incredible look of amazement on their faces, the visitors used their hands to ‘paint’ an elephant image in their minds, their sense of feel to imprint the texture of the elephant’s skin, and opened their hearts to complete their unique elephant picture.
The Rotary Club organise an amazing annual camp where children with cancer are cared for by cancer survivors. Elephant Whispers eagerly anticipates their visit each year, the children’s enthusiasm, excitement and their bravery are most humbling.
I first heard about Camp Quality a few years ago when I was contacted by the White River Rotary Club. I thought it was a wonderful idea to have a camp for children with cancer, where these special kids can just be normal – boisterous and naughty. It is really great how these people from Rotary Clubs in the area give their time and their love to spoil these children for a week and to give the parents a small holiday. Helping people, especially children with cancer is a cause very close to my heart. I know how it feels to have this terrible disease and I thank God for people like you who put their hearts and souls into helping others.
I wish you all the best and hope to be able to join you in years to come with this amazing project.
God bless you.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
AT A GLANCE
Sandford Community Upliftment
Riebs Khoza Pre-School
Rindzani High School Assistance
Entokozweni Créche Donations
Disadvantaged School Visits
to Elephant Whispers
Hosanna Community Projects
Rotary Club Camp Quality Participation
Blind Friendly Elephant Education
Should you wish to assist Elephant Whipsers
in their Community Upliftment projects
please contact us for further information
and donation details.
FROM OUR GUEST BOOK
The experts say people with
Autism cannot connect or really
make contact with others.
I saw my 10 year old proving them
wrong with the elephant on July 22nd.
I thought I knew a lot about elephants,
but you taught me the really important
information about them today.
I never expected to have such emotional
feeling running around in my head just
through touching an elephant.
Thank you for an experience of a
lifetime. It was a privilege to meet our
fellow friends on the planet.
Long may they be protected by good
folk like you. Thank you
We are going to talk about this
experience for a long time to come.
THEA, CAPE TOWN