“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”

Lessons from the Laborers

I have been having a blast with my fellow laborers with whom I muck out the elephant closures every morning.  Although most of them haven’t had the luxury of higher education, and several of them are often a little bit cheeky,  they are always quick to pass on some wisdom behind mucking-out, which I have found can actually apply to life!  Here are a few lessons that I’ve learned…

1.  As long as you have a strong foundation, everything can and will stay together — no matter how much sh*t you pile up!

This is in reference to the tractor in which we pile the old brush and all of the poo into.  Once we get a good pile going, with all of the bundles of brush and sticks facing the same direction, they vertically place thicker chunks of wood in the sides of the tractor.  This way, we can continue to stack high, without everything falling out when the tractor gets moving.  So feel free to pile high, my friends — just so long as you have a solid base, and good, strong support!

2.  Always forward, never backward.

The life lesson here is pretty clear:  Always, only move forward.  There is no need to go backwards, because that is all said and done and beyond your fixin’ or changin’.  This also refers to the sweeping at the end of us gathering brush and shoveling poo.  I started out sweeping just about anything, in whichever direction I pleased.  One day, they finally pointed me in the right direction, which was the obvious finish line, the other end of the closure that we had been working towards.

3.  Be alert.

You never know when a baby elephant is going to come charging behind you!  So always be alert and aware and maybe even a little bit weary of your surroundings, before something adorable knocks you down.

4.  When the sh*t starts flying, keep your mouth shut!

The metaphor here is obvious:  When things start going awry, with others, in relationships, in the world… best to keep your mouth shut and let it sort itself out before you start spouting off things that you may live to regret.  I learned this lesson the hard way when I was tossing up a bundle of brush into the tractor, and some dried poo bounced back and hit me in the face, my mouth gaping.  Everyone got a good laugh.  Oh, everyone except me.  Now I keep my mouth shut.

5.  Life is like a pile of elephant poo:  you just never know what you’re going to get.

That’s that famous saying from that movie, right?  Maybe I’m a little off, but we all know this lesson anyways.  I have found a few elephant hairs amongst our poo shoveling, which are meant to be really good luck! Since then, I’ve found about Rs. 210 just lying about (granted that’s less than $2 USD, but…), I have been running into the nicest, most fabulous people… You just never know what you’re going to get!

I have about a week and a half left with these guys, so I am sure I have many more lessons coming my way.  I’ll be sure to pass on the wisdom!




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