Why you should Patron-ize an elephant this Christmas!

Elephants at Patron this Christmas!
Elephants at Patron this Christmas!

There is something very special happening at Eliza Wierwight’s fabulous store PATRON this Christmas.  Some more, I mean, than Eliza setting out her gorgeous Christmas trees, objets d’art and decorations (and champagne for the thirsty shopper).

This year there will be elephants too.

Get your elepphantine Christmas topiary at Patron!
Get your elepphantine Christmas topiary at Patron!

This year Eliza will be the offical contract to act on behalf of the Save the Elephant Foundation in Second Life.  To raise money for the Foundation, Eliza is  releasing at PATRON the cutest Christmas Tree Topiary in the form of a baby Elephant (the design was approved by SEF). The aim of the fundraising is to sponsor 35 Elephants at the Elephant Nature Park … well, actually 34, as Eliza and her son are sponsoring the first elephant themselves! When YOU buy it 100% proceeds will be going to “SaveElephantFoundation Resident”  (driven by Eliza for now) and as each Elephant is sponsored in totality she will be making announcements via my Group and Subscribers – and we’ll report them here too!

I have long known Eliza loves elephants. When she designed our beautiful pavilion for the Second Life Christmas Expo in 2011, there were elephants on the roof of our dacha-style build. Neither of us were entuirely sure why – “They just felt right,” Eliza said to me – and I had to agree.

Prim Perfect at the Christmas Expo - designed and photographedby Eliza Wierwright
Prim Perfect Pavilion at the Christmas Expo 2011, created by Eliza Wierwight. With elephants.

So why did she decide to get involved in this charity?

Let Eliza take up the story …

Every year in so many ways Second Life citizens as  Community share so many wonderful opportunities to support brilliant Charitable Organizations out there making significant positive impacts in people’s lives. I’ve had the privilege more times than I can recount  via my Avatar Eliza Wierwight and  my business  PATRON to support  so many over the years.

Now I digress momentarily, an -almost- elephants tale. By Eliza.

Recently,  my son and I debated watching a movie together. Due to the hours I spend working in front of a screen about the last thing I really want to do for recreation is sit in front of another one (though to be honest I love my work and in some genuine  ways it has aspects of recreation about it). However, as we’ve just relocated far across Australia and he was missing his usual social circle I agreed providing we could both find something we’d  equally enjoy. He was more than content with the prospect,  so we cruised something to download and settled on “How I Became an Elephant”. He really likes Elephants, I like documentaries, win/win.

What I was unaware of when I sat next to my son that day was that I was  about to get a sincere education dispelling all the romantic myths I had in my head about experiences with Elephants over my lifetime. I discovered a group of insightful people and a plight that so got under my skin I was unable to chalk it up  to merely ‘interesting and informative’ then  move on with my life. If you’ve seen this documentary already then perhaps what I’m sharing has already resonated to  you. If you haven’t may I please recommend it.

[Huge respect  to Juliette West – I never initiated something so profound at her tender age, incredible young woman. and all those at  Rattle the Cage Productions]

A few days straggled past, life is always busy but I just couldn’t get these Elephants out of my head. Having coffee at day break, waiting for the caffeine to shake hands with my brain cells, reading emails and I find myself in Google looking for a more direct source information regarding the Elephant Sanctuary I’d viewed earlier in the week.

I settled on “Save the Elephant Organisation/Foundation”  having cross referenced facts I had retained from the earlier viewing. My son wakes  up, blunders  out to our family room still half asleep,  an incredible sunrise has developed at this point into  an exquisite day, I’m  still cruising the SEF website store. So I greet my son and ask him,  “Hey darling, good morning, want to buy lunch for some elephants today ?”  He smiles (probably thinks here she goes again, he likes my eccentricities though,  bless him), a little Paypal interaction on both our behalf’s  and it was a done deal. We had a brilliant day after that, it felt so grass roots proactive, I felt good. I usually feel good, this was a different kind of good, this was satisfying. I didn’t part with a kings ransom to do this and after all it’s just a a single meal for each of the two elephants we committed to,  but as I said,  it felt good, it felt honest, it felt practical.

I am not going to wax lyrical about the people involved in this Organization, they already have my hugest respect. While I sit fairly comfortable in my home they are out there putting everything on the line to save and rehabilitate these incredible creatures. If you do nothing else after reading this then I implore you to at least take the 5 mins and 22 seconds to acquaint yourself with Sangduan “Lek” Chailert. This woman and her work is nothing short of a masterpiece.

[Biography for her presentation to US congress in 2010]

To continue, I came across a significant life challenge recently (don’t we all), one of those kinds where you have to decide whether to engage in a toxic situation and feed into the insanity or have the wisdom to  gracefully as possible move forward. I decided on the wise approach  but it left me with this intense emotive energy that genuinely required direction. Why not direct the adrenaline of something negative which I had at best the only control over  to remove myself from and turn it into a genuine  positive, then the Elephant’s plight returned to me……

Dr Jane Goodall endorses “How I Became and Elephant” (warning disturbing content included)

Sat back, mused a few ideas then emailed  Save The Elephant Organization with the proposal that  I would like to  engage the Second Life Community via my Business to sponsor all 35 Elephants at the Elephant Nature Park (and perhaps Surin as well  down the line). now  I’ve never directly wrangled a new Charitable Organization from the ground up in Second LIfe & it took a few weeks of emails going back and forth explaining my passion  & respect for their endeavors, my goals and the  real stretch which is having people feel comfortable that this would all take place in the context of the ‘gaming Industry’.  Okay Second Life is special,  we already know this, it’s not atypical ‘gaming’ but there has to be a tangible point of reference in these matters. It was also important to me that they understood that my actions on their behalf would  combine two main factors, that I’d be a good Ambassador for their work as well as provide an accountable and  completely transparent progression of funds raised.

Still with me ? Officially as of today, and with much pride,  I have an official  contract to act on behalf of SEF in Second Life  and I couldn’t feel more privileged to have earned  their trust in this matter. In the next 24 hours I’ll be releasing at PATRON the cutest Christmas Tree Topiary in the form of a baby Elephant ( the design was approved by SEF). When YOU buy it 100% proceeds will be going to “SaveElephantFoundation Resident”  (driven by me for now) and as each Elephant is sponsored in totality I’ll be making announcements via my Group and Subscribers.

If there is any question to whether I put my money where my mouth is, my son and I are sponsoring outright the first of the 35 her name is Mae Bua Loy.

Meet MaeBuaLoy
Meet MaeBuaLoy

Born in 1965m=, her name means ‘Floating Lotus’ and she was rescued from the Surin province in 2008. Mae Bua Loy’s first job was in illegal logging. Her back right leg was broken during this time, and since she was unable to do heavy labor, she was used for street-begging. Sadly, she was used in a ‘breeding program’, and at one point was kept chained continuously for 3 months and forcibly mounted 29 times. She didn’t become pregnant, so her owner decided to get rid of her. At the park, she’s found a best friend in Mae Boon Ma.

Save the Elephant Foundation
http://www.saveelephant.org
Save the Elephant Foundation is a Thai non–profit organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephant population through a multifaceted approach involving local community outreach, rescue and rehabilitation programs, and educational ecotourism operations. You can learn more about it on the website – and at PATRON.

Elephants enjoying the Patron Fountains!
Elephants enjoying the Patron Fountains!

 

2 comments

  1. Oh Saffia I am so grateful that you took the time to highlight this story. It’s just so important to me that this venture is both a success in increasing awareness of the work of Save the Elephant Foundation as well as raising the funds to sponsor the 35 at Elephant Nature Park.

    I’ve yet to log in to see the current status of the Fundraising today, however I can happily report that in under 24 hours we had three of ‘our’ elephants sponsored yesterday. One of which was by another Second Life Community member (who refuses to let me name her) outright, the full amount. It’s not a huge amount of money in our goal, it’s roughly USD $110 per elephant, that however is a huge amount of sales in the currency we use in Second Life. I am floored by the generosity of the Community on this one, also the stories forthcoming, some tearful in their new awareness, others sharing their own experiences with elephants over their lifetimes, others in retail asking what they can do to assist. Friends like you who have unsolicited come forth and offered to get the word out there [and done a remarkable job of editing the borks in my original text – laughs- thank you Saffia].

    I know that not everyone celebrates Christmas, though you know that feeling which I am sure every culture has an authentic resonance to, a sort of optimism about the World and it’s people laced with genuine happiness ? I’ve felt it daydreaming in the sun, sitting on the decks of boats listening to music, I’ve felt it when a parent said they were proud, I’ve felt it playing in sand as a child, I’ve felt it watching my son laughing to the point I’ve had to remind him to breath and I’ve felt it because of the strength of the Second Life Community rallying to support Save the Elephant Foundation. In fact I’m feeling it right now & though I’ve shed genuine tears for the plights of elephants in recent weeks I feel certain now that things will continue to change. Not sure why I’m ranting, Baby Elephant Navann says it so much better with his body language that I do with mere words.

    PS Forgot about the Dacha style build for Christmas expo, mmhmmn more elephants [laughs] YAY for more elephants, each and every time.

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