Through the coordination and support of many Oakhill parents and staff members, we were able to share the joy of the Knysna Elephant Park with the 74 learners from Rondevlei Primary School in Sedgefield. Accompanied by their inspiring Headmistress, Johanna Saayman, and the school’s support staff, the children rode on the Oakhill busses to the park on Friday, May 20th. Melanie and Greg Vogt, Oakhill parents, arranged free entrance to the park for the children, teachers, and our volunteers. Oakhill Mom’s donated beautiful cupcakes, hot dogs, easter eggs and drinks and Woolworths Knysna, once again, opened their hearts to helping the Rondevlei children with donations of Chuckles and other goody bag items.
The children arrived, many of them in Rondevlei tracksuits and several in “Warmed by Oakhill jackets” given to them by Oakhill. With them arrived amazing energy and excitement. As children of Knysna and its surrounding forests, it seems it should be a birth-right to have the spiritual, educational, and purely magical experience of having an elephant eat from your hand. If the magic of the forest elephants belongs to anyone, surely it is the children of Knysna. Many were giggling with excitement, a few were silent and nervous, but all left deeply impressed by their encounter – not just with the massive, beautiful elephants, but by the enormous love shown to them by the Oakhill family. Rondevlei, in return, has so much love for Oakhill. As Samuel Richardson once wrote, “Love will draw an elephant through a key-hole” – love has certainly drawn these two schools- and a herd of 12 elephants- together and it was such a blessing to be a part of it.
Thank you to everyone who made this a special day for all.
“Nature’s great masterpiece, an Elephant.” John Donne in The Progress of the Soul “There is nothing quite like an elephant. Nothing with which it can be compared, though the proverbial Six Blind Men of Indostan did their best, likening each part encountered separately to a snake, a spear, a fan, a wall, a tree and a rope. Taken altogether, these ingredients add up to a most singular animal whose trunk alone is enough to justify removing the elephant from the rest of the animal kingdom and setting it aside, along with ourselves perhaps, in categories of our own.”