I must have been about 10 or 11 years old when I wrote this essay…
I went to an elephant camp in Burma. In this camp there are about 90 work elephants kept in a teak forest. They make expensive furniture out of teak. They also make the frame of ships out of teak wood. The elephants are used to either push or pull heavy teak logs to the river where the logs then float down to the city Rangoon.
When I went to elephant camp the thing I most enjoyed was riding an elephant. You sit in a wooden box and you sort of sway from side to side and you could get seasick if you rode for very long and were not used to it. Most of you must think that elephants don’t have hair but my mother soon found out that they do have hair because she slid down the back of the elephant instead of climbing down on this head and front knee as she should have and the strong hairs stuck to her pants. These hairs are black, they are about four inches long and they are very strong.
We fed the elephants the fruit from the tamarind trees. Tamarind is an acidy brown fruit which the elephants like very much.
Each elephant has its own care-taker and rider called an oozie in Burmese. This man feeds and takes good care of his elephant. He also carves out of wood a bell which the elephant always wears around his neck. Every night the elephant is set free to find food in the forest. In the morning when the oozie goes to find his elephant he knows which one is his by the sound of the bell his elephant is wearing.
We spent four days at this camp up near the China border and we learned much about elephants and teak wood.