Mends Bring Bonds

Before the plane even touched down in Kenya, I was alert and ready for whatever came my way.

The next two weeks not only included Nairobi and safari, but also time with the orphaned baby elephants living with the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and I had recently began fostering a baby named Enkesha.

Her story of rescue touched my heart and immediately I felt connected to her.

She was rescued from a poacher’s snare which was severing her trunk.  The team made the difficult decision to separate the baby from her family, to save her trunk and possibly her life.

With the help of the rescue team and doctors on hand, her tiny trunk was saved and now she lives with other babies who are growing and learning their place in the world before returning to the wild.

When the group and I visited the orphans, we each awaited for our fosters to run down the trail, camera and phones in hand for the much anticipated picture.

Little Enkesha was with the second group of babies, and when I saw her, tears began to fall of happiness and connection.

A child can become an orphan not just in death. Parents may leave, or never held means of nuture a child needs to survive.

As the child of a narcissist/bipolar mother, I felt the brashness of a mother who did not or could not love her children as they were.

I never knew when a ‘”spell” would occur or when Mom would be Jekyll or Hyde.

Eventually our interactions were so destructible and my Mom became so toxic, a relationship between us was non-existent and I made the decision to sever ties.

The report of Enkesha’s rescue states the team had to distract her mother to examine her wound. What of wounds invisible to the naked eye?  What went through her mother’s mind upon discovering her little girl was gone?

One can never know, perhaps in some way, she understood the balance of life and death.  Disconnection necessary for survival.  Just as one does when removing themselves from abusive relationships or toxic environments, I can understand the steps for survival.

Later on in the day, the fosters were able to spend time with the babies before bedtime.  I watched as Enkesha twirled her scared trunk, the whole still there but not deterring her from playful baby antics.  I left her saying goodbye and many blessings for her life, and thanked her for channeling strength unto me.  Wounds will not tether me, instead I will carry them as a reminder of how far one can go.


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Tiff Parker

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Tiff Parker has created memories around the world. From feeding pumpkins to an elderly elephant in Thailand, venturing through the…

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