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Adventist youth group volunteers to help clean a popular zoo in Thailand

The Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo or Korat Zoo is an approximately 200-acre establishment in Korat, Thailand and one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country. Managing and maintaining this facility demands careful planning and a fleet of manpower. A group of Adventist youth recently volunteered at the zoo as a way to raise awareness for the June 5, 2017 World Environment Day.

Adventist volunteers joins the World Environment Day in Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo, Thailand. [photo by Arjelo Onde]

This group consists of Adventist young professionals studying and working in Thailand who call themselves #CareTeamKorat. With a mix of nationalities from around the world, they are the only organized Adventist youth group in the whole province of Nakhon Ratchasima.

The group pool their personal funds and also raise money to organize activities to benefit others. For the 2017 Global Youth Day on March 18, they organized a community day. They gave away grocery items and health books, organized a feeding program for children, taught English, and conducted free blood pressure checks for the elderly. After a full day of service, massive rain flooded the area forcing the group to navigate through waist-deep waters on their way home.

That experience didn’t deter them from seeking new service opportunities. To celebrate the World Health Day on April 8, they organized a small medical mission for the local community. They offered free services like Thai massages and saunas as well as simple laboratory tests such as proteinuria test, bile salt in urine test, blood sugar test, blood typing, and blood pressure measurements.

When they looked for another service project, they thought of the zoo and the environment. The group believes that it is important to maintain cleanliness in the zoo because it is home to animals that need a clean environment to live - just like humans do. So, the group offered to clean the zoo for World Environment Day on June 5 but with one small change: They requested to clean it the day before, a Sunday, so they would not have to take a leave from their jobs.

Their request reached Airada Dengler, the zoo’s website manager and foreign relationship officer, who was surprised but happy to hear their request. “This would be the first time for a group of young professionals to offer community services in the zoo and our first time to welcome an outside group to help clean the facility,” says Dengler.

Over fifty of these young people were at the zoo that day and even brought some of their non-member friends to join the activity. They raked dead leaves, loaded mounds of them into dump trucks, cleaned ponds, trimmed bushes, and weeded lawns.

To show their appreciation, the zoo management sponsored lunch and gave the group a free tour on a safari train around the zoo. The management urged them to come back any time to conduct activities at the zoo.

The group hopes to send the message that Adventists care for the environment. For #Careteamkorat, the size of a group doesn’t matter compared to the bigness of their heart for their community and surroundings. Simple acts of kindness are still, by far, louder than words.

To see what other activities the group is involved in, follow #Careteamkorat on Facebook or to find out about the zoo they care so much about, visit www.koratzoo.org

[Arjelo Onde]

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