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|Ocean View from balcony of Hotel Mount Lavinia|
Pinnawala -Elephant Orphanage
A Place that was originally was found in 1975 for holding best disposition of ex-situ animal care. In 25 acre coconut plantation jungle, adjacent to "Maha Oya " river, elephants are bred and well taken care of. Just as name holds, the set up was founded to care for abandoned elephants. Those that strayed away, or fell in mining pits or who ended up spoiling farmers crops . A splendid encounter it is in such close quarters with these jumbos and little jumbos.
Poop to paper -
Have you ever had any idea seeing the elephant's rear end, that it's dung could be a raw material while paper the finished product?
I was drowned in poop heap thoughts.
While millions of trees are chopped down in the world, few environmental enthusiasts have found eco-friendly solutions. The elephant dung to make paper indeed! "Fibre" is the keyword, as their diet and dung both are rich in it.
- Collecting the dung - is collected from various elephant stables.
- The cleaning of the dung - Dung is washed thoroughly with water in large tanks. At the end, all what is left is the fibre.
- Cooking the poo - To get the fibre ready for the next stage of pulping, it is cooked in water for over 4-5 hours with salt and then washed with hydrogen peroxide to complete the first stage of making the paper bacteria free.
- Sorting - The water is drained out and the dung is left to dry out in the sun. Once its dry, it is sorted and any non-usable fibre is removed.
- Pulping- After the fibre has been softened and sorted, it goes into the Hollander Beater, to be beaten to pulp. This process takes about 4 hours. The fibre goes through the process of being beaten into very fine pulp and also being washed again.
- Lifting Up - The pulp is then taken to cement/ wooden vats filled with water. Depending on the weight of the paper to be made, the required amount of pulp is mixed with the water. A flat sieve-like mould is used to lift a layer of pulp out of water. A sheet of paper is made.
- Moulding -The sheet is then placed on a muslin cloth by applying gentle pressure onto the mould. This process continues till there is a heap of about 100 sheets.
- Drying - The heap of interleaved sheets is then placed in a hydraulic press and compressed to drain out as much water as possible. The paper is then dried on lines, in a shady area. Direct sunlight is not good for drying the sheets unless they’re white as the colour fades under the sun.
- Rolling -Paper sheets are then rolled in d to make them smoother and writable.The sheets are then cut to the specified size, packed and sent to their required destinations.
Products range includes books, flip-flops, hand bags, picture albums, tags, gift bags, photo frames, and whole lot of funky stuff.
You have a big range of products available on various sellers, most popular being -One of the seller on Amazon
Few Key Notes: -
- Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is open to public on all days between 8Am to 6 PM
- A huge place to explore, so remember to tie your shoes tight.
- About 2 hours drive from Colombo city.
- Other places of interest around colombo are -Nuwar Eliya, Kandy ,The Seetha Temple, The Ramboda, Few national parks, tea estates and much more.
- A suggested place to stay would be Hotel Mount Lavinia in Colombo. See their website for information - http://www.mountlaviniahotel.com/
- The Auto Rickshaws there are called "tuk tuk" and are a pleasurable rides like the ones in India!