June Update plus a New Goal

Dear Friends of Elephant Havens,I just got back from another productive trip to Elephant Havens. I must tell you, our little orphan MmaMotse is stealing hearts with her long eyelashes and quick kisses with her trunk. It is hard to resist her persistent search for apples and oranges. I so hope all of you get to meet her. She is a real charmer and truly has the sweetest nature. Even though our reception area is not complete we have allowed some guests to visit. Their donations help cover our expenses, plus watching people react to our little orphan is priceless. She is loving the limelight.

During this trip we had a 16-year-old volunteer, Susanna Newsome and her mother, Shannon Newsome, from Dallas with us. They inspired us, gave us the energy to carry on with our mission, and also gave us hope for future generations to step up and continue our work. We hear many discouraging things about the youth of today, but I am here to tell you Susanna was inspiring. I know she will be a leader in the field of conservation in whatever arena she chooses. The Newsomes’ love for elephants and the people of Botswana was heartfelt and everyone was honored to have them work with us. We made long-lasting friendships and are thrilled to have both of these ladies in our corner. I’m excited to announce that Shannon has agreed to join our board, and I am thrilled to be working with her. 

Our construction is almost complete! Our staff will be able to move into the new staff village this weekWith your help, we’ve been able to build 9 separate bedrooms, a staff kitchen, hot showers and flushing toilets. All of the buildings are solar powered. We also will have a living area where staff members can relax when they are not on duty. I will be forever grateful to our men who are so dedicated to our mission that they were willing to live in tents on the ground and take cold showers for the past 6 months while caring for our little orphan. We are so lucky to have such dedicated, kind men. And we are grateful for every donation, big or small. While I was there, we finished the water well for the local community! We installed an electric fence around the pump to protect it from wildlife looking to steal a drink of water. (They are not so gentle with water taps.) We also installed solar panels to supply electricity to the pump and the fence. I wish you all could have been with me the day I saw a donkey cart coming my way. It had 6 jerry cans full of fresh water that the local people had collected from their new well! Because of you, these sweet people will no longer have to drink muddy water from the river. It was such a small cost for something that will change many lives.It seems every time I go to Elephant Havens I see a new need for the community. My new goal is to buy a van or small school bus to take the children to school every day. They walk miles in all kinds of weather, plus the school is close to an elephant path. There are actually times they can’t get to school because wild elephants are in their way! One morning Bee and I picked up 2 children and, before we made it to the school, we had 14 children in the truck. I hope in my next newsletter to show you pictures of our new “school bus”.  You can help make that happen with a donation of any size.

I have said it many times before, but I want to thank you all for making a difference – not only in orphaned elephant lives but also in the lives of the wonderful, kind people who live amongst them. We are making a measurable difference for wildlife AND people. I’m the lucky one who gets to see the grateful faces when they turn on a tap that has clean drinking water. I get to see the smiling faces of the children that get a ride to school on a very cold morning. I watch as a child’s fear of a baby elephant turns into joy and laughter as a baby elephant’s trunk kisses them. Your donations have made such a difference in my life. Thank you for every dollar you have sent. My life is forever changed because of you.

With gratitude,
Debra Stevens


  • Marilynn Landon July 31, 2019 7:22 pm

    Wonderful work. We are coming to Botswana in April of 2020 and would like to visit. Dr. Mary Commings Gabe me your address and name. I am from Dallas Tx and have never been to Africa so I am very excited. Will it be possible to visit?

    Marilynn Landon

    • Debra Stevens May 4, 2021 9:19 am

      Hi Marilynn,

      I am sorry I am just replying. Please send me an email at debra@elephanthavens.com We would love for you to visit Elephant Havens. Our babies will change your life. They have mine.

    • Debra Stevens May 4, 2021 9:20 am

      Oh I just looked at the date. I was so excited that you might be visiting us soon. A lot has happened in the last year!

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