It’s been a while since my last post here, I kinda like having my summer completely blog-free and share photos throughout the autumn. This summer’s been rather hectic, lots of work and boring uni stuff, but it’s also been one of my best summers! I got to travel all the way to Indonesia and live in the jungle and on an exotic island, for four weeks. This was as a volunteer research assistant with Operation Wallacea, which (at least for me) is great to add on your CV as relevant work experience since you get to deal with animals and scientific research first hand. I went for 2+2 weeks, where two weeks was in the jungle working with terrestrial species, and two weeks on an island working with marine life. For anyone considering joining any of OpWalls project: GO FOR IT. It was truly one the best experiences I’ve ever had, but not because of OpWall and their management, but because of the social aspect. The bonds you tie with other people doing the same project as you are really strong, and I do believe I’ve gotten friends for life. I brought my camera, of course, so you can all imagine how many pictures I ended up with after a month away! I’ll try to limit the crazy photo flow down to four posts, two for each site, forest and marine. Hope you guys enjoy the photos!
WEEK 1 & 2 – The village Labundo Bundo
The first meet up with all the other research assistants. We played the name game, my biggest fear since I am the WORST when it comes to remembering names. We were in a circle, and the first person would say their name, then the second would repeat the first persons name then their own, and so on. I was….the last one. The very last person in the circle, which meant I had to repeat EVERYONE’S name before saying my own. I completely and utterly failed to do so, of course, not one of my proudest moments.
The locals had some small shops with snacks where we could spend our money, this was pretty much the only thing you could spend money on in the jungle! After hiking every day for hours, the rice wasn’t really enough to keep me from losing weight, so a pack (or 10) of Oreos really saved me!
Indonesian rupiah! 100 000 rupiah equals about £5 (or 50 Norwegian KR). A pack of Oreos was 10 000 rupiah, a coke or fanta was about 8000 rupiah.
A typical dinner. Lots and lots of white rice, some overcooked vegetables and tofu (sometimes fish or meat). After two weeks in the jungle we’d had 42 meals containing rice.
My toilet while staying in Labundo Bundo. We lived 3-4 people with a local family, two at each room. In this picture it does look absolutely disgusting, and it was, at least the first couple of days. The “bathtub” in the corner was filled with rain water, and you would use the little green scoop to pour water down the toilet to flush…things. Haha
The bin bag was for the used toilet paper, again, disgusting, but it’s incredible how fast you get used to things. After a week it all just seemed normal. Even showering, which was done by using the same scoop to pour water over yourself while standing naked in this room, became normal. After hiking for 8-9 hours a day in +40 degrees, sweating like crazy, this “shower” (or mandi, in Indonesian) was the best thing ever!
We had some heavy rain during the two weeks I spent in the jungle, so whenever we were out hiking our boots would get completely covered in mud. So for anyone considering doing any work in the rain forest during their winter months (which is summer months in UK/Europe), be prepared for some crazy rain and muddy ground! I bought some cheap boots at Mountain Warehouse in Edinburgh (£20 on sale), so I decided to just leave them in the village after my two weeks instead of trying to clean them and bring them back home, giving them to one of the local guides.
Part 2 of the jungle will be posted by the end of this week! 🙂