by Joanne Cotton Returning volunteer, Joanne Cotton, shares her experiences from the Orangutan Foundation's past summer volunteer programmes.
Yesterday was another great day as we travelled by boat for about 4 hours through the National Park. The scenery was stunning and the further into the journey we got, the more stunning the jungle scenery became. We saw wild orangutans, proboscis monkeys and many other animals which I can’t even remember the names of. I am really trying to commit everything to memory but the senses are completely overloaded!
The boat was moored up for the night and after eating our evening meal of fresh fish and stir fried vegetables with tempeh we were taken on a night walk. It gets dark at about half past five here but it turns out that there is as much to see during the night as there is during the day. One of the local Indonesians was obviously really keen to help us see as much as possible. He showed us a tarantula, smoking mushrooms and even our first leech of the trip!
Tomorrow we have a day at Camp Leakey where we will see orangutans of all ages up close, I can’t wait. Then, after a few days of getting used to the heat and the time difference we will head out to camp which will be our home for the next few weeks. That’s when the hard work building a boardwalk begins! But for now I am off to take a shower out of a bucket of river water with a hole in it!
I am so thrilled to be back here! Borneo really stole a piece of my heart during my first trip. This trip is completely different from the first time. This time, although the work is still physically hard, it’s not quite as dirty! We are helping to rebuild an education centre in the National Park which involves lots of hammering, sawing and painting.
Last night I slept outside in a hammock for the first time and as I was falling asleep I could hear the orangutan long call in the trees around me. We tend to wake up quite early here and today I was woken by the macaques playing in the trees next to me.
Today was our day off so a few of us took a Klotok down the river to a little village. Our camp is located right on the river and there is so much wildlife here, we have even seen a crocodile a little further up the river!
Our lifestyle is very basic here, but I don’t find myself left wanting for anything. We work hard, are well fed and have had many laughs. We have been learning a lot about the wildlife and local culture from the Indonesians and we are even learning a little bit of Indonesian along the way.
I can see that each volunteer project is very unique and offers a very different experience each time. It will never be the same experience twice…. but that’s all the more reason to keep coming back!
Applications are NOW OPEN for the 2016 programme! To apply for this year's summer volunteer programme, click here!