Well.. where to start??? Seems a lifetime since i wrote that last blog and so much has happended i don't know where to begin...
I am now one week into the final phase ( of 3) - so 2 weeks to go before the Raleigh experience is over.. ( we do have a week of partying afterwads too though:-) I arrived back from 2nd phase on Thursday having had a few lets say "physical difficulties" throught the second phase and last 3 weeks.. so after a few days R&R at fieldbase which i have thouroughly enjoyed ( hence the unexpected blog..) , i am feeling mich better and heading back out to the village in the morning ( at 6am) for the last 2 weeks!! Think i am getting too old for this malarky......;lol
it was quite comic now I think about it but in a nutshell in the past 3 weeks i have had:... an ear inection, eye infection ( puss in both eyes...nice:-) managed to burn my lips pretty badly and they blistered and became infected ( not a pretty sight) and then there is the constant pins and needles.. so basically my body is not that happy about life in the jungle ( or the hammock), but my mind and spirit on the other hand are having a whale of a time!!!! i can hear you giggling at my misfortune but i have to admit it was quite funny.. even the kids in the village all took pity on me :-)
Phase one ( which also seems like a lifetime ago now) - Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary... went there to build a bridge for the Sunbear sanctuary due to open in 2012. Sunbears are an engangered species- as are the Organutans. It was a really amazing experience. Lived in a camp in the Jungle, slept outside in a hammock- trekked 45 mins each way to work ( partly through the Jungle) and then built a bridge from belian wood- well actually we were just finishing off the job which another group started. I sawed, drilled, hammered and generally provided entertainment for the workers where possible. Mostly by repeatedly dropping tools off the bridge into the river and having to go and retrieve them without drowing... or more importantly loosing the tools!!!
I lived on Raleigh Rations ( anything dried or tinned). Toilet was essentially a hole in the ground- although there were actual toilets at the worksite.. ( no guesses where i was going..lol ) Showers were half a bucket of cold water behind a tarp and i generally lived amongst.. rats, cockroaches, spiders, scorpions and probably about a million other insects and animals!!! We also had regular monkey attacks- the cheeky little things stole our lunch many times.. We also used to have visits from Orangutans.. they were a but partial to our chocolate spread so nicked that a few times!! All good though... i mean these things don't happen everyday lets face it. All in all a great phase!!
Phase 2 was in the village of Vinuini Lokos.. love it!!!! It is a really remote village ( no electric, but they have a couple of generators which they seem to share for the purposes of all night kareoke parties!!) The first night we arrived in this village we set up camp - a large tarp with hammocks underneath and the neighbours were singing Kareoke until 7am.. alongs dside the cockerels doing their thing!! Very Surreal. Basically this appears to be in the middle of a sort of farmyard. I live with chickens ( loads of them..) cats, dogs, pigs and not forgetting the insects of course:-) This place makes the last one look like luxury!!!
The shower is a very small bucket behind a tarp- water is usually pretty dirty as it comes from the river( we do purify it but usually still brown with the odd leaf or twig)
The toilet is just a hole in the ground which we have to dig ( not real toilets in sight).. we call it the 'long drop'....
Long Drop Etiquette... leave the loo roll hanging on a nearby tree.. if it is not there then the toilet is NOT FREE!! ( there is obviously rom for error here so being walked in on in the long drop is likely...!!) Cover your deposit with soil so as not to offend the next visitor!!! Although don't use too much or the long drop soon becomes a 'short drop' and you end up digging a new hole every few days!!! Put used paper in the nearby tuin.. which by the way some lucky camper has the job of burnign everyday along with all the rubblish :-) Oh.. did i mention that loo roll is also rationed?? We actually ran out 10 days before the end and everyone got a pocket pack of tissues and were told to make them last..lol.
Did i mention that I am always dirty... ?? my fingernails and toenails are black despite having been scubbed within an inch of their life.. i think it is there permanently!
I look like s***e most of of the time!!
Also...I think i might be getting fat.. in the middle of the jungle i hear you say?? The village people are addicted to sugar ( & i think i might be too..) i also eat shed loads of carbs to fill up.. rice & pasta... i also managed to whip up the odd Peach crumble.. in the army oven on the hob!!!
We have also half built a community hall for the village- they will basically use this building for everything.. from a church, to a medical centre, to a school/ meeting hall. It will be there only communal building in the village!! The kids here are so great.. always smiling and having fun. it is amazing how they have fun with so little.. they make skipping ropes from vines in the trees. a small boy was walking around with half a plastic bottle with a rock on top the other day which he was puttling around with string.. ALL DAY!!!!
Did i mention that they love a good party???? We had a few with the kareoke machine.. basically they have one 80's music CD which we played over and over.. Beat it.. All night long.. girls just want to have fun. We were dancing and jumping around with the kids for hours.. they are so fantastic!!
Check out some of the pics..
Anyway peeps, love ya and miss ya. Hope you are all well.. Jingle Bells and all that!!
Will write again soon when this is over and i set off on my travels:-)
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