Written by Alizee Martin (will be helping to support BNF’s volunteer, field course and school expedition activities)
One year ago, when I was about to leave Indonesia after working in the jungle for 1.5 years, a friend told me he won’t say goodbye. Instead, he said, “Now you have drunk water from a Bornean river, you’ll be back.” He was right. Here I am, back in Palangkaraya for another adventure with Borneo Nature Foundation!
After a few days in the office, meeting my new colleagues at BNF, it was time to discover the Sebangau Camp and Forest. The short klotok trip was the moment where we left the city behind us to enter the forest, and it brought this great feeling of being back home, back to the jungle…
What blew my mind upon my first step in Sebangau were the colors. Lis, Sebangau Camp’s wonderful cook, has another talent: landscaper! Your eyes are first attracted by bright pinks, light purples and dark reds. Then a closer look will bring many flowers to your attention: white, yellow, blue… And finally, you’ll notice this rich green color palette. By walking around, you’ll also realize that this garden is not only beautiful but also full of food resources
Over the next few weeks, I spent time with BNF-Sebangau Programme’s staff, discovering the different projects and coordinators. Hearing all the stories of those “conservation warriors” and sharing knowledge is priceless. Each day had a different highlight, whether that be seeing furry caterpillars, observing red langurs, having my legs trapped in a hole in the peat-swamp, hearing an otter family behind camp or meeting the camp monitor lizard. I can’t wait to see what the next months will bring
As a conclusion to this first blog, I have learned that being in Sebangau means using all your senses, including smelling the rain coming, watching the trees move to determine if it’s an animal or just wind, hearing the gibbons singing in the morning, walking barefoot on the boardwalk. All of these expériences just while drinking a cup of coffee or tea. Being in Sebangau, as Karen, a researcher with BNF, said, is being feral.