Hello, I’m Catherine, a Zoology student from the University of Exeter (UK) and Borneo Nature Foundation volunteer. I have just come back from an expedition with 8 other Exeter students, in the Rungan Forest; one of BNF’s main field sites.
I have been in Indonesia for about one month and I am in love with the place. Indonesians are one of the friendliest and laid back people you will ever meet, and even though I have traveled half way around the world I have been made to feel at home.
Once we landed in Palangka Raya (the nearest city to the Rungan Forest) we were greeted and made welcome by the BNF team. We stayed in Palangka Raya for two nights; acclimatizing and having welcome talks before travelling to a small village, called Mungku Baru, which is in the rainforest. Unless you have experienced it, I can’t express in words how amazing it is to sail down a river to the middle of a rainforest. It is truly a unique experience.
The things you see and hear could be from a different planet. You go to sleep at night listening to a chorus of animals, from cricket trills, frog croaks and cicadas; which can only be described as a deafening car alarm! Everywhere is full of life. Light filters through leaves of different shades of green, birds soar over the tree tops and insects fly around you, squirrels run in the trees and leaves rustle with unknown animals; just hidden from view.
Camp is just as spectacular as different species find themselves wondering through. The strangest experience I have had so far is definitely dipping my toothbrush in a stream when brushing my teeth.
The team all got so close superfast and usual boundaries have definitely been broken between us quickly.
The camp is stood on raised log platforms, which is great when it’s wet, but we all drop so much under the platform, that all of us end up crawling along the ground trying to find our stuff. We had a competition of who drops the most; the record is 16 items in 3 days!
Overall I love camp, it is the most amazing experience and I have made so many memories and new friends.