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Monday, November 2, 2009

Lubuk Baji and then to the Villages

Hi there, this is an update about Yayasan Palung’s trip to the Lubuk Baji campsite in Gunung Palung National Park. This site was set up in 2005 to promote community awareness among children, incoming visitors and teachers about habitat protection, teamwork and wildlife. The day started out in the early morning with a jump into the Yayasan Palung truck and off to the field. We came to a school where the headmaster greeted us and, surprisingly, asked me to introduce myself. It was special to see how hard students worked to learn English, and valued having a fluent English speaker to help practice English with.
The hike up to Lubuk Baji was hill upon hill, culminating near the top with a downpour of rain. We spent the day appreciating the rainforest atmosphere, cooking noodles and tempeh, and allowing the children to learn about how to work as a team to protect the forest. Activities in the morning included observation of wildlife including groups to observe flora and fauna.
We saw hornbills, cuckoos, an orangutan nest, among other insects and big trees. The orangutan nest made us feel very close to the wild. Pak Udin, our guide, took us to a splendid view from the Batu Bulan lookout. On the return journey, some of us took a dip in the swimming hole under the waterfall. With the clean mountain water, why resist?

Lubuk Baji reminds us that orangutan habitats are dwindling and the only way to protect their habitats and these rainforests is to involve children’s education, leaving the choices up to the coming generations of local communities. It is quite a contrast to see the developed land to the small but vast patches of forest.
Following the trip to Lubuk Baji, the group went to nearby villages to give presentations at local schools and plan the organization of activities in the coming weeks. It was humbling to see the generosity of visitors and their compassion towards folks working to help the orangutans.
In the office, many of us spend time getting to chat and enjoy roti bakar and jus speaking about orangutans. The rambutans are turning into ripe bundles.

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