Sunday, June 26, 2011

KALAWEIT , Indonesia, New Year's Day 2010


7.15 here, midnight in the the UK, hangover time in Japan!

I had my 3rd restless night...A couple of times I had to rise in the night. I wouldn't mind so much but the spider was sat right next to the toilet! Aaarg! And a cockraoch on the door on my return....I need to overcome my fear!

After some noodles for breakfast, I was back on track! We think that I might have used the wrong water to brush my teeth, hence the dodgy tummy.


Oh my goodness - just went for 'berenang'!! We took a dip in the Borneo river and went swimming. We sawm to the middle and if you can imagine looking around at the Borneo jungle in the middle of a river 4 or 4 times wider then the Thames (or more)...WOW!! It felt more than good, a kind of raison d'etre, if you will, topping off an already ultimate cerise sur la gateau!


12pm - DRAMA ON CAMP!!! It was feeding time, and one of the staff members announced that a gibbon had escaped!!! I had no idea what it would entail, so when I finished up with Tongki, I went to have a peek, by which point, Bolang, the said escapee, had been caught in a net and was being put in a cage. He had pulled apart the wiring on his own cage, proving that they were not infallible, even though they look pretty sturdy. Bolang's arms reached out of the cage a few times, grabbing at the branches, almost toppling himself. He is quite aggressive.

Watching the scene and thinking how great Nanto, the vet was, I was reminded that I could never take on something like that. As much as I love helping the animals in need, the scary ones are just that - scary!

Nanto had to fix the top of the cage as well as the side. Bolang was strong to escape, but thankfully, is safe in his cage once again! Phew.


Nap tap was viciously interrupted with wails from Ayung, the cook's son. He had been playing with the birds when there was a sudden thud, and shriek! We all heard it and feared the worst. His foot had slipped through some damp wood but was more in shock than in pain. He was crying quite loudly and was happy to receive a Japanese Shippu (cold compress) on his leg.

4pm feeding time! Fun at the fair....I was cornered by the maribu and spent a fair bit of time running forwards and backwards thinking I could out-smart him! I failed and Jean-Pierre had to distract him so I could escape! Thank heavens! Sadly, he and Sophie are leaving tomorrow, so no more rescues!

Back at camp, entertainment was provided by the big sun bear. She was levering on a very insecure tree and bouncing back and forth. It should have snapped, but somehow she was lucky and it didn't. She was determined to reach something on another branch and seemed to not want to give up. Bless her perseverance!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

KALAWEIT , Indonesia, New Year's Eve 2009

Still feeling a little bit icky - sleep was interrupted at midnight again, then 4am too. Ugh.

Then, people were outside chatting and working and then before long, the whole camp was awake. Turns out they were loading  up a big boat with the cages they had been taking down. The journey up north had started.

I think it's going to be a lazy day today. My tummy aches, I just want to rest; it feels like a Sunday. It was raining a bit when we all woke up.

6am - Feeding time was quite straight forward. Tongki likes my glasses! He had a play with them and my hair too, as I reached in the cage to clean his poo.

The old maribu
Just woke up from a nap! It's 11am.

Hanging out the laundry

We went through the two camps earlier handing out eggs earlier, clearly too much exercise for one day!

The new volunteers arrived too, another French couple, Pauline and Frederic. Welcome to camp!!


It's 8.30pm and I am ready for sleep, but Kill Bill is the film of the night, so we are staying up 'late' to watch it.

No doubt, we will be asleep when the Indonesian clocks chime, but we will be able to do the Japanese New Year in 1.5 hours (we missed Oz), then at 6am tomorrw, we can do the French New Year and 7am, England!

I can't wait to make contact with home (all homes!) , but am still loving the gibbons and the peace!

I have decided that I want to help a lot more with Kalaweit and the people here. One Hapatitis B shot is 400 000 Rupiah. Apparently, that is half a salary here (I am guessing one month..), but workers for kalaweit need 3 of these shots....

Burning garbage
It just goes to show how much help and support Kalaweit needs. You can become a friend with a small donation a month.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

KALAWEIT , Indonesia, 30th December 2009

It did, in fact, rain and rain in to the night. We went to bed at 9pm and I passed out pretty much straight away, but the sleep was to be interrupted. We have what we might call a 'dicky tummy' situation. Actually, since yesterday morning, toilet trips became a small issue. Hopefully, things will get better - I just need to refrain from the double portions and the chile!

There's still no sign of the French couple, but maybe they will come today? Chanee should come over too - we might go trekking in the forest, on the hunt for orang-utans and proboscis monkeys and other wildlife.

Now, it's just chill time. Tongkiki has been fed. We are pairing up Leah and Smikey later too. If they hug, they stay together, that would be amazing, partners for life.


My goodness, what a day!!

We went to give the gibbons at camp 1 their chicken treats.

There was one who held out her hand - Pluton, very cute, like Tongki, just wanted to hold mine. I held her hand, even took a photo, but we have to remember that this is not right and she shouldn't be trusting humans. We must remember that these little apes belong in the wild and not reaching out to humans.

Then, Chanee and Sam arrived. Sam is an awesome dog, so full of life and active. Ian would love him!

Chanee brought some bad news about Smikey, he has hepatitis B, so he can't be mixed with Leah now. We have to wait a few months and test again and wait for it to clear up. Poor Smikey.

Then, Chanee took us into the rainforests of Borneo! What a formidable experience and definitely a dream come true!

We packed into the boat, jumped knee deep into water and trekked through the jungle. Overhead, trees stood tall around our feet; damp marshes of leaves, soggy tree trunks, and entwining plants that, at times, did not want to want to let us go!

The water sometimes reached hip level and I fell over heaps of times, shrieking like a gibbon in the process!
The Borneo jungle is as you would expect, but there was a little extra magic, the sounds.

The sounds were amazing! Amongst the green and brown tranquillity, there were distant gibbon shrills, frogs croaking, and twigs cracking under my big, heavy feet! It was a tranquillity like none other, and a far cry from the crowded, traffic-filled streets of the big city!

We didn't manage to see any orang-utans, but we had the chance to see a few fresh nests. We waited nearby, but to no avail. Miraculously, we made it back to the boat, despite having wondered around the jungle for hours. (I still have no idea how you can have such acute bearings in the middle of the jungle!)

On return to the island, we had lunch with Chanee and then went to take Manisa's blood sample. It is an arduous process. First he is drugged with a mix of ketamine and another drug which makes the wake up process not so much of a shock and minimises convulsions.

Once Manisa is out of it, the blood is taken. The 2 syringes worth of blood then need to be separated (white and red blood cells) and then sent to Jakarta to be tested. For one set of tests, it is 250 euros, not including air fare... it all adds up.

Manisa woke up for his milk at 4pm. That was good. Tongki was there too and ate 4 bananas and just over one syringe of milk.

When Chanee left, so did a few other members of staff. The camp was the quietest ever! Nanto, the vet, the cook, her son and us 4 volunteers.

Oh, I have started to make my plaque for the wall. So far, I have carved out the words ''Gibbon you love''. (It seems the gibbon gags shall never end!)

There is a really big storm overhead. The rain is heavy and it sounds like it will be with us for the duration. Tongki hates it. With each clap of thunder, he hits the floor, flat.

The rain brings the spiders, and, in the middle of the night, running out to the toilet is not an easy task....!!