Week 1 of Iona’s amazing trip to Indonesia with Operation Wallacea

By on 4th October in Sponsorship

You may remember back in July Anglian Home Improvements were proud to announce that we were sponsoring Iona on her trip to Indonesia.  The trip has now happened and here in Iona’s blog she tells us about her first week away.  If you missed previous details about the trip follow this link

On the 8th of July, I began my journey on what was a once in a lifetime and unforgettable experience.

A minibus, four planes and two days of travelling later, I arrived along with my group of 11 and many university students to a tiny village in the heart of the Buton Rainforest called La Bundo Bundo.

Iona Indonesia school
The villagers

In these first few days we began to become accustomed to life without phones, Internet and English food. Rice became a big part of every meal and simple luxuries such as air con were unavailable.  The first three nights we slept in a villager’s house. There were no toilets or showers; instead we had ‘Mandis’, Indonesian for ‘wash’, in which we had to pour buckets of water over ourselves to shower.

We spent the first three days taking small treks into the jungle to carry out reports on animals, as to what they were doing in different habitats at different stages of the day. These reports would help Operation Wallacea to not only protect them, but to learn about and understand the animals better.

On our third day in the village, we packed our huge bags and began a 3-hour trek into the jungle. I thought Duke of Edinburgh was hard work, but this was rock climbing up hills and through rivers with 10kg on our backs. When we arrived at the camp, we were all hot and tired.  A river nearby we had been given permission to swim and wash in,  never looked so good!

Iona camp in forest
The camp area

The camp was incredibly small, with an area for our hammocks, for eating, and an area where the locals cooked for us.  From the camp we took a lot more reports and surveys for Opwall to use.

We took habitat surveys, (surveys of a 50m x 50m area where the angle of terrain, canopy cover and height of plants were just a few things we measured); we did reptile walks (where we found different species of snakes, frogs and other small reptiles and measured them) we set and then went back to investigate, dung beetle traps. The best part about living in the camp was definitely the hammocks!

 

Iona 3 hour trek

Walking in the forest

After a few days we then headed back to the village where we spent the remains of our time really getting into village life.  A teacher from the school gave us a lesson on Indonesian cooking and another on the Indonesian language.  Our group was also invited by the head of the school to visit a school class.  It was an experience I shall never forget.

Very early one morning, four of us woke to join with a university student doing her dissertation.  We also went with another university student on a bird walk, identifying different birds in areas of the forest.

On our last day in the village, we visited a waterfall which the guides led us to.  It was an incredible sight and so huge!

Look out next week for part 2 and the final blog about the adventure.

Images by Iona Turner

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