I’M GOING TO THE RAINFOREST!! Yes its happening at long long last, tomorrow I’ll be making my way to Sumatra (Indonesia) and the middle of the rainforest to volunteer with the Orangutan Health Project.
I’ve wanted to go to a proper rainforest for years, not just for the day (I’ve done that) but properly live there for a couple of weeks, sleep out in a sleeping bag, hear all the weird jungle noises and contribute something to its survival. Every time I watch one of those BBC documentaries (which I do a lot) about a team of researchers and cameramen/women who go to some remote jungle and study the wildlife, I think ‘I need to do that at some point’. After years of using lack of money as my excuse (which is a fair excuse but also not really), I turned 30 this year and realised I just need to go, no excuses! I knew I wanted rainforest and to work on a research project for endangered animals, but that was all. I spent ages looking around, and finally found the Orangutan Health Project. They take new volunteers every month so I knew they’d be pretty set up to have people that have no idea what to do in a rainforest, but they are also quite small so I wouldn’t be doing it alongside a whole gang of 18 year old gap year kids.
The project that I’m going to be working on looks at the plants and behaviours wild orangutans use to maintain their health – which is an amazing fact in itself, I hadn’t really appreciated just how much these animals medicate themselves using hundreds of different plants, each for a different reason. Their research into the plants is feeding into rainforest conservation by proving how important it is to have a massive range of different plants within the ecosystem. It is also helping with the rehabilitation of orangutans, especially those which have been saved and are hoping to be reintroduced back into the wild. Their work may also lead to the discovery of new medicinal plants which could be used to treat humans. I’m sure I’ll learn more when I’m out there! My two weeks will be based at their research project in North Sumatra, where I’ll help with data collection and other research tasks. I’ll be going out on short day treks, and then at some point a 5 day trek (which is when I get to sleep out in the forest under tarpaulin and probably be absolutely terrified) as we go in search of wild orangutans to monitor their health and movements. Anyway, I’m sure I will be telling you loads about it when I get back so thats enough for now. Also, I have no photos for this post, but there will be plenty of them coming too!
Just some boring admin… my shop will stay OPEN while I’m away, I have a wonderfully well-trained boyfriend who is fully prepared to send out your orders! There is limited stock so if things sell out in the next 3 weeks, I will restock when I’m home. Byeeeeeee!