What’s it Like to Volunteer in Conservation and Sustainability in Sumatra

Volunteering in Conservation

March 2019, Sumatra

Selamat Siang! (Good Day!)

We are Sophie and Carina from Germany. We are both 18 years old and currently spending three weeks at the Batu Kapal Conservation project in the Jungle of Sumatra. We would like to give you a little insight into our time here and we hope to spark your interest to help and volunteer in Conservation and Sustainability.

A typical day of a volunteer

We are usually woken up early by the rising sun and the sounds of the jungle and our first monitoring activity starts around 6:30 am. Monitoring is when we record all wildlife that we see; orangutan, monkeys, birds, mammals and tracks etc.

Equipped with GPS, cameras and data sheets we leave the camp with one of our guides: Embera, Jimmy, Yoki, Rizal and Abadi have a great knowledge of the surrounding area and always bring us safely through narrow caves and overgrown jungle paths. It is always an adventure! We definitely recommend long sleeves and trekking boots – mosquitoes and leeches are not a rarity over here!

Volunteering in Conservation and Sustainability

The usual morning activities are planting trees or assisting with the plastics project. We collect plastic to help keep the area pristine and to share it with local women in the village who up-cycle and make bags to sell or build eco-bricks, which are filled with plastic we cannot up-cycle. Last week they were used to build the first recycled bins to put down by the river! This will be a great help as it is visited by many people at the weekends!

Around 1 pm we have lunch together which is always super tasty. Abadi is the best cook and we love helping him in the kitchen and learning new recipes.

We have free time to rest until 3 pm, and we usually go for a swim in the river or play cards during that time.

In the afternoon, there is usually a second monitoring activity. Some days, you can also choose from other afternoon activities, such as: teaching English to the children in the village; going to the market; or exploring the big bat cave (we definitely recommend going there!!).

Extra activities like trekking in the national park, water rafting, and many more, can also be booked anytime – so there is definitely a lot to see and to experience!

We unwind in the evenings together with dinner, some games, singing to Jimmy’s Guitar-playing or learning a little Indonesian, which was one of our favourite things to do.

In general, everybody is super friendly, and we enjoyed all the different activities, even cleaning and doing the dishes!

Part II

"Our mantra is “Tersenyum Selalu” (Always Smiling)!

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Whenever we have any questions or problems, there is always someone there to help us. We really feel like a part of the Batu Kapal family here.

Working together for the same cause brings us all together, and it really is special for us to actively take part in all the changes and improvements around here – we can see the project growing and growing every day.

This place in the middle of the Jungle has shown us what is really important in life and what needs to be protected.

We gained a new perspective on the way we think — we have learned to worry less about unimportant things and to enjoy little moments more. We also have learned to consider our actions and their consequences.

We learned to say it in the Indonesian language:

…”Kami memperoleh perspektif baru tentang cara kami berpikir, kami belajar untuk tidak terlalu khawatir tentang hal-hal yang tidak penting, untuk secara umum lebih menikmati momen-momen kecil dan untuk mempertimbangkan tindakan dan konsekuensinya sedikit lebih banyak.”

Volunteering in Conservation and Sustainability