About me- My name is Ida and I am going to be working with the Sumatran Orangutan Society for the next few months. I will be based in their Bali office in Ubud, which I am really looking forward to. With me I have my partner William Lee-Wright, who is also dedicating his time in Balito working with SOS.
Luckily for me, I arrived in Indonesia around the same time as Helen Buckland, the UK Director, made her annual trip out here. Which meant that I had the opportunity to go to Sumatra and visit some of the projects in the field before heading towards Bali.
Arriving in Medan was quite a culture shock. I came across from Malaysia on a small ferry, and stepping out of the boat it was immediately clear that the skyscrapers and Gucci filled shopping centres of Malaysia were several sea miles behind me. The roads, lack of roads and the rally-driving turned out to be a bit much even for the most hardened traveller, but eventually we made it to the hotel. Our room incidentally turned out to have the best view of the Medan’s main mosque, and we were woken up before the crack of dawn the following morning.
In Medan, SOS shares their offices with the Orangutan Information Centre, OIC, which is a local NGO doing much of the fieldwork here. So on Monday, holding on for our dear lives, we ventured into a ‘becac’ (a moped with a small chair-box on the left hand side) and headed towards the ex-pat community in Medan. Finally, one year and half a world since I first made contact with SOS, I got to meet Helen. We had a great introductory session where we talked about how I can best utilise my time in Bali to ensure I can provide maximum support to SOS throughout my stay. I also had the chance to meet the team working in Medan, including Dave the whistling Scientific Director, Panut the knowledgeable OIC Director and Aiba the energetic AUSAid Volunteer. I left the office with hands full of reading material and a brain full of new ideas to process.
My main projects will be PR related and I will introduce you to some of them as the weeks go by. Though, next week I will first have to tell you about our trip to Bukit Lawang, and my first encounter with some of the beautiful orangutans that live in the national forest.
Till then, take care...