'Our 12 Days Were Memorable Beyond Belief' - A Girl Guide Group's Unique Review of Samboja Lestari

'Our 12 Days Were Memorable Beyond Belief' - A Girl Guide Group's Unique Review of Samboja Lestari

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on 6th Sep 2017

For today's blog, we have the pleasure of sharing a very unique volunteer account with you all. After 6 months of passionate fundraising efforts, Wendy and her Girl Guide team took a trip over to Samboja Lestari in the hopes of making a difference to Borneo's endangered wildlife. Read about their experience and, if you find yourself feeling inspired, why not check out our project page? The Samboja Lesatari Orangutan Volunteer Project is available with 15% off until the end of September, so now really is the perfect time to get involved in the conservation of this incredible species.

What was the highlight of your trip?

The highlight of the trip was the time we spent observing the babies!

Would you go back, or to any other projects?

We have all said we would definitely go back and/or to another project. We loved every minute of it – although we worked very hard in hot humid conditions, we really felt we were contributing. This was not a ‘make work’ activity.

What are your tips for new travellers?

Make sure you do bring old clothing that you are prepared to ruin – you will get very hot and sweaty! Gum boots are essential. Also, bring spray insect repellent to spray on clothing – we got mosquito bites through our clothes!

Smiling baby orangutan

If you had to describe your trip in 3 words, what would they be?

Demanding, but fulfilling.

Did the trip inspire you to help animal conservation in any other ways?

As a group of Girl Guides, we were already interested in animal welfare, but the feedback from the girls is that it really brought to life what they knew of only in theory. Being there, playing water games with these wonderful creatures who are like us in so many ways, made us all realise how important it is the ensure that no species should be allowed to become extinct and that, as volunteers, we really can help.

Why do you think people need to travel?

As Australians, we are so remote from a large part of the world that travelling has now become an integral part of every young person’s life. Realising that we can also use this travel to help others, be it animals, or people, is something we all learned from this event.

Baby orangutan with big eyes

Any final thoughts?

Our 12 days at Samboja were memorable beyond belief. As is the custom for Girl Guides, we had spent the previous 6 months fundraising, and so almost no weekend would go by without a BBQ, a school holiday program to run, waitressing at public functions and so on. We achieved our goal of raising $1000 per girl. We each had vague idea of what it was going to be like but none of us realised that this project actually relied d on the volunteer work to enrich the orangutan’s lives. That was what was so gratifying about our stay. So often, when we do service, we are given what we would call ‘make work’ and the girls are treated like children. At Samboja, we were all treated like adults and the girls came up trumps – when asked to go the extra mile, they volunteered with a smile on their faces! Only going to prove that young people really yearn to go that extra mile – we just don’t ask them! Kate, the volunteer coordinator, was perfect for them: young enough to understand their world, but old enough to be treated like a leader. Overall the girls and leaders have come back remembering 12 days of service but 12 days of fun, laughter, and fulfillment. Thanks to The Great Projects and particularly Kate, as well as her able assistants Wick and Sam!

Want to get involved with orangutan conservation? Head to the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Volunteer Project page to find out more. Remember, you can save 15% on the price of this project until the end of September, but be quick - spaces book out fast!

All images courtesy of BOSF.

 


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