Lynne's Top Tips For Volunteering at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Lynne's Top Tips For Volunteering at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Posted by Beth Mills on 4th Jul 2023

Volunteer Lynne Coe, joined the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary for a month in May 2023 and recently got in touch to share her most valuable tips:

My Top Tips!

  • Wellies are not just essential... they are essential and it may require surgery to remove them at the end of your stay.
  • My wellies were beloved throughout my time at the project, but I did not bring them home, as I felt the sniffer dogs at the airport would have passed out from the rich and ripe jungle aroma!
  • Make sure you bring a pair that are easy to take on and off as you will be required to do this several times throughout the day. 

Building Orangutan Enclosures

  • It is disrespectful to wear any outdoor footwear indoors, so please pack some cultural sensitivity and good manners.
  • Rehydration sachets will clear your fuzzy head and steady your wobbly knees, so pack plenty. You will lose essential salts and minerals from sweating, so keep your electrolytes up.
  • Keep up the Deet and bring Antihistamines. 
  • Food is plentiful and prepared for you each day by the lovely Momma Mona, she also provides an excellent laundry service at a very modest price. You even get the creases ironed in your undies!
  • If you have a favourite goodie item that you can't go without, pack it (mine is marmite yum).
  • There are simple local shops within walking distance, and you will get the chance to visit the local Indomarets (supermarkets) to top up your tuck box.
  • You will have the privilege of meeting some beautiful primates: orangutans/technicians/vets/volunteers/coordinators. 

Orangutans

  • Mustn’t forget the lovely bear and a faithful dog.
  • Everything you are asked to do is to enrich the Nyaru Menteng community.
  • If you need a break, then take one, it’s an experience you should enjoy. 
  • I felt a huge sense of pride knowing that I have made a difference to the Nyaru Menteng community. As volunteers, we have the luxury to complete tasks that are not possible in the working day of the technicians.  
  • You will be given clear instructions on how to keep yourself safe.
  • You will be welding a machete like a pro by the end of your stay. Sawing bamboo was literally one of my favourite tasks, it was invigorating to be working in such a physical way. I left feeling fitter than I had in years... and it wasn’t only my luggage that was a few pounds lighter when I left. 
  • You will hear some poignant stories about the orangutans and how it became necessary for them to be supported in enclosures. Ask yourself: Can you affect a change beyond your time at Nyaru Menteng?

Volunteers

Orangutans

  • I thought I would purchase items from the wish list when I arrived in Palangkaraya, but items such as nuts and raisins are not readily available. So, dump the jumpers and your sequined evening wear.
  • Lightweight, easy-dry T-shirts and trousers are key. Pack more from the wish list. 
  • The accommodation is simple and clean which is all you need.
  • The nightlife is listening to a cacophony of frogs and cicadas and playing games with fellow volunteers, I am now an aficionado of Bananagram... sometimes we stayed up till 9pm!
  • If you are expecting 5-star luxury, you have come to the wrong place.

Membaw hati terbuka dan pikiran terbuka dan Anda akan hidup (Keep an open heart and an open mind and you will live)

Terima kasih (Thank you)

Thanks to Lynne for her great tips and lovely photos. There's a lot to do at the sanctuary and the team can always benefit from more hands... So, if you’re interested in volunteering with orangutans, join the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary!


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Rachel commented 3 months ago
I just recently semi retired from farming 2023 my plan is to volunteer late January 2024 into Feb2024 looking forward to it.

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