Volunteering in Indonesia – All About Coconut

Posted by: Sonia

My time volunteering at the Orangutan Conservation Expedition project was simply amazing! I was picked up Monday morning at the airport by one of the project assistant. We got to Coconut, where the project is based, by mid afternoon.

We got a short orientation session and got the rest of the afternoon to settle down. It took me a few days to get used to the heat and humidity but was over the moon to be part of the project as it’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. For the first five days, we helped the staff with data entry, maintaining the bamboo huts, and drying plants collected in previous jungle treks. We were also provided detailed information about the orangutans biology and palm oil plantation problematic in Sumatra and Borneo.

The 6-day trek was intense! The camp is set up by the river and is just one big tarp. Each day we trekked for about five hours to collect a list of plants provided by the project leader located in Czech Republic.

We didn’t see orangutans but were able to spot monitor lizards and Thomas leaf monkeys that are endemic to North Sumatra. We were also lucky to hear gibbons. We went for a swim after each trek to cool down and relax. The food was amazing and the guides were so nice!

Back to Coconut, the staff helped us arrange our day off. We decided to go to Bukit Lawang to see semi-wild orangutans in the morning and to go rafting in the afternoon.

After 13 days it was time to say goodbye to the staff and the other volunteers but I had the most amazing time of my life volunteering in Indonesia.