Our second week of work started with a day that included tree planting. We had to drive for an hour to get to a river where we would take a boat journey, and then trek to an area where the local people are trying to keep the area populated with indigenous trees instead of palm oil trees which have been planted illegally.
As soon as we got out of our air conditioned car, my glasses and camera lens immediately steamed up but I spotted a life-ring hanging on the side of a house and knew that it could potentially make a great photograph.
Going along the river felt like being part of something you only see on documentaries – the river was muddy brown, there were monkeys on the banks, kingfishers perched on trees over the water, and we passed a few fishermen and families.
When we pulled the boat up onto the bank, we then trekked for about 5 minutes to the area where we would be planting trees. Volunteers at Sepilok have been doing this since 2010, and although we only plant two each, that’s a total of approximately 1032.
After planting we took another boat to a rest camp where we had some free time to wander round a forest trail.
Unfortunately on my way back to the rest camp I slipped on a wet and algae covered plank of wood that was over a ditch, landing on my bottom in the ditch with legs in the air. I had to take a moment to assess myself before getting up, but I’d badly jarred both arms and my right wrist in particular hurt a lot. One of the other volunteers asked if there was any ice that I could put on it, and the answer was ‘no’, but 10 minutes later a boat chugged up with a man clutching a lump of ice for me! I have no idea where he’d been to get it, but I was very touched. Another volunteer is a nurse, and she made me a sling, another is a physiotherapist and she inspected it for me and gave me some ibuprofen. At that point I didn’t think it was broken as I broke my left wrist 8 years ago, and the pain of that made me feel very nauseous, sweaty and faint. This was painful, but nothing like before. A couple of days afterwards it was still very painful, so I went to get an X-Ray just to check it isn’t broken, and thankfully it isn’t. Nearly two weeks later and I haven’t been able to lift anything slightly heavy or grip anything harder than a pen or knife though 🙁