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Volunteer program

By volunteering with OHP, you will be contributing to the research and conservation goals of the project. It is hoped that these efforts will lead to an improved understanding of how best to promote the long-term survival of the orangutan and its unique ecosystem by improving our understanding of both.

Dates:

All year round – 13 days starting the first Monday of every month (please inquire at orangutanhealth@gmail.com)

Location:

Timbang Lawan, Sumatra – near Bukit Lawang

Cost:

US$1,289 or US$990 for students (excluding flights, insurance and visa)

Visa:

*Free 30 day tourist visa (*possible US$35 charge for some countries)

Team Size:

Minimum 1 person, maximum 8

The project is proud to be able to provide important work for the local community and employs only local guides for trekking in the forest.

A SAMPLE VOLUNTEER SCHEDULE MAY GO AS FOLLOWS:

Day 1: Arrive in Medan, travel to project, orientation to location, rest and recuperate.

Day 2: Orientation to project and tasks. Start work in the office.

Day 3: Practice trek in the forest, then free-time (swimming/tubing, etc.)

Day 4: Volunteer tasks at base (see below).

Days 5-10: Trekking with overnight stays in the forest carrying out tasks necessary to the project's.
Three meals per day and water are provided. Alternatively, several one-day treks in the jungle

Day 11: Tasks at base.

Day 12: Free day. (Re-visit feeding platform/swimming/tubing/opportunity for cultural outings.) Volunteer BBQ.

Day 13: Travel to Medan (AM) for afternoon flights.

IMPORTANT: The above is only an example of a possible schedule of activities. It is always subject to change based on the needs of the project. Staying overnight in the forest is not guaranteed and will be based on considerations such as weather, staff availability, number of volunteers, and most importantly, physical fitness of the volunteers.

POSSIBLE TASKS AT BASE:

  • Entering behavioural data collected by Field Assistants
  • Organising samples of orangutan foodstuffs and preparing for our herbarium
  • Organising faecal samples collected by Field Assistants
  • Preparing equipment for Field Assistants to go to the forest
  • Preparing behavioural data sheets
  • Preparing sample bottles for Field Assistants
  • Shopping for project supplies in town or at the local market
  • Brainstorming ideas to help the project’s promotion
  • Keeping temperature, weather and humidity data records updated
  • Cleaning project office and accommodation

Volunteers on every team will get proper instruction and information about the following matters:

  • The project and your role/responsibilities within it
  • Safe behaviour in tropical countries, potential health risks and precautions
  • Proper sample collecting techniques and data entry protocols
  • Advice about the best clothing and equipment for work in the forest
  • Local flora and fauna and especially about the orangutans
  • Indonesian culture, basic language, and appropriate behaviour in Sumatra

In addition, volunteers may also be given presentations on wildlife research and conservation, parasite finding in orangutans and field parasite diagnostic methodology. The most important fact - there will be absolutely NO physical contact with the orangutans. If you are hoping to come so that you can cuddle one of these amazing creatures, then this is not for you. This rule will be strictly enforced if necessary.

ACCOMMODATION

Base camp is located in the village of Timbang Lawan, within the rice paddies; 10 minutes from Bukit Lawang. Accommodation is VERY basic, but clean. While staying at our base you will probably share accommodation with other volunteers, depending on the number of volunteers in your team. You will have a bed, a mosquito net, and a cabinet. There are two ‘bathrooms’, one with a basic non-western toilet (squat-style toilet, which flushes when water is run through) and the other with a non-flush western toilet. The local custom after using the toilet is to clean yourself using only water and your left hand, so as to avoid blockages caused by paper. However, toilet paper is provided and bins to put it in. There is no shower, rainwater is collected and used to scoop over yourself to wash (called a mandi).

All our base accommodation has electricity unless there is a power cut, which often happens during heavy rain. There are a variety of insects and small animals around for you to get acquainted with - cats, geckos, ducks, rats, cockroaches, leeches, mosquitos, chickens, spiders and a variety of strange critters.

While trekking you will be camping in the jungle for up to 4 nights at a time with only a tarpaulin and thin foam mat separating you from the forest floor. Food will be cooked over an open fire and water from a clean river nearby boiled to provide safe drinking water.

Meals are cooked three times a day. There is no menu and the food will be basic Indonesian cuisine, which mainly consists of rice, noodles, vegetables, eggs and occasionally chicken/fish. It is simple, but also tasty; and often spicy. Fruit is plentiful, and you won't find many places in the world with more variety. Vegetarians can easily be catered for.

INTERESTED?

Then drop us a line on orangutanhealth@gmail.com or ivona_foi@hotmail.com (emergency only) and we can supply you with further details.
If you would like to get in touch with previous volunteers, please e-mail us for a contact list.

At the base
At the base
In the night
In the night
Base
Base
Fallen tree
Fallen tree
Crossing a river
Crossing a river
Data entry
Data entry
During a trek
During a trek
During a trek
During a trek
Free time
Free time
Lunch after a practice trek
Lunch after a practice trek
Mami- our cook
Mami- our cook
Office tasks
Office tasks
Office tasks - herbarium
Office tasks - herbarium
Office tasks
Office tasks
Path to the base
Path to the base
Project base
Project base
Rest time during the trek
Rest time during the trek
Shopping at Bohorok
Shopping at Bohorok
Top of the bus
Top of the bus
Transportation
Transportation
Trek at Landak
Trek at Landak
Trek
Trek
View from our base
View from our base
Walking along a tree
Walking along a tree
Wild orangutan
Wild orangutan