Awareness is one of the most important aspects of our work in Java. Awareness can lead to change and thus by giving talks at schools, offices, to people on the street we can help secure a safer and better future for the Javan slow loris.
It has been busy, busy, busy in Java spreading the loris love this past week. We were kindly invited to one of our local Kacamatan’s to host a movie day. A Kacamatan is the head office of an area. It is thus the office in which all the village chiefs have meetings to discuss relevant to a region as a whole. We hosted the movie day in front of all the village chiefs within one of our survey areas. It was a very important day for the project. To be able to present our work in front of so many important people was quite nerve wracking! The head of the police was even there!
It started off really well and everyone was quite engrossed in what our head tracker Pak Dendi was saying. However, as a result of a morning full of meetings, the group grew smaller and smaller as time went by. Thankfully, those that stayed were the ones that seemed to be truly interested asking multiple questions not only about the loris, but also about the education work we do in the area.
The day ended in an invitation to come and teach at a local pre-school by the head of the womens association. What a great contact to have!!!
The week ended with more social events as we had a team trip to Tasik Malaya. Tasik Malaya is about 3 hours away from our field station and in different regency. They also speak Sunda and are still located in West Java. Wawan Tarniwan, an Indonesian photographer that has worked very closely with LFP from the start and a native to Tasik arranged for us to give talks at two schools. The three hour trip meant that we had to leave the house at 5am. We packed the car with 7 team members, two life-sized mascots, giveaways and a driver. It was a quite a trip down bumpy roads but when we arrived at the elementary school to give our first talk the children were ecstatic.
The teachers opened up the classroom to connect it to another one. That meant that not only did we have a class of 45 students of level 4, we also had an additional 50 plus onlookers join the session from levels 5 and 6! The room was jam-packed!
Pak Dendi asked the children questions about the loris and they were able to win little prizes. The session ended by reading out the Forest Protector book with mascots Tereh and Bunga acting out the scenes and being a bit silly thanks to Pak Adin- which was met with squeals of laughter! We left books, activity packs, memory cards, stickers and a teacher’s pack with the teacher of class 4. We’ll be heading back to Tasik in a few months to evaluate the success of the book pack. We are all very excited to see the children again!
At 11am we moved on to give a session at a high school. Pak Dendi gave a presentation covering everything from loris distribution to market surveys and education. We had over 200 students in the room, all of which seemed genuinely interested. Most had never heard of a “kukang”, the Indonesian name of a slow loris, but all wanted photos by the end of the team and with our lovely mascots.
It was a long day but we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Pak Dendi’s voice was a lot softer by the end of it, and everyone was quite tired but at the same time it was very invigorating to have been part of.