You wake up to the sound of the mosque cascading through the village and motorcycles buzzing by. Stretch, yawn, sniff the air to see if Ibu Ina is downstairs and cooking yet. This may have a significant bearing on your morning ritual as it may take up to 30 minutes before you’re able to boil the kettle to make a coffee. After having determined if there is in fact an Ibu in the kitchen, roll out of bed and navigate the steep stair case descending into the common area. Post haste head into the kitchen whilst attempting to avoid treading on the cats. They will be determined to give you the warmest welcome to the day you could ever hope to receive (though I suspect they only want me for my ability to reach the cat food).
After circumnavigating the cats and successfully making a coffee you make your way into the common area to glance over the schedule for the day. As there is plenty of time before your night shift it’s probably time to work on your project or give the cats a bit more fuss. If you’re lucky however, whilst conducting your accessment of the schedule you may have noticed you’ve been given a task to do such as checking the sleep sites of the different lories or heading to the local school for nature club. Either way it is going to be a full day of new experiences. And before long 4 o’clock rolls around and this is where the real fun begins. Observation shifts. Time to get ready.
- Get dressed
- Pack bag
- Prepare clipboard (decide between ‘Hello kitty’ and ‘Spiderman’)
- Prepare trackers’ clipboard and equipment
Time to head to the farms and forest. Feel intense jealousy at how effortlessly the trackers move in and out of dense labyrinth of labu and up and down the steep terrain. You’ll spend the next 6-7 hours carefully watching each move and behaviour one of the worlds most endangered primates, meticulously making notes every 5 minutes. After scrambling and tripping up and down the mountain it’s time to head home and to bed. On the way back you’ll wonder about the behaviours you’ve just witnessed before being surprised again at just how beautiful mount Cikeuray can look with the cosmos behind it. Get home. Debrief. Play cards. Laugh. Head to bed wondering what the socially acceptable period of time between showering is and if that even matters to you any more. Fall asleep to dream of the mountain.
- Ben Tatton