Hello, everyone! This week was again full of many different and new things! To begin with, our researcher Priscillia (who happens to be one of my best friends!) and I spent last Sunday on a photo shoot in wedding dresses! As random as this sounds, this has actually become a tradition for LFP’s female volunteers and staff, and we were very happy to continue this tradition! We had an amazing time – having our hair and make-up done by award-winning professionals, and having our pictures taken by a professional photographer! While this wasn’t a first for either of us, it was completely amazing and a lot of fun! I was sick this week, and Priscillia left us to do another project in Brunei, so we haven’t had a chance to pick up our professional photos yet, but here is a quick look into how it all went! 🙂
Traditional wedding dresses from Bali and Yogyakarta!
Another amazing thing that happened this week was my visit to Aspinall’s Java Primate Project, where I continued my research on human-animal relationships! I had such an incredible time there, it was a dream come true for me to be able to visit them! Some days I enjoy my work so much that I feel like I will explode from happiness! This happens almost every time I am out observing lorises, but also when I’m around dogs! Or cats! Or pretty much any animal! Animals are really the best part of the world, and wild, pristine nature explains an additional part of the “life is amazing” variance! This week I was again lucky enough to experience both! I finally got to walk in the real jungle – twice! And both times in my jeans – that is just the level of casual that apparently I am now! In the said jungle, I saw a group of wild surilis – and these were my first ever wild monkeys!!!! What an incredible feeling it was to see them jumping around through the canopy!!!! Monkeys!! There are few things that compare to this kind of joy!!
In addition to monkeys and jungle, people working at Aspinall were the final piece of this week’s “I cannot believe how wonderful my life is” puzzle! They are some of the most inspiring people I have met since I’ve been in Indonesia. The way they think about their work and the animals, and the things they say about what their work means to them really resonates with me. In a way, they seem very similar to the people I met at the Cikananga Wildlife Center, who again really reminded me of the zoo keepers I used to work with at the Zagreb Zoo, as well as the ones I met at the Paignton Zoo. And all of them seem so similar to me! What a strange, but wonderful feeling to meet “your people” in a place so far from home! It is amazing how easy it was to talk to them. Different language, culture, and nationality, different gender and age – but somehow the same love for animals, the same feeling of connection to the nature, the same energy! They have been amazing to me, from letting me become a part of their world for a few days, to taking me on a proper field trip on my last day!
Kawa Putih (“the white crater”) – one of the amazing places the Aspinall keepers took me!
All of this really got me thinking about all the differences between people who work with animals in different environments. I have already started planning my next project, which will focus on different professionals working with animals in captivity and in the wild, in sanctuaries and zoos, in habitat countries and in the western world (steal my idea and die 😉 ). I really want to get to the bottom of some things that have been itching my curiosity for a while now!!! I will start working on this as soon as my daily loris-loving life allows!
As exciting and incredible as this week was, I am very happy to be home in Cipaganti! Stevie the cat peacefully sleeps next to me, as I am finishing this post in my bed! Have a wonderful week, and appreciate the animals in your life! 🙂
- Elena Racevska, Research Coordinator