There are many things that I love about living in Indonesia, but most of all, it is the job that I have. While a lot of the things I do require sitting behind my computer (which, again, I love – doing anything research-related, from planning to analysing data, is literally the dream!!), going out into the field is simply something different. It is hard to explain the feeling of connecting with the nature, as it is something that surpasses words. However, here are some of my favourite aspects of the field work – my Javan Field Work Top Three:
- The nocturnality
I love, love, love the fact that lorises are nocturnal because I am as well! Night is my favourite part of the day and definitely too precious to be spent sleeping! I prefer to work at night and when left in charge of my own schedule, more often than not I will stay up until at least 5 or 6 am (case in point, as I am writing this post, it is 5.28am – oops!). Even when I’m home and have nothing particular to do, I somehow end up staying awake until late. It feels so good to finally be at a place where the outside world is in line with my inner one.
2. The local wildlife
I have been here for a month and a half now, and over that time, I have been out in the field on the majority of days (and by “days”, I mostly mean nights), as often as my other coordinator tasks allow. I have to say that I am still completely in love with all the little creatures out there. It is literally almost every time that I am in the field that I see something new. From beetles and spiders to frogs and snakes; from tree shrews and ferrrets to civets and leopard cats. And then there are the lorises. When I look at a loris through my binoculars and a loris looks back at me, I am pretty sure the world stops for at least a few moments! It is one of the most wonderful things I have experienced in my life. Seeing animals in the wild really ruins a person for most of the other kinds of human-animal interactions. Or at least that may be becoming the case with me!
3. The rain
I love, love, love the rain! I came to Java excited that my time here will coincide with the rainy season because rain is definitely my kind of weather! Working in the rain sounded like a dream, but I definitely did not account for the amount of mud it produces and the consequential slipperiness of the ground! My first shift in the field instantly taught me some new Bahasa vocabulary – “tanah licin”, or slippery ground, along with “hati-hati” – be careful! Since then, I have mastered sliding down the slipperiest of paths, as well as sort-of running down hill after a tracker – as that seems to prevent most of the falls!
The only downside of the rainy season is the sometimes unavoidable shift-cancelling. When the rain starts to pour heavily and interrupts our shifts, we go to one of the farmer huts (the perks of working in an agro-forest!) and try to wait it out so that we can resume our data collection as soon as possible. Sometimes we are very lucky with the company in which we get to wait the rain out – as shown in the picture below!
- Elena Racevska, Research Coordinator