Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Juara Report: We're Here and Loving It

*** If you have reached this blog through the Juara Turtle Project (JTP) website you might also be interested in the following entries, besides the one found below, which range a whole host of topics related to JTP. Click the link to view:
- Hallelujah for Hatchlings
- Goodbye Toilet Paper, Hello Wet Toilet!
- Saved by Sound
- Funny Field Work Follies (and the letter F goes wild!)
- Juara Raking Team
- Sweeter Than a Plate of Yams with Extra Syrup

Howdy everyone on the interwebs! The time is flying - we've already been in Kampung Juara and at the Juara Turtle Project for over a week. Awesome stuff. Kampung is village in Malay. Alli and I are trying to learn Bahasa Malay, but I still got the training wheels on that bike for sure. We're picking up words here and there, and talking to people so hopefully it won't be too long. I'm sure it will be better than my Spanish, but that ain't saying much.

Alli draining the koi pond and making it look real gooooooooooood.

So where to begin, huh? The first week here has been a doozy - we've both dove right into the pool. None of that wasting time in the shallow kiddie area with floaties on. To start off in broad strokes, Juara is a village on the east side of the island, the only village on this side in fact. Check out a map here if you want to. I would say about 300-350 people live here including recent transplants (us) and seasonal tourism industry workers. Everyone has been super friendly and quite talkative when you meet them (I would say this has been true everywhere in Malaysia). It's nice and quite gorgeous too. The lush jungle comes right down to the bay. Green meets blue - like Leonardo (of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame, duh) tying up his blue mask to his green head.

Brian nailing some nails into some wood = compost box. I make the boxes here, Charlie builds houses!

Whoa, that was a boy joke if there ever was one. But quite fitting because we are here to help the sea turtles, who last time I checked don't wield Katana or a bo staff (they might be less endangered if they did though). The Lady (shout out to Alli!) and I are volunteering at Juara Turtle Project, a multi-faceted organization devoted to sea turtle conservation, education and research. The project has in a sense a field station here - we are living on-site, and volunteers and school groups stay here too. It's been going on independently, and at its current location, since 2008.

The box models of 2012! Watch out we're gonna be on the cover of the fall catalog.

Trying to sum up everything we do is no simple task. In the morning we got daily chores, such as raking the property (leaves be falling in the jungle!), watering plants and making everything look spiffy for the day. Also on a daily basis we give talks to people who come visit JTP, ranging from a few folks to 30+ some days. Jo, the blind sea turtle here, gets fed twice daily too. She fancies squid and fish - she gets cabbage as well, but c'mon, who likes that over seafood!

Then besides the daily tasks we got a whole shebang of other things cooking. It can range from Alli machete-ing the jungle to get the garden beds up to snuff or me building her a cubic meter wooden compost box (check the photo: I build a box, Charlie builds a house). We also clean Jo's tank every 4-5 days, which includes pumping seawater up from the beach. The tank cleaning is quite the production - at least 3 people are needed for the entire process. We scrub a lotta tile for the Jo too. The laundry list of activities continues: cleaning the chalet walls, cruising around in the JTP's boat (named Will Smith, personally I would have gone with Jeff Goldblum!) looking for washed-up goodies (wood, laundry baskets, rope, etc.), put a roof over the BBQ, emptied a koi pond, began researching light pollution mitigation measures for sea turtles and so much more.

Alli's garden beds after she showed them what's up. Look at those coconuts all in a row.

We'll begin posting more specific subjects after this here entry. So for now, enjoy this mess!

Alli (Machete Garden Queen Extraordinaire) & Brian (Man Who Makes Box)

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