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Action in the Peatland

by Guest Blogger

October 22, 2007

The following posting is from Hayden who is at our Forest Defenders Camp. Learn more about the camp and threats to Indonesian forests.

 

We all got up this morning at 4:30.  The group of climbers wanted to  make it to the edge of the palm oil concession without being noticed by the workers, or the security patrol.  The edge of the concession, or what we call "the forest wall" is where the burned clearcut ends and where the native forest begins.  However this native forest is in the process of being cleared for more palm oil.  The "forest wall" is just how far they’ve gotten in clearing the forest.

To edge of the concession is about 4km away, but is clearly visible from our fire lookout tower.  Rob and I were up in the tower at 5am as the team left.  My responsibility was to run communications for the climb team, and also for the para motors, which were scheduled for a flyover at 8am.  My new title, as Rob told me yesterday, is "Communications Hardware Coordinator", so now I’m no longer just the U.S. campaigner/volunteer.   GPI is even putting up a photo of me with that title, apparently.

So, back to the action.  The team, of all Indonesians, hung a huge banner (36’x30′) from two trees accross the road that runs into the forest from the concession.  Shortly afterward Cedar flew over in the para-motor, this time with the wing that has the Greenpeace logo on it. We got some great images, and the entire event went remarkably smooth. No conflict with the workers at all.  And as of this writing the banner is still hanging.  We decided to leave it there as a parting gift.

In other happenings, we dug up some maps of the area, and I found out that the river that runs by our camp has it’s headwaters in the hills, not near town, so now I’ve started to go for swims in the afternoon (I can’t go in the evening, as the local residents believe that if people swim in the evenings, and have fun, that bad things may come.)  Today I went for a swim with JJ, Frode, and Hengke, and we had a great time, diving off the dock.  As we were getting out a boat arrived that was unloading about 80 huge bags of sand.  We did the Indonesian thing to do, which was to pitch in and help carry the bags of sand up the dock to land.  So we worked for about 20 minutes, and these guys were really surprised and entertained by 3 "bule" (white foreigners) helping them carry heavy loads up the dock.

And that’s all I have for now for an update.  Stay tuned.  The most exciting stuff is yet to come.  Also, I’m happy to report that there aren’t any lingering effects from the lightning strike.  I’m fine.

Hayden

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