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Published: September 20th 2007
Pattiro has quite a few local offices where they administor the projects from and so I am spending the next few weeks visiting some of them.
I have spent the last week in Limbangan, this is a village in a member of Pattiro staff, Widi, lives. The village is farily high up in the foothills of Mt Ungaran. It is surrounded by lots of forests and there are two particular sections that are government owned but are being used by locals more and more for farming. The government don't really have the time or inclanation to bother about these forests so local farmers and encroaching on them and cutting down trees, hunting etc.
Widi wants to try and make the village and forest a conservation area and ensure that it is protected. We had lots of meetings with local farmers and village cheifs to hear their concerns. It was v interesting and Widi was kind of using my being there as motivation for them to take it seriously. They'd never had a 'tourist' or 'white person' visit before so there was a lot of picture taking...
Generally the farmers do want to preserve the forest but they are finding
farmering increasing harder so can't help but abuse the forest. Lots of hunters come to poach and then the farmers also plant coffee among the bigger trees near the edge thinking they are not really causing damage but are increasing dong so without really reailsing.
We spent a lot of time trekking in the forest to see what damage has already been done and also to try and find some potential paths that could be used for tourists. I took quite a ot of photos....
On Sunday we planned to trek from the village through the forest across a few hills and then camp and climb Mt Ungaran the following morning. We didn't actually make the mountain as no one had every taken the route that we went before and so it was pretty hard going and we took a wrong turn and ended up at the wrong side of the mountain... opps!!
Where we did go was pretty fun though. For quite a lot of the time we were walking along a ridge that was only about 1m wide and when we threw a rock over the side we could still hear it for quite a while... I
was a little scared at this point and did feel it was a pretty stupid place to be! Going back down would have been more dangerous I think though as it was pretty steep and we had to climb using tree roots to pull ourselves up! I was so glad we eventually got to the top (mind you this was after a few false hope 'tops') and actually found a path where some farmers had obviously been huntng for bees.
There was a climbing wall at the campsite and i had a little free style go. It's quite fun, i think i mght have found a new hobby for when i get home...
On Thursday it was the start of Ramadham, the Muslim fasting month. This means they are not allowed to eat or drink anything, have sex, and also not supposed to lie, steal, experience anger, envy, lust etc.
The fasting starts at Suhoor (about 4am) and ends at Ithar (about 5:45pm).
I have been fasting so far too. It's actually not that hard. The lack of sleep is the worst thing i think. The mosque plays drums and starts the calling at about 2:30am every
morn to wake people up, and for the first few days people went around the streets singng and setting of fireworks! Gone are the days when I thought hearing the calls to prayer at 5am was bad!! So while at Widi's house i got up around 3:30, eat and then went back to bed for a few hours. They eat rice at every meal normally anyway and just eat like what we would eat for dinner in the morning. So maybe rice and fish or chicken or tofu, or all three.. (an obv chillies as no meal is without them) so eating that much that early means i've not been hungary all day anyway. I have been a tiny bit thirsty but knowing i can't drink i just make sure i drink more in morning and evening so haven't really been thirsty either.
I did break the fasting and drink water when we were hiking though.. I've seen a lot of people sylely break it so far though, so figure it's def fine for me too.
sorry this has turned into quite an essay.. I have quite a lot of photos so I'll add them now too.
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