Monday, 15 November 2010

VIP's Departure (Day 10 - 11/07/2010)

"Good Morning, Pehin!"

"Did you sleep well last night?"

Pehin Yahya replied, "Oh I slept well and it was cold last night!"

Yes. The night gets really cold in Sungai Ingei (well, it gets really cold at night in most rainforests) and this type of condition explains how pristine the place is with its lush trees. Hence, the base camp is well "air-conditioned" and it seemed that Pehin did enjoyed his night at our self-declared 5-star resort hotel.

The loud call of an unknown bird species woke most of us up and the time was only 6am. The chef and his assistant were already preparing breakfast and boiled water for tea and coffee. One of the Iban boatmen went to start the water pump, which pumps river water to the filter tank and hence the filtered water can be used for washing.

Day 10 was the day in which Pehin Yahya, our Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, and his delegation departed from Sungai Ingei for Bukit Sawat jetty. However, the morning of Day 10 itself was packed with activities and of course, the minister was involved with all of them.

After breakfast, Pehin Yahya was guided by Dr. Charles to the back of the base camp for a tree-planting ceremony to commemorate his visit to the Sungai Ingei base camp. In reference to the blog post on Day 8, Samhan and a few of the camera trap boys went to search for Gaharu saplings in the vicinity of the base camp and was able to collect a few. Those saplings are specially meant for the tree-planting ceremony.

Since Gaharu trees are very difficult to find in the rainforests nowadays, the tree-planting ceremony would enable the planting of these endangered trees in hoping that they will successfully grow and thrive in the base camp in time to come.

Six Gaharu saplings were collected on Day 8 and all six were planted at the back of the base camp, with each sapling separated at a fixed distance from one another. The six Gaharu saplings were planted by Pehin Yahya, Dato Amin, Haji Saidin, Awang Mahmud, Dr. Charles and Samhan.

Pehin Yahya with a fresh morning look

Tree-planting ceremony lead by Pehin Yahya

Dato Amin covering the roots of the sapling with soil

Haji Saidin in action

After the tree-planting ceremony, Pehin Yahya and his delegation were accompanied by Samhan, Angus, two Iban boatmen, one paramedic and Metis, Ishlah and Moon (camera trap team) to go for a short forest-trek into one of the forest trails which is located behind the base camp. This trail is also an active trail in which camera traps are located.

After the 1-hour long forest-trek, Pehin Yahya and his the other VIPs returned to the base camp just in time for an early lunch. Although the meals are not too sumptuous, the food itself is simple but delicious. Pehin Yahya and Dr. Charles also had a dialogue, in which the session was recorded on video by Stephen Hogg.

The dialogue included Pehin's comments about the expedition and the base camp and what are his future plans for this beautiful and pristine protection forest. He also said that his stay at Sungai Ingei would be a memorable one and he would love to visit Sungai Ingei again in the near future, perhaps with his family too!

Getting ready prior before the forest-trek

Metis explaining to Pehin about the structure of the forest

Chit-chat session after the forest-trek prior before lunch

Dialogue between Pehin Yahya and Dr. Charles
as recorded by Stephen Hogg

The time was near 11am and the Iban boatmen were ready to depart from Sungai Ingei. The luggage of the VIPs were loaded onto the boats and our VIPs were also ready to leave. Most of the participants were also able to take pictures with the minister and it was quite a happy moment for everyone. After that, a doa selamat was recited and we bidded our farewells to Pehin Yahya and the other VIPs.

Pehin walking down to the river bank

Pehin Yahya and Dr. Charles

Pehin Yahya and the participants of the expedition
L-R: Pei Fen, Cath, Salwa, Metis, Ishlah, Pehin Yahya, Haji Ramlee, Azri and Bon

A very happy Awang Mahmud waving goodbye!


Most of the participants' spirits were still high from Pehin's visit and everyone was praised for their discipline and cooperation in giving our VIPs a good hospitality and treatment. Pehin Yahya's visit was indeed a memorable one and it definitely inspires us to do more research in this beautiful, untouched forest. His continuous support is also one of the main reasons in making the expedition a big success.

I shall end today's blog post with perhaps one of the happiest pictures of the Sungai Ingei Faunal Expedition. More updates to come soon!

Group picture showing all participants of expedition
with Pehin Yahya and other VIPs prior before departure
Location: Front porch of base camp

To be continued...

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