Went along Lamanda River on a speedboat to meet some people, mainly children, in Dayak villages. Now I know you’re probably thinking, Nico meeting people WTF. Well these are the people who are determining the future of Borneo.
(This is just a snap shot to show poor people living near the edge)
Back to Dayaks, they really do not think re the consequences of the future, the business men or the workers. Its really not ok for me to judge since they need money, they too need to put food on the table for the spouses and children. What alternatives do they have ? Back to the government, what are they doing for their people ? People pay for their own medical care and kids schooling so what the hell does the Indonesian government do ? “Money in my pocket” hmm rings a bell!!
I saw a family that had a rubber tree plantation. They make 8,000Rp per 1Kg (8500 Rp = $1), they produce 8Kg per day so pretty much $7-8 a day. That is really peanuts since living in Borneo is not cheap. Remember this is an island so a lot is imported.
Now whether they have a 2 tier pricing i.e foreigners to locals, I’m not sure. Talking about peanuts, I bought 2 larges packets for the Orangutans and these cost approx 9000Rp.
So what they make is really not too much BUT they work 6am-9am grooving the trees to make the rubber, the drop drops into a bamboo shell, this is then collected in the afternoon and laid to dry.
When it becomes hard its then ready to be sold.
These are some of the children I met, they find/make their own things to play.
Swim in the pond or draw a few squares in the soil and play hop scotch or simply talk. Books are expensive here so thats a no no. Some lucky ones have a tv but others singly mingle with your family and neighbours.
The villages are very good to each other. They help each other i.e if one has a rice field, people from the village will help and the next day the favour is returned. Good team work.
One of the kids whose father works in palm oil actually wants to have his own farm of rubber trees. He said it was hard work on a palm oil plantation.
Re Rubber trees, you can have your own grown into your back yard and its easier than palm oil. But surely this cannot be the only choice they have ?
If this is all the see then this is all they will know! The children here have never seen an Orangutan, so they have no idea what we or others are asking them to save the forest for. In a village like this, I would think the teacher is local too so all they will know is what the local teacher teaches them, closed loop until they reach high school. These kids were 11 to 12 years old.
Talking of Orangutans, I am becoming good at understanding, I swear this one said ‘Nico, can you stop following me!!!’ 😦