Friday is a holy day and a rest day for most of Terengganu, but not for us! Today is jungle-trekking day. With our trainers and thick slabs of mosquito repellant liquid and sunscreen, we set off to the foot of Bukit Labohan at 8.30 a.m. Miss Sharifah from WWF and her four interns joined our escapade through the untouched forest.
The volunteers started of both excited to trek but also terrified at the idea of leeches and bugs biting into their skin and sucking their blood. Only an hour into the trek, many of us were bitten and sucked by forest leeches. All’s good though, just a little bite.
Jungle trekking with a group of 20 people needs some understanding, patience, and sympathy as every individual has different physical capabilities. It’s an experience to get immersed in the raw nature, but also to test your qualities of teamwork and cooperativeness that you’ve always bragged about in your resumes.
After 5 hours of sweat, muscle soreness, laughs, shrieks, falls, and awe, we finally reached Ma’Daerah again, crankiness and fatigue etched on our faces. What better way to heal hunger-fuelled anger than food! 15 hungry, tired beings headed out to the nearest stall to have our lunches and at least 3 ice-cold glasses of teh ais.
Our next planned activity is the Brainstorming Session which aims to talk about unaddressed issues in Malaysia and viable ways that Charisma could help bring these issues to public awareness and further work on it.
At night, we ventured the beach again for another night of patrolling. Just as the first night, everyone managed to see a mother turtle laying eggs! Patrolling the beach can sometimes mean simply walking the 1.7km stretch for a few hours without anything interesting to see – no turtles on shore. This was definitely a worry for us especially since the number of turtles on the beach of Terengganu for 2017 is expected to be much lower than in 2016. The Project Penyu 2017 volunteers were definitely in much good fortune in this regard.
Some of us headed to EcoCare to sleep by 3 a.m., while some decided to stay until 5 a.m.