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Borneo Expedition Summer 2016

Throughout our lives we are often busy and unfortunately don’t get enough time to appreciate what and who we have around us.  During the summer holidays eight brave students went to Borneo.  This expedition was designed for students to gain an insight into what struggles communities may go through, and to help villages and local people, as best we can.  They were to work on a range of volunteer projects to help improve the standard of living for rural communities.Borneo 2016 03

Our adventure first begun in the village of Tinangol, the students were greeted by the ‘legend’ which was Kenny. Kenny was such an inspirational man who had very little, but who lives every minute of his life to the fullest.  We worked closely with the local community to help build an outdoor classroom area for the local primary school, run a sports day for the village and teach the local students.

Borneo 2016 04Batu Puteh was the next stop of our expedition.  Here students really went back to basics, sleeping in the middle of the jungle with only a hammock to sleep in.  Students took part in a forest regeneration project to protect wildlife and the environment.  They were also taken on a boat trip through the jungle along the Kinabatangan River where we witnessed some amazing wildlife.  Before our stopover in Batu Puteh, we visited Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary, students were fortunate enough to see numerous Orang-utan and Sun Bears.

Bongkud is Camps International’s longest serving village where we met Eve the Manager. She made our stay so enjoyable and made us feel so welcome within the camp and the community.  Students worked extremely hard during their stay here working 6 days solid concreting for the market square and primary school.  During our time here we also climbed Bongkud Hill which was 650 metres above sea level (not so much a hill).

The small isolated community of Mantanani remains one of the poorest in the region with high Borneo 2016 08levels of unemployment.  Many families have set up homestay initiatives to generate income for their families.  Students helped with this by building new rooms within their homes.  Although Mantanani is a beautiful tropical island, it suffers greatly from rubbish. They have no waste systems, so everything that drifts onto the island has to be upcycled and created into something useful.  Our eight students set out to aiding this problem by doing a beach clean which helped the local community greatly.

In the tropical waters off beautiful Gaya Island, students finished their trip by taking part in their PADI Open Water Course.  Students had to work hard over the three days taking part in numerous practical scuba tests plus passing a written exam.

NoBorneo 2016 09 man, woman or child should have to live in some of the conditions that we witnessed over the summer.  The students were an unbelievable credit to the Academy.  Through their determination, hard work, kindness and happiness, they were able to put smiles on everyone’s faces, and know that they left an incredible country making a difference.

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