Merapoh. Could be a book title.
A magnificent, mysterious, adventurous book where love, friendship, nature, people are mixed together to tell an engrossing storyline. The best part of this book is: it is real.
Merapoh is a little village in the middle of nowhere near Gua Musang, Malaysia.
During the last week I have participated to the Ecoteer volunteer program.
“Ecoteer run two projects near to Taman Negara, one is focused on the conservation and protection of the animals and plants of the forest whereas the other project is focused on providing basic Education for the children in the Batek Tribe. Both experiences involve the Batek tribe providing them alternative sources of income through guiding”
The first day Chris, one of the interns, showed me how Ecoteer works with animals and the Batik tribe, the locals indigenous lived into the Forest.
There are a special area that connect two extensive parts of the Forest, it is considered the fauna-highway, but it is not protected.
For this reason the balance between animals and hunters are delicate. Too many people hunt for money and they does not care about the extinction of some specific species, like the tigers.
The team monitors the marks of the animals, wild boards, sun bears, tigers, wild cats ect. noting date, location, and take a picture to every considerable detail with a size reference.
For the volunteer the week is full of events!
They will experiment what means trekking into the forest, camping, meet the batik and join into the school program, taking part into Malaysian dinner.
They will learn how to recognize marks, camping into the jungle, learning a different way of lifestyle into the batik village where Ecoteer started a school program. You’ll see that this children are different from others: they are happy to stay in school, a simple structure made of bamboo and other natural elements, learning and playing with colours, numbers, and home-made games.
The batik tribe are living a difficult period, because the government force them to become sedentary. They lived thanks the natural resources of the forest, but the laws limited and forced them to spend the most of their time into the village. Their diet has also changed because they started to eat rice, sugar, biscuits.
Without a food education they easily become addicted to sugar.
Ecoteer try to create a strong relation with the batik tribe, through education program and trekking and camping into the forest with batik women.
How to transform a white wall in a murals?
Ecoteer asked me if I was glad to realize a little murals for the house! The theme was: the forest, but they gave me completely freedom about the subjects.
I love draw creature and spirit, so I immediately thought of the Spirit of the forest: a creature made from different animals surrounded by birds and butterflies (one of the interns loves butterflies, so I thought she would like to see some of them).
(I realize it with markers of different sizes)
I’m really happy about the result: if I stay in a beautiful place with lovely people it is more easy for me sharing, draw better and be generous! Thanks to all Ecoteer community to sharing their time and love with me!