Orangutan, Sumatra, Indonesia

Tree People of Indonesia


Don’t just hope, dear. Plan and do. Only reserve hope for the things you cannot control.
― S.A. Tawks, Mule

Selamat Pagi – Good Morning

I would like to take you away. Take you away momentarily from your computer, from your iPad and take you 7,000 miles across the world to the deep, thick, heady jungle that is Tangkahan, Sumatra.

You don’t just walk into a jungle… you ENTER it.

It engulfs you, encapsulates you and dominates you.

With its breathless humidity, over arching foliage and constant drone of birds, insects & rainfall.

You know you’re not in Kansas anymore “Dorothy” 😉

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At 97% humidity the jungle really took its toll on all of us. Having spent time hiking in the Thai and Costa Rican rainforests, I felt sure I was prepared for this but I was wrong. As we trekked higher and higher the nausea set in. My sweat had turned cold and all I could think about was sleeping.



The guide immediately noticed my breathlessness & shaking. Quickly he sat me down and kept me conscious with smelling salts & dextrose tablets.

It was painful & slow. The burn of my muscles, the careful reluctance to reach for the next termite invested tree or moss covered rock as we scrambled up the mountain.
Eventually, with tears in my eyes and blisters on my feet, I reached the top to be met by one spectacular view!
A mother and baby Orangutan together! So close I could almost touch them. We learned the bond between mother and baby is very special and lasts for at least 10 years. Then they are sent off alone in the wilderness to fend for themselves & will never see their family again.

Seeing an wild Orangutan for the first time was almost overwhelming! You feel so humble, so insignificant. At that moment the jungle stood still. The sweat trickling into my eye as I stared solidly at this wild, innocent creature.

‘Orang’ meaning people & ‘utan’ meaning trees, you can immediately see in one effortless leap why these amazing creatures are named ‘the tree people’

Orangutans live for approx 70/80 years and pregnancy of each expectant mother last about 7-9 months. There is a lot of jealously that runs through these creatures. They really are very human. A female Orangutan can steal another’s baby quite easily if left unattended to raise as it’s own.

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After the jungle we toured throughout Sumatra. From metropolitan Medan, through small untouched villages of the local Toba tribes.
Something that was the biggest surprise about Sumatra was its wealth. By no means is it a rich country and it is still very much firmly placed in the 3rd world category of economic progress.

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However the level of poverty and malnutrition was really very low. There of course were very poor areas where working, bent over in rice fields all day to come home to a dusty wooden shack was certainly the norm. But I can honestly say I didn’t see one beggar, no one sleeping in the streets & no one starving.

Overall Sumatra, for me was a magical, enlightening place full of contemplation & dedication to itself.

Terima kasih – Thank you

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