Friday, December 7, 2012

Stuck in the Middle

On the way back to Kumai after all of our orangutan adventures, we stopped by one of the tiny villages on the banks of the Sekonyer River.  I can't for the life of me remember or figure out the name of the village.... anyone?  anyone?  Bueller?

At the entrance to the village is a collection of canoes, to be used as taxis during the rainy season when the water level is high and the village is flooded... no cars, just canoes and a couple bikes and motorbikes for the dry season:

Some of the canoes have decorative hornbills on them:

The village has a complicated relationship with the company that cleared the land all around them and planted oil palm plantations.  Our guide told us that half of the village works for the company, whereas the other half works for the national park and/or orangutan foundation.  Either way, someone in the village is clearly upset with the palm oil plantation owners, as this collection of signs greets you at the entrance to the village:

Forgive me, for I am totally butchering this translation, but I think the one above says something about "still there are those that want to be bribed, the world says.  PT. BTP relies on bribes [something about capital and compacts]" 

This one is pretty straightforward: "PT. Bumi Langgeng Perdeanatrada is forbidden from entering the Sekonyer River basin."

In any case, the village was quite poor from what we saw.  There was an elementary school, but children had to head to Kumai (the port town) to go to high school.  The village is built on either side of a canal that runs parallel to the Sekonyer, with a long sidewalk/main street running alongside the canal:

This friendly guy was sewing together palm frond roofing tiles for the town's houses: 

Everybody in town had really cute potted flower and/or vegetable gardens, raised on wooden platforms in preparation for flooding:

Rickety walkways over the canal:

The town's one sidewalk gets busy when school lets out:

At the end of the town dock, there is a sign that says "Bon Voyage":

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