Girl Gone Wild – My Life in the Sumatran Jungle, Indonesia
24th January 2020
...after just two days of clearing, replacing the grass roof slats and making good the rotting bamboo walls, our house appeared ready to move into. Were we mad?
I love adventure but even my wildest dreams could never ever match the amazing experiences that lay ahead of me. I have a Sumatran partner, Teson. He and I decided to purchase a rante of Sumatran land; a rante measures 20 x 20 metres. We chose a patch of earth located approximately 3 kilometres away from the bustling tourist village of Bukit Lawang, nestled between a cocoa and a rubber tree plantation, next to the Bohorok River.
Our first project was to create a “garden toilet”. We dug a hole 2 metres deep and placed wooden slats to cover the hole, leaving just a small opening. Since squat toilets are common across Asia, using the garden toilet didn’t take much adjustment. With four bamboo walls but no roof, you have to time your toilet visits to avoid the rain!
After the third or fourth ghost story and wanting to be careful of the spirits, I decided to purchase an energy-saving bulb as apparently spirits won’t come close to your house if you have a light on. In the daytime, I could charge it at the cafe or local guesthouse.
From my wooden hut experience, I gained a deeper insight into not only Sumatran culture but also in the hardship many people in this part of the world experience. Life can be tough when you live without luxuries and Sumatran’s have large families to support as there are no provision systems or pension schemes.