Trip to Claket, Mojokerto! Yahoo? Yahoo not?

By Mandy Lim Pei Mun

Yesterday Pasquelle and I visited SMPN 15 to present out presentation on global warming and water pollution. As we had already given a presentation to SMPN 31; we have to be fair to SMPN 15. This time Pippin didn’t tag along. He and Curtis were busy at the mangrove conservation centre for mangrove tree planting. Bet they had mud spa!

After that all of us departed for MOJOKERTO! The trip we have been waiting for! Everyone was excited. Mojokerto is situated at the highland area where the weather is cooler (average≈22 °C, mountain top≈10°C) and very much refreshing because of the vast vegetation. The locals indulged in agriculture and small industry (making of chips from tubers (tapioca, sweet potato, ginger,etc) and bananas to earn a living. We managed to watch how this food is process in a small house. Everyone here was very friendly and kind. They tried to fulfill our needs as much as possible. We felt so dependent on them and very grateful they are with us. Then we met the head villager and had a small chat with him. I was the translator of the day. It’s difficult for me to juggle between two languages. Sometimes I’m lost in words.

Later we had dinner at sukri’s house. They served us corn on cob, steamed sweet potatoes, and fried mashed potatoes. Those were just appetizer but good source of energy for the hiking later. However poor Pasquelle ate so much thinking that was dinner. The main course is yet to begin!

Then we took off to the jungle as far as possible the car can take us to begin our hike. The night was chilly and the boys were being boys by trying to scare us with creepy stories. They think they can scare me with such lame stories but I’m no chicken.

Once the other group of team arrived, we started out hiking journey. Oh boy! Hiking wasn’t easy for me. I never do hiking in Malaysia; only once or twice of jungle trekking but jungle trekking is much easier as the route is not steep. This is just too extreme for me. As I was the weakest among the other interns, I have the experts by my side. I’m sorry Malaysia. I failed you.

After 10 minutes of hiking, I was about to give up but Sugeng and the rest were very motivating n supportive. I pushed my body to take one step at a time. The way up the mountain was very sloppy and slippery. I was climbing with my hands and legs.  Every step was excruciating. My muscles ached and I’m bathing in my sweat.

As we climbed the rocky, slippery, and sloppy terrain, suddenly there was a wild boar ran right across our walking path. Wild boar is vicious. I won’t want to mess with any. Lucky enough it wasn’t interested in us and ran deep into the jungle. I always believe animals only attack when they are threaten.

We continued our hike until we reached a flat and cleared land surrounded by trees. AT LAST I made it! I didn’t fail! WOW I never feel such great achievement in my life. I feel SUPERB!

We helped a little to set up the tents but the most of the work we left to the experts. I was thinking how am I going to survive in this forest without these people. They made a bonfire to keep us warm. Pasquelle and I have our own tents and so as Curtis and Pippin. The experts slept outside to keep us on guard. It was really cold. I was freezing in the tents. It was a little difficult for me to sleep in the cold but I manage to get some sleep. Curtis and Pippin slept pretty well.  I wasn’t surprise Curtis had a good sleep; you can just place him anywhere and he’ll still sleep like a baby.

We were woken up the next day to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful; an image that will always stay in my heart. This is beyond human creation. The view from the top was tremendous. The nature starts its day with the bees and birds pollinating the plants and flowers blooming once the sun rise. Everything seems so perfect at that moment.

After the sunrise watching, we walked back to our camp. They made us nice breakfast of French toast with strawberry jam or chocolate, instant noodle, cookies, and rice we packed from sukri’s house. After filling our tummy with so much food, we started packing out stuffs to leave the camp site. The way down was even worse than climbing up. Climbing up was tiring but less dangerous compare to going down which was slippery and very steep. Luckily I had Sugeng by my side. I hold on to him to keep my balance but most of the time I was sliding on my buttock. It is not advisable to do so. The rocks and tree stumps might cause serious injury to the genital area as I assume. Pasquelle, Curtis, Pippin, and I fell on our butts but I won for the most falling. HOORAY!

There was a car waiting for us down hill to take us to the base site of Tunas Hijau. We took shower to freshen up. The water was icy cold but was very very refreshing. Rain started to pour down and it made everyone so sleepy. We slept a little while to wait for the rain to stop for our next visit to the school of Claket.

Unfortunately the students left for home as we were late for almost an hour because of the downpour we had earlier. The headmaster of the school showed us their tree-planting area and we planted some seedlings. It started to rain again but it didn’t bother us much because we were glad the weather were nice when we were hiking.  We bid our farewell to the headmaster and thank him for the ginger candy he gave us.

We left for a Club brought up by Tunas Hijau to educate the children in the village of the importance of the ecosystem. We introduced ourselves to the kids. The kids were so shy but they were good kids. We had our lunch with the owner of the Club. The food was so tasty especially the sambal kangkung and the sambal chicken.

They then took us for a small tour around Mojokerto. We visited Candi Tikus and to cnother Candi which I have forgotten the name. Candi Tikus is below the ground. It was found by a farmer when he was working on the land while the other candi is above the land. Both Candis have its own uniqueness.

At the end of the day, everyone was very ecxhausted but we enjoyed our trip very much. I salute the children who climbed the mountain to plant trees and the effort the people we met do to protect the environment by practicing sustainable development; a good balance of civilization and nature.