So, week two and we spent 5 days in the jungle, 2 hours boat ride up stream from the bantang ai reservoir, where we satyed in a wooden lodge next to the longhouse of an iban village. Its safe to say this was the best thing ive done in my life and undescribable experience so i won't even bother to try.
Basically we we're doing some volunteer work which consisted of building a path for the volunteer lodge, price tags for the iban crafts and step building. as u can see from the picture, i am a pretty good step builder. i can't take all the credit though and i must say thanks to the chief who gave me his sacred wooden hammer, once used to kill an enemy warrior and then to crack open his head to enable the eating of his brain. or at least thats what i like to think, but the reality is he cut it of a tree two minutes before it was in my hand, but still i was grateful all the same, particularly when faced with my two greates fears, heights and wasps.
standing about 80metres up on a hill that was probably 45 degrees, dizzy from all the stakes i'd been hammerin in the ground in the equatorial heat, and who should arrive but willy the wasp. i tried to ignore him but after five minutes of buzzing i could stand no more. i turned to face him and swung my hammer, but the shot was poor and whilst i hit him it was weak and all i served to do was anger him. he turned round a flew right at me. knowing there could only one winner i was determined it wan't going to be willy. i planted my feet into the ground, pulled back the hammer and swung it as hard as i could making a great connection. i never saw willy again. it was a great triumph for me but the sweet success was soured when the rest of the group refused to call me 'jon the hammer' as i had requested.
incidentally the brain eating thing did happen as recent as 60 odd years ago and they'd also cut off enemy's ears and wear them on a necklace. i learnt a lot about the iban culture and more importantly got to share in it with them. I was lucky enough to drive a longboat, play 'crocodile' with the iban kids, work with the iban men as well as play music and drink rice wine with them at the evening time. it truly was amazing.
iam trying to get some more photos from the girls on the tour so i will post them as and when i do this.