And then there was Sun

Selamat Pagi World,

It’s crazy what a difference the sun makes. After almost two weeks of pretty steady rain, finally Thursday dawned as a bright sunny day. With blue skies we were able to get back to our project work. Soon the damage that the rain had caused to the group mood was repaired and forgotten and once again we were there to support and care for each other. The sun has given our cheeks a bit more colour (even if my colour is decidedly red) so our faces now have such a glow. Without the constant rainy mist, the landscape here in Borneo has also been transformed. Tree-covered mountains constantly encircle the view with the traditional raised wooden houses scattered across the scene. Travel opens both the eyes and the mind to such extraordinary sights.

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Life in the long house has become so much easier now that the rain has stopped. Clothes actually dry, there are no more leaks in the roof and the lingering smell of damp isn’t quite so strong anymore. Despite some pretty unusual dreams caused by the malaria tablets, sleeping in the long house is also becoming more normal. Every night I lie within the protective shield of my mosquito net, reassured by the knowledge that no centipedes or scorpions should be attacking me while I sleep. I fall asleep to the sound of the cicadas and birds deep within the surrounding jungle and am woken by the gentle buzzing of the rather large flying beetles who live in the beams above our heads (opinions of these creatures very much changed when we found out that they could actually sting us). Being away from the Internet has provided a new sense of peace. With no weather forecast, each day must be taken as it comes with little forward planning. The lack of worldwide news allows the daily focus to be on the little bubble of life in which we are living rather than concerning ourselves with global sorrows. Camp Tinangol has become a most welcoming home.

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But by far the best thing about the sunny weather is the beach trips. Following a rather soggy trip to the sea last Saturday, this week we were able to have a beautiful day with a beach BBQ at The Secret Place. The sun shone down on us as we enjoyed good food, good company and good views. We had found our very own patch of paradise. Bobbing along in the water was so incredibly peaceful, even if one particularly big wave did cause me to accidentally set my sunglasses free into the ocean. If this is what all gap years feel like, then I cannot recommend them highly enough. Not only am I spending my days in such beautiful places but I have also learnt so much about myself, developing my courage, confidence and friendships. Stepping out of our comfort zones and defying our fears can allow us to gain so much more from life. Everyday I strive to do something that scares me, even if just a little, for I believe that if overcoming fear becomes a normal part of my life then one day I shall be truly fearless.

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Hopefully the sun is shining with you too so that you can also share in the positivity that sunshine has brought to us in Borneo. Just make sure that if it is sunny you apply appropriate amounts of sun cream. Fingers crossed that my feet will stop being quite so red sometime in the near future.

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I’ll keep you posted,
Joanna x

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