Another coronavirus story (and much more)By Ennia, on 20/3/2020 10:48

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Since our arrival in Malaysia, so much has happened that I hardly know where to start with my update. From an outsider’s perspective, I really didn’t have much luck on my journey to the Malaysian rainforests – first the delay and complications during Cameron’s and my journey on the containership, followed by the heartbreaking end of our relationship, issues with my research permit for Malaysia, and now I had to cancel my fieldwork because of COVID-19. But sometimes the most challenging situations bring out the best in us, and in the middle of all of this chaos I feel incredibly strong, courageous, grounded and proud, thankful and inspired. During the time on the containership and in Malaysia I have learnt a lot about myself, about love and how to be alone – and of course also a few things about the rainforest.

While Cameron has travelled to Indonesia after our breakup (where he still is), I was lucky to join the very last trip into the Royal Belum State Park in the north of Malaysia, before the State Park (and all of Malaysia) closed until further notice because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The protected rainforest in Royal Belum is approximately 130 million years old and provides habitat for tigers, leopards, elephants, sun bears and hundreds of fascinating bird and plant species. The only people living inside Royal Belum are 17 communities of the Orang Asli, the indigenous peoples of Malaysia. Traditionally, they lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers, but now they live in basic settlements around the lake in Royal Belum. Visitors require an entry permit and can only enter by boat, so I was lucky to visit the project site together with a team of conservationists. They work on several projects with the indigenous communities to establish sustainable livelihoods – for example training for anti-poaching patrols, developing an herb trail around the village which tourists can visit, and collecting and propagating tree seed for restoration efforts. The latter is the reason why we were visiting the village. In collaboration with a local research institute, I am studying the potential for indigenous communities in Malaysia to establish an income from collecting high-quality seed and selling this to organisations who are planting native trees for restoration efforts. Not only does the project provide income, knowledge and skills to the Orang Asli community, it also develops a strong community based conservation program. As you can’t do conservation on an empty stomach, creating income from a sustainable source, linked to conservation, is the best way to go forward!

For me, the impressions of the last few weeks are irreplaceable – visiting the village of the indigenous community and getting a glimpse of their way of living, sleeping in a hammock in the jungle, the overwhelmingly loud sound of the rainforest at night, the gibbons in the early morning, spotting eagles, hornbills, otters and elephant traces, and getting to know incredible stories of people working in forest conservation and restoration. It feels like my trip has just started and I am so ready for more! Unfortunately, I had to leave Malaysia two days ago because of the national lockdown. I am on a paradise island in Thailand now, where I will wait for a while (not sure for what exactly) in a small beach resort, including gym and pool. I can continue with parts of my master thesis from here, let all the experiences from the last weeks sink in, and kitesurf every day. There are definitely worse places for a lockdown!

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Just arrived in Malaysia!By Ennia, on 14/2/2020 13:33

Nach 30 Tagen auf dem Containerschiff sind wir heute entspannt und enthusiastisch in Malaysia angekommen - und mitten in einem tropischen Regensturm geraten. Wir hatten eine aussergewöhnliche Zeit, voller unerwarteter Erlebnisse und Eindrücke in eine komplett andere Welt. Wir hoffen, euch gefällt unser Video, und ihr könnt euch ebenfalls einen Eindruck verschaffen, wie das Leben auf dem Schiff aussieht!


That’s us disembarked! After 30 days on board the CMA CGM Cassiopeia we have arrived in Malaysia in the middle of a monsoon rainstorm. We have had a truly exceptional time and a real view into another world.

Hope you enjoy the video (we think the song’s suiting)!

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Blue for a whileBy Ennia, on 17/1/2020 10:21

After an unexpected and wonderful stay in Malta, we have finally embarked on the CMA CGM CASSIOPEIA, which will be leaving port at any moment. From here on, we are travelling to Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and then to Malaysia. We send you a short video about the last few days and our first hours on board of the ship. As there will be no internet connection on the ship, you will hear again from us when we arrive in Port Kelang, around the 15th February!

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Unsere Reise mit dem Containerschiff ist gebucht!By Ennia, on 27/11/2019 12:07

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Wauuuuw! Wir können gar nicht in Worte fassen, wie überwältigt wir sind, dass wir diese Reise nun wirklich antreten können. Danke vielmals für eure Unterstützung, die dieses Projekt möglich gemacht hat.

Wir haben die Reise gerade eben gebucht - am 6. Januar geht’s mit dem Containerschiff von Genua in Richtung Malaysia los. Wir werden im winterlichen Italien starten und miterleben, wie es dann jeden Tag etwas wärmer wird. Insgesamt werden wir 27 Tage auf dem Containerschiff verbringen, also viel Zeit um den weiten Horizont und das Meer zu bestaunen. Wir sind sehr aufgeregt und es gibt noch einiges zu organisieren, beispielsweise brauchen wir ein ärtzliches Zeugnis um zu bestätigen, dass wir fit genug sind um einen Monat lang auf dem Schiff zu leben. Ausserdem brauchen wir noch Impfungen, Visas und denken langsam auch ans Packen. Und natürlich gibt es auch für die Masterarbeit noch viel zu tun, im Dezember werde ich mich möglichst gut darauf vorbereiten. Auf dem Schiff gibt es nämlich auch kein Internet. Das heisst, möglichst viel Literatur bis dann herunterladen.

Ihr werdet nun immer wieder von uns hören und miterleben, wie unsere Reise weitergeht und was wir alles so erleben.

Mit herzlichen Grüssen Ennia und Cameron

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