Whilst we were moving TRACC's camp and setting up a temporary camp we got to know the other volunteers, interns and staff even better, thrown closer together by the severity and immediacy of the situation we all found ourselves in. For the staff and long-term interns they were losing their home, evacuees from the threat of terrorism. For the volunteers an adventure and rapid departure from their initial plans, frustrating for some - enlivening for others.
It is somewhat easy to concentrate our writings on the "what" we did, the science, environment and physical work and miss out on the social aspects of the experience. So here's a few examples of what we considered to be the social highlights:
Relaxing next to the Longom river on an afternoon off, swinging in a hammock in the cool sea breeze and playing guess the fish from a series of macro pictures Eva had taken during her diving around Sipadan.
Having a camp party with a "colourful" dress code, playing drinking games and enjoying a good camp fire to wave farewell to Maggie, Flik and Mel as they head to the Philippines for a well deserved break.
Giving (hopefully) helpful comments to Romana as she produced her first radio play script as part of her English Literature degree which she finished at the camp.
Making expanding dial survey equipment out of spilt rope and beer cans with Evie and Jennie.
Watching the sun go down sitting on the pier at Longom enjoying a cool beer.
Feeding the caged monkey illegally kept by our host villagers, for what reason we weren't sure - he particularly liked raw eggs.
Trying to cross the river by hand paddling sitting in a plastic box, a technique which Mel excellently conquered.
Each being given henna tattoos by Lauren, Romana and Flik.
Holding a karaoke party for Sam's 21st and Bob's leaving do, at the hut on the end of the pier, where Sarah and Lauren set up a bar business, which was an almighty failure as in the end it was a free bar!
Pulling Romana out of the broken bridge when she stepped on a rotten plank as we walked back from the village in torrential rain, and Lauren in fits of laugher.
Playing with Puppy, a black doggy that appeared on the beach one day and never left - now adopted as a new TRACC mascot.
All these events and many more pulled us together into a close family unit, ready and focussed to start building a new home for TRACC on the North Tip of Borneo.