I first met the founder and CEO of BSBCC, Siew Te Wong, back in 2008. He was pursuing his PhD in Wildlife at the University of Montana and I my Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry. I visited Brother Wong in the summer of 2012 and discovered an amazing opportunity to be involved, first hand, in the rescue of the Sun Bear. Well, long story short, here I am and this is my story.
Just a quick side note. I've never been a great writer or possessed a good memory, so I always have my Canon S95 with me to capture all the beautiful moments.
8th of June 2014, my first day as a volunteer. I was greeted by a skinny guy named Thye Lim, 27 years old , and he explained all the rules and regulations I was required to follow. There was one key rule he emphasized the most though, no unauthorized feeding of the bears, as safety is extremely important. Next, he got me my nametag and gumboots and I was put to work right away with a lovely lady from Holland named Jaike.
But I know what you're thinking, there’s got to be more to the area than just volunteering with the BSBCC, right? It's an excellent question and the answer is YES. There's an area called Sandakan and I went on a boat ride organized by Future Alam Borneo. I wasn't prepared for this of course and only had my BSBCC t-shirt and jeans on. It was quite a ride for most of us on the boat since we weren't used to the way the dragon boat rides on the water but we managed to make it back to shore safely and in one piece.
Going around and trying cheap new food is also exciting. I recommend you go to Wati, a small stall outside the center. You get a big plate of fried rice for only RM5.
And don't forget to check out the Ba Lin rooftop restaurant for some high end cocktails and pastries.
If you have a couple days off from volunteer work you can go to the Kinabatangan River and go on a boat cruise or go on a night walk. You can go on the Oxbow Lake as well and look for wildlife and lots of birds. The wildlife and scenery here is truly beautiful and I would highly recommend you go on the boat ride and experience it for yourself.
I like the term work hard, party hard. We had a farewell party at a fancy resort. All the laughter and fun we shared that night made for a wonderful memory.
I may not have the best wildlife or science knowledge or be the strongest in the center but one thing I'm sure of is I'm not alone and I'm learning everyday. "Knowledge becomes wisdom when it becomes personal experience" That is what I got from the BSBCC, and if you volunteered here too, I'm sure you'd agree with me.
Last but not least though, the biggest gift I gained from this experience, is friendship. I hope you decide to share the new adventures of you life with us. If I can do it I believe you can too.
Thank you BSBCC and see you again!
God bless you and KCCO~!