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Text by Jennifer Ekström
Photos by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
My name is Jennifer Ekström and I am 18 years old. I come from Stockholm, Sweden where I study animal care. I am in my final year of studying and I got the opportunity to go to Borneo and volunteer at BSBCC as my final internship. I have now been here volunteering for five weeks and it has been one of the best five weeks of my life and I am really sad to leave. This has been an amazing opportunity that I have wished to do ever since I heard about it when I started at my school. All the work we do here at the center have been fun but also hard and challenging.
The work during normal days is often similar, in the bear house there is a schedule for the week where you can see what you are supposed to do every day. Some of the work that we do every day is preparing all the food for the bears, clean cages, give medicine and more. Out of that we have went out to collect banana leaves, termites and done a lot of enrichments. The enrichments usually contain of banana and peanut butter wrapped in leaves or wood. The bears always seem to enjoy the enrichments so that makes it fun for me to prepare them. The last week I started my bigger enrichment project together with my buddy Azwie. We used an old enrichment that the bears didn’t use and improved it. The enrichment is now inside of Pandas cage and I hope she likes it.
The staff at BSBCC are all very friendly and helpful, they all have made the work a lot easier and funnier. They are all welcoming and always take good care of you and the bears. It has been fun to get to know and work with all of them. They are always checking up on you so that everything is good cause of the hard work and the heat. I am definitely going to miss all of the staff here at BSBCC.
I have learned a lot of new things about the bears, the rainforest and about the culture. The time here has been wonderful even though as a Swede that are not used to it, had to live with the heat, humid air, insects and of course the leaches. A few years ago, I would have been too scared to do this but I have never regretted my choice of applying to this internship at BSBCC. I am so grateful that I got this opportunity from my school, these five weeks have gone to fast and I am not ready to go home yet. I am really going to miss all of it!