Trying To Locate The Inaccessible Areas

Animal_rescue_boat The same day we were in Toili, following the town meeting, the farm visits and animal treatments, we decided to keep on driving as far as we could to see how close we could get to the areas still inaccessible. We drove for about an hour before we couldn’t get any further.

By this time it was already 7:00 pm and we still had a 4+ hour drive back. And to delay our trip even more, we decided that it was critical to find and rent a boat then, so that we could try to get into the inaccessible areas first thing the next morning via the ocean shore.

At some point during my 1-hour nap in our rescue vehicle, the rest of the team managed to find a boat and successfully planned out our trip for the next day. I hadn’t been able to see the boat we were renting, but I imaged something similar to the boats we used in Borneo to get deep into the jungle to rescue orangutans from the burning forest: just barely on the border between safe and not safe (taking into consideration the thousand dollars worth of equipment we had with us and the constant bailing out of water).

Mudslide_village_1 I’ll skip over the details of the remainder of the ride home and our early departure the next morning. We arrived to the boast dock right on time (Indonesian time = 2 hours late), loaded up, got as comfortable as possible and jetted out into the warm Pacific waters.

We had a clear view of the coast line all the way to our destination. We weren’t passing any villages at this point, just lots and lots of forest. But we could see the magnificent size of the mudslides that started at the top of the mountains and rushed all the way into the ocean. The flood waters were powerful enough to rip a path down the hillside taking out any trees in their way and creating waves of mud. The image of these mudslides gave us an eerie feeling; not sure what to expect in areas that were inhabited with humans.

After 3 hours cruising down the Eastern coastline of Sulawesi we arrived at our first destination. What we learned after meeting several people on our arrival was that those who survived the floods only return to the village during the day to try and rebuild what was lost. Then, before the sun sets everyone heads back to the refugee camp, also the location where supplies have been air-dropped.

As far as animals are concerned, the truth is what we feared the most: The majority of the animals in this village did not survive. These were not farming villages like we had seen the previous day, these were fishing villages. However, chickens and goats were kept as an additional food and milk resource. We were able to help a couple people who’s chicken’s had survived, but had grown abscesses on their legs and feet. As far as goats, those that survived remain at the refugee camp.

Continue reading about our team’s work in the next blog post…..

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