|Arrived at Ban Navang! Arlyne and Tony with some of the villagers who were working on the wildlife monitoring.|
The walk on the trail back was absolutely stunning. It is such a beautiful forest, it’s hard to describe and no adjective would probably ever do it justice. On the walk back we got lucky again and saw some Douc Langurs! They really are amazing creatures. And they sure make some giant leaps as they make their way from tree to tree.
We stopped midway to have lunch, and reached Ban Navang shortly after 3 pm (about a 16-kilometer walk from Camp 6, towards the opposite direction than Tha Phai Ban). Ban Navang is a very nice, but very poor, village of about 310 people. With support from the WMPA they have been able to build water wells, a school, and the typical “toilet houses” you see in Lao villages: small, little houses made up of wood and palm leaves with a squat toilet. They also have some water wells where Arlyne and I bathed today.
Now I’m sitting here, it’s past 6 pm, and I realized just how tired I am! I’m also exhilarated by the last couple of days. It was a very enriching trip, where I saw a whole different side of the NT2 project – a whole different side of life even – that I knew very little about. I’m fascinated by the passion and professionalism of my World Bank and WCS colleagues, and the whole WMPA and the villagers working on the transect teams, and their commitment to protect this wonderful and extraordinary forest, and in awe of all the beautiful species of wildlife I saw, the immensity of the jungle, and the opportunity to live side-by-side with villagers for five days seeing how they live, how they cook their meals, earn a living and view and experience life.
(* This diary was originally published in the World Bank's Lao PDR site)