Blog - A project site visit to Kampung Belungkor
All in a Day’s Work – Following the Daily Duties of a Technical Officer – Thoughts from an Admin Officer
Recently, I joined the technical team for a visit to Johor as part of the GEF SGP Project which is to improve local livelihood and ensure environmental protection. The journey from KL to the project site took us 4.5 hours (I cannot imagine how it’s like for the project officer to drive such long distances every month!). Wow! It felt good to give my stiff limbs a stretch when we finally arrived in Bandar Penawar.
After checking in at the local inn, we headed down to town to KEJORA for a meeting to present the findings from previous visits and to discuss the way forward for the project (attending a meeting after that long drive? I’m so glad that I’m not doing this all the time). On the bright side, they did serve us some very delicious banana fritters which we dipped in sweet soya sauce (Johor style). After the meeting, it was time to take a rest (Finally!). Well, apparently not as the team informed me that we had to get ready to carry out a firefly survey as part of the project activity.
We met up with the local boatmen who took us along the Belungkor River and its tributaries where fireflies have been spotted by locals. I love boatrides as I always find it exciting to feel the wind in your face and listen to the sounds as the boat cuts through the water. It is therapeutic to the soul especially if you are from the city to just sit back and enjoy and admire the natural surroundings.
It was amazing how the boatman knew the river like the back of his hand as he expertly maneuvered through the settling darkness! After travelling upstream for almost 45 minutes, he finally stopped at a spot where he said there were fireflies. Initially, there was nothing but mosquitoes feasting on us but after awhile, they finally appeared. At first there was just one shy twinkle, and then two. And before we knew it, there was a whole symphony of twinkling lights. Some even came near to us and one settled on my finger when I reached out my hands towards them. Just awesome!
And just when you thought you’ve seen it all, Mother Nature hands you another surprise. During the boat ride back to the jetty, we saw bright sparkles in the water next to the boat. At first we thought it was the reflection of the stars on the water surface but it turned out to be a type of zoo plankton! What a sight! It was a very eventful and successful survey, I must say as we headed back to shore.
Though I may not join the team often in field surveys, I am happy that I had the opportunity to witness this amazing spectacle. I am glad that we are doing something meaningful to help protect these wonderful creatures and I definitely look forward to joining the team in future field trips.