It has been quiet on here lately. Ben has had a frustrating time with the weather. We went to Phnom Penh in September for a supposed few days however it was raining and raining, making return to the forest difficult to say the least. In the last posting he had roofed the building, and then left it for about 10 days. They hadn’t been able to build a lock-up-able shed yet and was having fun trying to remotely manage guarding responsibilities. After that first stretch away, he did return and quickly (half a day!) was able to put together a little shed that now has a padlock on it to store tools etc. Alleviating the need for a 24/7 guard. Deep breath of relief.
Patrolling the site has been fun and frustrating also. He has been struggling with the ever present loggers. This time, there has been demand from purchasers for rosewood – these middlemen have permission from unidentified powers to transport the wood and also to protect the logger and so there was quite a bit of activity going on for a while – and from the local villagers which is sad. There seems to be a little more will from the authorities to curb this activity as of this week and they just caught a couple of ox-carts of wood and sent it to the Wat.
Last month, they had a little bonfire per compliments of the Forestry Administration who came to supervise. These particular items belonged to loggers from Siem Reap or Kompong Thom.
One of the nights when Ben was sleeping out there, they heard a hard at work. He and his workers quickly got up and went out in the direction of the sound. They managed to creep up on the logger and caught his attention with a picture (below)
He managed to escape with his chainsaw leaving his backpack of other equipment which they confiscated. After which, Ben and his team looked around them and found they were in the dark without a compass and without the GPS. No sky to speak of due to pouring rain. Ben had his thongs on. One of his workers was carrying Ben’s boots intending to wear them himself (Ben didn’t want to get them muddy so he himself didn’t wear them). They tromped back to their worksite – finally finding a road they knew and following it in the wrong direction for a bit before turning around the right way. Ben has learned to take his GPS on night time raids.
Here was another find – a tree that they are so desperate to down that they are digging up the roots. It is a Tnong (a type of rosewood) that is full of holes but they want it so bad they are digging the roots. Ben told them not to cut it down and it is still there – for the present.
And finally here is a picture of the jumping caterpillar who I was referring to in a previous post. It hatched or transformed I should say into a moth. There has been all sorts of gossip going around about these guys. I head a story in Rovieng that they are living in Umbrella trees and that if they fall on you, you die. And so the Umbrella trees should not be played under, if not cut down. Amazing the stories that go around.
On the business front, we found someone to design a logo for us. Here are the options that she came up with for the first draft. We have chosen the name beTreed – meaning get treed – i.e. as in like a racoon stuck up a tree with dogs chasing it. But a slightly more positive connotation – get up in the trees. Stay in a treehouse. Fly through the trees on ziplines etc. That is the idea. We like the first design. Stay tuned in for the website although it may be a little while! But I hope not too long.