The Batek still rely heavily on the jungle, but are slowly integrating elements of the culture, technology, food and language of the surrounding Malay population. It is quite evident that if this continues at the rate it is, a lot of their unrivalled jungle knowledge could be lost. The unique language they speak is also under threat, spending time with them I learnt that the children often can't even understand the elders because the kids are learning elements of both Batek and Malay. To try and promote the value of their culture and knowledge Ecoteer employs some of the men as jungle guides and hires the women to lead foraging and camping trips for volunteers. Their knowledge of the environment is truly amazing and you can see how potentially beneficial it could be to fields like medicine.
We also worked with the village's children regularly, teaching English classes three times a week. At first they were very shy but over the course of our stay they became very comfortable around us and it was very sad when we had to leave them. As we left one of the ladies asked if we would remember them, needless to say they were unforgettable.
So, at the end of my trip I am left with a few thousand images and lots of memories. Be sure to check back here and on my 500px page (500px.com/joshuagray) where I will be gradually uploading images and in the near future I will be creating my first book containing more stories from my time in Malaysia and drawing attention to the issues facing the country's environment and people.
A big terima kasih to everyone who made this trip possible and made it a brilliant experience (you know who you are).
Ecoteer are always looking for more volunteers to help with their projects and I cannot speak highly enough of their staff in Merapoh, so have a look if you're interested: www.ecoteer.com