project review

Camp DIY

Review submitted by Laura Deigan, Severine Grosjean and Simon Rodin
Review date 11 Oct 2010


After spending two days in the capital acclimatizing and stocking up on the all-important biscuits and soy sauce, we undertook our two day Odyssey over land and water to reach our final destination.  This beautifully wooded hillside is to be our home for the next ten exciting weeks.

When the field staff first introduced us to the densely populated woodland, in which they claimed we would be setting up camp, it was with nervous excitement that we began removing some of the scrub and long grasses in order to make a clearing.

In this clearing we raised our immense tarpaulin, underneath this tarp we hung our hammocks, in these hammocks we would sleep.  The pride we all felt at the completion of our dormitories was evident across the faces of every single team member, staff included. After a short pause for a nutritious and delicious lunch of fresh dragon fruit and sticky rice work resumed at a feverish tempo, with our focus now turned to building a deluxe kitchen area.

Writing now three days after our arrival, we have since water-proofed our kitchen area, added a second sleeping area that includes a science tent and begun a section for the local Cambodian night guards - No one is overlooked in ‘Frontier Manor’!  Audacious plans for a dinning table and chairs, card table and a swing chair await confirmation.

A shower section has been discussed for those not in the mood for bathing in the tranquil waters of the river, which flows but two minutes walk from the camp. Living and working in an environment, such as this, we have already unsurprisingly stumbled across a huge wealth and variety of flora and fauna, even in the short time we have been here. From plants that play dead once touched to hop hoppity frogs; from butterflies as large as ones palm to stick-insects.

Wildlife is everywhere out here, most welcome, some not so... Mosquitoes are prevalent throughout the day but from dusk till dawn it is feast time. Meanwhile red ants and sun skinks are all too eager to move into a shady unzipped bag pocket.  We are already learning to adapt to these more demanding aspects of camp life and as the weeks progress, we will no doubt uncover new and different challenges.

As we write, the mood in the camp is anticipation – for the lunch that is about to be served – anticipation for future development in Frontier-Manor, anticipation for Sundays trip to the local village on our day off, but most of all anticipation for the week to come, which heralds the official start to our wildlife research.        


Read more about the Cambodia Tropical Wildlife Conservation and Adventure project.