End of year message from Willie

Dear Masarang friends,

End of the year, time to look back and to see what lies ahead in 2012. In 2011 it was the 10 year anniversary for the Masarang Foundation in Indonesia and and thanks to the hard work of the dedicated and well-structured Steven Smit Masarang International developed. In Hong Kong, a HK Masarang group is founded, comprising motivated and capable people.

Replanted forest
Yesterday I walked through the Masarang forest and right now, when I look out the window from where I am writing this, I can see the forest on the Masarang mountain range. I see a jungle where ten years ago only a small patch of forest was left , where on the left top just corn and dry land rice was grown. Now that same area gives as much income to the people as when they had to farm on the extreme steep slopes! It offers works to the sugar palm tappers and the employees of Masarang. The thinning wood can already be used by woodworkers.

Earnings for local people and nature
But there’s more to be found down the mountain! Ten years ago there were about three to four floodings per year in the village Matani, at the foot of the mountain ridge. People at the mountain village Rurukan had to stop their agriculture, every time there was no rain in two weeks because they had to take water to the top in jerry cans on motorbikes and in cars. Sources ran dry, and rice could not be harvested due to lack of water.

And now? New sources developed and the ancient sources now supply water all year. A stream which disappeared fifty years ago, flows again. Three instead of two rice harvests for many rice fields. Groundwater in some areas at the foot of the mountain is 12 meters higher, allowing people to live there. And the birds and animals are back. The forest generates more rain which helps the agriculture on the Masarang mountain. Due to our reforestation on steep slopes, we have created a value for the community that I estimate is worth more than a million euro per year! And as a model …

First village hub ready for use
2011 also was the year we had finished the first Village Hub. Actually that was the day before yesterday. The mini-factory, based on my patent brings local people drinking water, electricity, fuel and many other benefits and runs entirely on sunlight. A zero waste system based on how nature recycles everything. This year we also started with the turtle project at Tulap, near the animal rescue center Tasikoki and we built new palm nurseries. Thanks to the hard work of Steven and Marie-José, the interviews, the Nemo meeting and the broadcast of the Dutch TV program ‘de Rëunie’ many volunteers came to help us and made it possible for us to do more for nature.

Plans for 2012
I feel privileged that so many people started to follow our work and support us. Thank you all! Your help makes it possible to give a truly meaningful contribution to this world to help people and nature! In 2012 we want to expand the facilities at Tasikoki so we can save the many animals that still need to be rescued from the people and traders where they are now captured. If enough money comes in, we want to build our bird island. An island of 80 hectares, uninhabited because there is no water, where hundreds of birds who are too tame to release, like our cockatoes can fly around freely and safely. We than also need a boat and communications equipment, etc … So keep supporting us and visit us to see what we do with your support!
In 2012 we hope to be able to send 200 children to school with our scholar ships and distribute more material for environmental education materials. We want to give 100,000 new selected sugar palm seedlings to farmers to plant on steep slopes. Made possible by new technology we want to let our orangutans communicate with other orangutans in zoos around the world , so many people become aware of the intelligence and social skills of these special animals.
As you can see, there is still much to do. Thanks to the support of Masarang International and its supporters, I hope we can continue this work for people and nature, in order to create a sustainable world.

From Tomohon, December 2011

Willie Smits