What years were you in Borneo?
1990-1997, 2000, 2001, 2012
What areas of Borneo were you in?
Lg. Bangan – Tutoh. Lg Puak – Upper Baram
What brought you to Borneo?
I first came to Borneo at the request of the Penan headman from Lg. Bangan to help teach sustainable farming methods using permaculture techniques. For three years I lived with the Penan of Lg. Bangan and initiated the Penan Permaculture project.
In 1993 I met the father of my children, a Saban from Lg Puak/ Lg Banga area, and moved to his village Lg. Puak. For the next 3 years, I lived in this village bringing up my son (born in 1994) and living a fairly traditional life in Lg. Puak (formerly Lg. Balong). Due to complications with my second pregnancy, we returned to Australia in 1997 and have visited the area numerous times to bring the children to visit family.
If you had 3 minutes on a loud speaker that would be heard by the whole world (or all Americans) what would you tell them about Borneo?
Borneo is an amazing place filled with the most generous and beautiful people. The knowledge that these people have, not only about the rainforest but also about community living, sharing and love, could teach the world a lesson. I thought that I was going to Borneo to teach agriculture techniques, and yet I learned more about life, love and community than I could ever have learned in many lifetimes in the West. I have sat with some of the poorest people (by our standards) in the world and have felt more rich in spirit than I could ever imagine.
What an amazing place filled with amazing people it is.
How have your experiences in Borneo impacted your life outside of Borneo?
I will always have a connection to Borneo, and in particular to the Penan and Saban people. My life and me as a person has completely changed in so many ways as a result. Most importantly are my 2 beautiful children, who are Saban.
What do you think people in the US who have never been to Borneo should know about it?
They should know about how the destruction of the rainforest is impacting peoples’ lives.
What was the thing that was most surprising to you about Borneo?
The generosity of those who have so little.
Who was the most memorable person you met in Borneo, why?
Too many to say. The Penan are all memorable. Also my Saban family.
Do you have a story or experience you would like to share with us?
Many… not sure where to start!