Climbing Mt Kinabalu – Malaysia

Finally, we managed to climb up to the top of Mt Kinabalu. We had been to the Park Headquarters a few¬†times before¬†but never actually climbed up Southeast Asia’s tallest mountain. It was hard work but definitely worth it. Click here and have a look at the pictures from our trip. Within the three days in the Park, we had beautiful sunshine and fantastic views as well as torrential downpours. The hike really isn’t that long (18km up and down in total), but the slope and the altitude make it pretty hard. It is just amazing how hard even a few steps up a rock are at 4,000m above sea level. Well, we made it in the end!

PNPM Mandiri in Action, Java

In Kampung Nangleng, PNPM-Mandiri, the Indonesian Government’s major community-based development program, has provided funding for footpaths and water connections to the houses of the villagers perched between rice terraces. Here in the foothills of Java’s Gunung Pangrango, like in tens of thousands of villages all across Indonesia, villagers have taken the lead to decide on priorities for small scale investments in their neighborhoods and show how bottom-up development approaches can lead to faster, cheaper, and more effective solutions that meet the neds of the local people.

My daughters and I were just exploring local villages during a weekend hike in the mountains an hours drive out of Jakarta (well that is without the Sunday evening traffic jam upon return). Luckily, I discovered a few weeks ago an excellent set of hiking maps of the foothills of Gunung Gede and Gunung Pangrango. Plenty of trails are easily accessible and make for great weekend outings. Today, we made it back intime to avoid getting soaked by the usual afternoon thunderstorm. We are certianly not serious hikers, but just getting out for a few hours of outdoor walking around rice fields and forests is just so refreshing. Today, the best part were five village kids who decided to accompany us for the four-hour hike. They were better guides than any of my maps, given that the trails had become pretty much completely overgrown, and we would not have found them without the help of the kids. Here is a link with a few more pictures from our hiking adventures.