Kids Against Hunger

Birgit Wartenberg, a member of the Rotary Club of Belleville and Chair of the Rotary Club’s Indigenous Peoples Partnership, organized a tremendously successful 4th Annual Packing Party to support Kids Against Hunger Canada at Loyalist College’s Shark Tank, Saturday November 05, 2016.

Kids Against Hunger is a non-profit organization with a MISSION – to engage all Canadians, especially youth, in their goal to feed starving children in Canada and around the world.   Kids Against Hunger provides revolutionary raw foods developed by some of the world’s leading food scientists at Cargill, Pillsbury, General Mills and ADM to service groups (and interested friends) who organize an afternoon of “sweat equity” packing.

Each package provides six nutritionally complete servings to feed starving children around the world as well as the hungry here at home, for the low cost of 30 cents per serving.  These packages are boxed and delivered at home in Canada and abroad through partnership with humanitarian organizations.  As in the past, boxes will be distributed locally to the Gleaners Food Bank, Tyendinaga First Nations Reserve, and Salvation Army as well as Tipi Moza (Kingston), Sagamok & Wikwemikong in Northern Ontario, and Haiti.  KAH supporters and volunteers have packaged 1,376,664 meals!…and counting!

For additional information please contact Kids Against Hunger online at:   or  at

PO Box 212, Peterborough, ON K9J 6Y8 705.536.0957 or 1.888.883.KAHC (5242)

The orang utans of Kalimantan

Orang utans, the People of the Forest, are found only in the rainforest islands of Borneo, Indonesia, and Sumatra, Malaysia.   We visited the orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus, in the Indonesian province of Kalimantan, Borneo.

Wild orangutans are endangered.  Approximately 50,000 orangutans inhabit the forests of Asia.  Threats to wild orangutan populations include:

  1. habitat destruction by major agribusinesses that ravage massive tracts of land for logging;
  2. intensive monoculture  palm oil plantations; and,
  3. illegal poaching for the pet trade.

Orangutan ancestors diverged from the African great apes 16 to 19 million years ago then, migrated into Asia. Chimpanzees share 99% of their genetic makeup with humans and gorillas share 98% of their genome with humans.  Although orangutans share only 97% of this DNA with humans, a small portion of orang DNA matches that of humans more closely than the DNA of chimpanzees.

Orangutans are among the most intelligent primates.   The two Sumatran orangs housed at the Atlanta Zoo enjoy playing games on a touch-screen computer.  A 2008 study by V. Dufour et al determined that the two orangutans at the Leipzig Zoo can determine the costs and benefits of gift exchanges using  calculated reciprocity, which involves weighing and keeping track of these over long periods of time.  This has not been documented in any primate other than humans.

Orangutans are the most solitary of the great apes.  Social bonds occur primarily between mothers who nurture their dependent offspring for the first two years of an infants life.

How can YOU help?  Right here in our Canadian home we have primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas, one of Dr. Louis Leakey’s Trimates.  Dr. Galdikas has studied the wild orangs of Kalimantan since 1971.  Currently, she is a Full Professor at Simon Fraser University, B.C.   You can help her work by supporting the Orangutan Foundation International Canada.

OFI Canada works in three ways:

  1. to help local people;
  2. to conserve rainforest habitat; and,
  3. to protect the orangutans of Indonesian Borneo as well as other wildlife.

OFI Canada supports the conservation, protection, and understanding of orangutans and their rain forest habitat while caring for ex-captive orangutan orphans as they make their way back to the forest.

The journey is the destination

DATELINE: Kalimantan province, Indonesia, Island of Borneo, August 2016.

After a peaceful night in Jakarta, we flew Trigana Air to Pangkalan Buun (Mr. Buun’s Jetty), our first destination in Kalimantan. As a former airline pilot, I’d researched Trigana Air. I was a bit nervous about Trigana but they provided the only air service there from Jakarta!  At first glance, their reputation didn’t appear to be exactly stellar – in fact, they are on the European no-fly list!  (Not encouraging)

However I was reassured that their mishaps and crashes typically occurred on landing and almost all had been in West Papua.  That explained everything and actually made their pilots heroes in my eyes for even attempting to fly there.

Years ago, a friend of mine had flown for MAF in Papua New Guinea (same island as West Papua but a different country).   After asking me to move there to replace a pilot his company had just “lost”, he felt obliged to explain a wee bit further. “Well, he didn’t quit to go to another airline.  He crashed.   PNG is a rugged and mountainous country, with deep valleys and little flat land.   Take-offs are similar to those in northern Canada: start from the very end of the very short runway, stomp on the brakes, maybe use a little more flap than recommended to provide a burst of lift, apply full power THEN release the brakes.” And we both knew PMG’s heat and humidity further reduced aircraft performance.

I was convinced that Trigana was safe, yet….

Of course, I worried all for nothing!   Like the other inland flights we took throughout Kalimantan, Trigana’s crew was professional, we departed on time, the landings & take-offs were perfect, and the plane was in excellent condition inside and out.

Danson, our interpreter, met us at the airport in a late model Toyota and off we went. Following a short tour of the local boat docks, we walked the planks onto our klotok, a lyrically onomatopoeic name for the local boats.  Dozens of Blue-spotted mudskippers scooted across the mud at low tide.  On board Captain Mul (an ex-illegal logger) and Chef Ali greeted us.

Our 4 day river journey up the Sekonyer River had begun.

Our boat had a private bedroom with air-conditioning and TWO bathrooms.  No not one for me and one for Jeff but rather, one with squat toilet and shower for the crew (or us if we wished), and one with “Western” style toilet and shower (intended for the passengers).  In almost every washroom we visited in Indonesia (and later Japan), whether in a restaurant, a boat, or the airport, visual instructions were provided, e.g., image of a person squatting on a Western Toilet.

We settled into our wooden recliners on the top deck.  Our klotok put-putted along the river, allowing ample time to spot wild orangs and proboscis monkey troupes.  We noticed that for those who prefer a bed on dry land, options include one lodge and a couple villages that offer home-stays.  We encountered a couple dozen other klotoks, some accommodating 4 passengers but most designed for 2 people.  Some had private rooms on the main deck for the crew while the passengers slept on the upper open deck.  Others had private rooms for the guests.    We observed many of the female crew members (aka wives of the captains who washed and cooked) with rice paste sunblock – effective but not so attractive.