One solution to a serious problem in the rainforest – jam envy!!

By Dan Sargison, Base Camp Technician 

When I initially became involved in this expedition, in the planning, the endless points to discuss, research and consider, food was often brought up. And rightly so! It’s our fuel and can make or break the morale of a team if there’s not enough – or the wrong kind.

When I asked – “What will we be eating for three months Martin?” The answer was always pretty similar – “Rice and tinned fish”.

 Now I was fully prepared for this although I suspected there might be a few treats up a few sleeves, but while the guys were buying the food in Banjarmasin, I was in Jakarta and didn’t see any of it until we started the mammoth task of moving it up-river to Camp Foyle. I saw the occasional box and felt jars inside, and then there’s noodle mountain but I was full of glee when I discovered the jars were in fact not just Tim’s peanut butter for his mammal traps, but included jars of jam and chocolate spread! Having a sweet-tooth, this brought me untold joy. UNTIL DINNER TIME!

 Always having lots of rice on the table when the call comes for “MAKAN! MAKAN!” (Indonesian for eat but roughly translated as “dinner’s ready!”) is great, but when you’ve had rice every day for weeks, sometimes it just puts you in a mood. That is, until you realise that with a bit of powdered milk and a sprinkle of sugar, you’ve got rice pudding! HURRAH!! Now the jam can be used to its full, mouth-watering potential.

But what happens to a team if someone *cough* (Tim) always takes a massive desert spoon of jam and you try and be sparing and us a smidgen? I’ll tell you what happens – you run out of jam fast due to the onslaught of jam fever in a bid to get your fair share! Then as soon as the pot has been presented to the willing table-dwellers, it’s finished. NO MORE JAM! This is unacceptable. We’re not machines. We’re scientists! Explorers! IT Technicians! We have needs, and so our store-master came up with possibly the best idea since sliced bread – The Jam Raffle!!

 The Store Master says: “The ‘jam raffle’ was born purely out of frustration! Give the responsibility to the people, and they can destroy their own resources if they so wish.”

So there you have it.

There have been 2 jam raffles at Camp Foyle, and I feel like I’ve been lucky with both having won a jar of Pineapple, and a jar of Blueberry. The dinner table is such a sight, with more jars than people and plates scattered around, although playing swapsies always helps us to bond, as long as a promised swap is delivered. Otherwise there’ll be trouble.