Sharon Williams is an Animal Saviour and expatriate woman living in a remote village in Indonesia with her award winning photographer husband.I met Sharon whilst working at a Natural Health Clinic in Melbourne about 8 years ago. I instantly fell in love with her spark and know you will enjoy what she has to say. Sometime in the next 18 months we plan on taking our children on one of the volunteer projects she recommends, perhaps our readers will be inspired to contact her for a recommendation as well .Welcome to WIIYKF Sharon and thanks so much for your time today.
Where were you born and where are you currently living?
I was born in Melbourne and I am living in a small village on the side of Mt Papandayan (an active volcano) in West Java, Indonesia.
What brought you to this place and how long have you lived here?
I never wanted to visit Indonesia … I thought of Bali and bogans. Then I found Little Fireface Project and Prof Anna Nekaris, a Professor in Anthropology and Primate Conservation and one funny chick! Her dedication to saving a Critically Endangered species, Javan Slow Loris brought me here for three months … I’ll be staying for almost two years, with Michael, my wildlife photographer husband.
What other places have you lived?
I lived in Berlin when I was younger … all because of a boy. He was hot and worth it.
What languages do you speak?
I speak only English well … I am trying to learn Bahasa Indonesian. My hand gestures are amazing!
How many children do you have and who are they?
My children are all the animals that need saving in this world. “You can’t save them all” right? Right! … but you can give then a fighting chance. My children are also the children of the muslim village I live in. I run nature club and have set up a six month environmental education program which is doing amazing things. My goal (and I am getting there) is to have a condensed version of Nature Club available in several languages, all downloadable from my website www.wildvolunteer.com .. So if ANYONE would like to translate some pages for me … I’d be forever grateful ( I have a Maasai translation and that makes me happy)
Eventually, after someone who is LOADED funds me, I would like to send “environmental education” packs to schools in developing countries to include all coloured pencils, colouring pages, puzzle pages, A4 paper, craft materials and lesson plans … a whole kit to do the whole one month course.
What do you love the most about your expat children?
The animals …That they don’t even know you are trying to help them.
The real children … They are grateful for every single thing you do. The village I live in is rural and a world away from material bullshit, so having coloured pencils or crayons to use is the highlight of the week.
What shits you the most about your children? sorry inappropriate question! I’ll answer , “Miss Miss Miss Miss Miss” It is 24/7!
What school do your children go to and why?
NATURE CLUB … because it is more fun than their local school.
What is your job? If you are lucky enough to be a lady of leisure then what are your hobbies?
My job is running Wildvolunteer … totally a volunteer job for me too! So after being made redundant buy a bunch of assholes that slaughtered all of the kangaroos at a ‘so-called’ wildlife sanctuary, my husband and I decided to volunteer at worthy Wildlife Conservation organisation world-wide for three years. We haven’t got past Java yet!
The best bit is … we were due to resign less than 48 hours after we were made redundant! Thank you Conservation Volunteers Australia for the trip! Oh … and never visit Little Desert Nature Lodge. They are cruel.
What was the easiest thing settling into a new country?
Great people, there was no settling in. It is hard to explain, but it felt “right”
What was the hardest thing settling into a new country?
We are vegan, so trying to explain that we don’t eat meat was difficult! All good now though and the tofu runs aplenty!
WHAT is the most challenging thing about being an expatmumma?
Missing my Melbourne mumma. Mum and dad are in their 80’s and are as crazy as me. I miss that ‘silliness’. I miss the Champagne at Level 28 Crown Metropol, Melbourne (truly I do!!!). I dream about it! I miss my whacky friends.
What is the BEST thing about being an Expatmumma!
Being away from the dictatorship of the Australian government. I never realised what a “nanny state” we lived in. Being away from commercialism and materialism is good for the soul.
Describe a usual day?
Our days are never the same … but a usual week consists of:
- Photographing Birds and Butterflies in the day
- Deliver environmental education programs in a fun and hands on way.
- Observe Javan Slow Loris and take data for up to six hours a night.
- Assist with making field guides of local wildlife and plants
- Constantly thinking of how to bring environmental education to children in a fun way.
- Drinking the worst coffee you can imagine
- Rescue and release of lorises
- Surveying filthy animal markets for illegal wildlife
- Photographing lorises and other nocturnal critters at night.
What is the best thing about living in this place?
The wildlife! If you look, it is there, in the wild! The kids … I love ‘em. Those who know me, know I am not a fan of kids, but for some reason they seem to like me
Where would your ultimate expat posting be and why?
Costa Rica. For the wildlife … you don’t have to look, it is there!
What is the best advice you have been given or you would give to another expat facing challenges in a new country?
“It is what it is”. Learn the shop-keepers names, learn everyone’s names … mix in, don’t just stay with people you know, make an effort with others and yourself. Bring champagne … sometimes there just isn’t any!
What is it you simply KHAN’t Face about living in this country?
The cruel wildlife trade … which is all throughout Asia.
See learn more about Sharon, or about volunteer programs you can visit her website or