Thursday, 30 May 2013

We are moving our blogs!

Thanks for visiting! We are in the process of moving our blogs to the Raleigh International website. Blogs from previous programmes will remain on Blogger as an archive, but to keep up to date with all the action you should bookmark the new ones so you can find them easily.

To follow Raleigh Borneo blog you can use the following link:

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Expedition 13C is officially over!!!

On Sunday we marked the end of Expedition 13C with a formal closing ceremony. The evening was filled with traditional dancing; speeches from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, Sabah and our Country Director, Sarah Hoare; and of course some delicious Malaysian food.

Following the ceremony the Raleigh Volunteers were taken back to the Borneo Paradise where we spent the last two nights of Expedition with last minute paperwork, group reflection and a BBQ with music supplied by the one and only DJ Jerrard. A memorable final night was had by all the participants.

Yesterday afternoon we let the Venturers go free to explore KK and begin the rest of their travels. For those who were booked on to the recommended flight, after a few hours in KK with their new friends, we picked them up, dropped them off and waved them goodbye.

The Volunteer Managers are now all heading back to Fieldbase to spend a few days tidying things up, completing paperwork and preparing for our own end of expedition celebrations.

It's been a memorable expedition and I've really enjoyed keeping you all up to date with a record number of blog entries. Thank you for the recent messages, it's been lovely to hear that you enjoyed reading about our adventures and that it brought the expedition to life for you.

We now declare Expedition 13C officially over, thanks for reading.

Jo Bloggs xxx

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Alpha 2's Opening Ceremony in Bulud Batu

Alpha 2's Opening Ceremony in Bulud Batu

By Jodi Mau (Logistics)

I had the honor of joining the Loop (Sarah and Helen) in attending the opening ceremony for Alpha 2’s gravity water feed in Bulud Batu.  After what seemed to be a endless rainstorm across Sabah, the day started with the sun shining and blue skies.

We had an early 6am start from Fieldbase, met our friends Coca-Cola in KK and headed up to Bulud Batu.  We were greeted at Aunty Rodiah’s by Alpha 2, who were obviously very excited for the day.  Emma and Jacob led the welcome committee, pinning red ribbons on the honored guests from Pacos, Coca-Cola, the Police, and surrounding villages.

Alpha 2 preparing for the ceremony
With a sea of red Coca-Cola/Raleigh t-shirts in the front rows the opening ceremony was kicked off by our MCs Erwin and Nigel.  The ceremony started with a slideshow that Nigel put together.  The slideshow had highlights from all three phases, the group watched with pride as they relived what they are gone through.  It was great for Josh and Helen to be there as well since they had both been PMs with Alpha 2.  Unfortunately Connor was not able to attend as he is with Alpha 5 in Imbak Canyon, but I did my best to represent him well.

Jonny, Lou and Josh

Erwin and Nigel

Aunty Rodiah was the first to speak and walked us through the story of how we got to this special day, including the many challenges she faced when trying to find funding and assistance with other organizations and how Pacos, Raleigh and Coca-Cola came to Bulud Batu’s aid at just the right time.  She expressed her gratitude to all those involved and especially the Raleigh team.  You could tell throughout her speech, it was coming directly from the heart, you could feel the warmth in the room.

Aunty Rodiah
Ann, the Executive Director from Pacos followed emphasized the strength of the partnerships between Pacos, Raleigh and Coca-Cola and gave thanks to the Raleigh team in their hardwork through some challenging humps that they encountered along the way.

Coca-Cola then took the stage, Kadri Taib and Laura (translating from Coca-Cola) and spoke with great pride about the fact that Coca-Cola and Raleigh have brought water to not only to Bulud Batu, but Pinapak and Borobi as well over the last 3 months.  He also brought great news that gravity water feed projects will continue to receive funding through the end of 2014.  Excellent news for Sabah!

Sarah (our Country Director) then closed off the speeches first directly addressing Aunty and the villagers for their hospitality and welcoming the Raleigh team into their village, and ending with motivating words to get the team through to Endex.

Aunty and Sarah

The Project Managers that have seen the project through all three phases, Johnny and Lou, then took the stage.  With emotions running, they gave thanks to Aunty and the village for making them feel so at home and working with them so closely day after day.  Of course, a big thanks went out to the Venturers for being the hardworking motivated team that they are.

With all that said it was time to turn on the tap! Leaving the comfort of Aunty’s house the group walked down to Aunty’s tap.  The team had decorated the site with signs and of course, a red ribbon to cut! Aunty then turned the water on, cheers rang out through the crowd, and camera’s were going off like crazy. It was really great to share such a special moment with the team.  Once about 100 pictures were taking, we headed back up to Aunty’s for a dance!

Aunty and Uncle prepared a dance with Alpha 2 to a favorite local song.  Accompanied with a live guitar and singing, the team put on an excellent performance.

Aunty then presented the guests with souvenirs which included some amazing necklaces and tissue box holders. There was true surprise and gratitude from some of the recipients of the gifts.   Aunty is such a generous and thoughtful lady, it was heart-warming to see others experience what a great woman she is.

We ended the ceremony with a meal and cold cans of Coca-Cola.  Dessert included Aunty’s famous pancakes, which for those of us that were returning to Alpha 2 from a previous visit were so excited to have these once again.  We stayed for as long as we possibly could, but eventually we had to hit the road and head back to Fieldbase.  It was an amazing day, and a memorable day for all those there.  There is now running water in Bulud Batu. WOW!

Kindergarten Opening Ceremony in Bonor Sook

On Monday 15th April 2013, with much excitement we opened Bonor Sook's first kindergarten.

Phase 3, Alpha 8 outside the Kindergarten

As the project was run with the help of a small grassroots NGO called PACOS (Partners of Community Organisations in Sabah) and funded by Nestle and funds from Mac McCarthy’s (Country Director) triathlon, it was fantastic to have representatives from each partnership in attendance and even better to hear their speeches.

In addition to speeches from Raleigh Borneo's Country Director, Sarah, Nestle and PACOS, there were various cultural performances by both the local community and Raleigh volunteers. Furthermore, PM Sarah, dressed in traditional attire gave a beautiful speech in Malay.

Sarah in her traditional Malaysian dress (pre-speech)

As education in Malaysia is provided by the Government for children aged 6 and above with primary and secondary schools, the village of Bonor Sook - located in the Sook/Keningau region of Sabah with a population of 300 people - is fortunate to have a primary school but has inadequate pre-school access. However, over the past three months, three teams of Raleigh volunteers have worked together with the local community to construct the kindergarten, in addition to providing language lessons and sports interaction with the local community gaining a cross-cultural experience.

This kindergarten and interaction with the Raleigh Venturers and PMs was also of importance to the local community as they hope to open up their village to tourists in the future to share their culture, life and traditions and so the cross-cultural interaction proved beneficial to both the Alpha team and village.
The opening ceremony was an emotional day and spirits ran high and the team were proud of what had been achieved. It really has been a fantastic 10 weeks!

H2Opening Ceremony - Alpha 3

H2Opening Ceremony - Alpha 3

By Helen Pomphrey (Finance)

After weeks of hard work, Alpha Three were able to celebrate the opening of the gravity water feed with the residents of Kg. Borobi on Thursday 18th April. The official opening ceremony included a display of traditional dancing by local villagers (joined by Izzy and Sarah), as well as speeches from the head of the village, Raleigh’s Country Director Sarah and our project partners at AFC.

Traditional dancing

The big switch on


Alpha 3, the AFC representatives and the local villagers
Alpha Three gave their own speech in both English and Malay which the villagers loved. Sarah and the area representative then cut the ribbon to officially open the water feed, which was met with cheers as a small fountain filled with water from the new system, sprung to life. The group were then presented with certificates and jewellery from the villagers to thank them for their hard work over the last few weeks.

The system will provide clean water to 34 houses throughout the community, which means about 250 people will now have fresh water directly piped into their homes.  Last year’s expedition 12I began Raleigh’s work in Kg. Borobi last summer, installing one gravity feed system to one half of the village, so the other residents are delighted to also have access to clean drinking water.

Thank you to the Alpha Three groups across both phases, and to our project partners, AFC, and to Coca Cola for their sponsorship. The project would not have been a success without everyone’s support.

Update from Alpha 8

Update from Alpha 8

By Tash O'Sullivan

"Members of Alpha 8 boarded a coach to Sipitang, where we arrived just in time for a delectable lunch of seafood, roti and rice to fill us up for our trek ahead! Everyone then piled into 4x4s for a 5 hour journey to Long Pasia. Everyone was amazed by the beauty of this little settlement that was so open, yet in the heart of the jungle. It was also a surprise to be a bit chilly for the first time in 8 weeks!

PMs Mike and Harriet, with Noor, Daniel, Freddie, Hatty, Josie, Tash,
Kat, Sjoerd, Jeremy, Asher and Rex (taken by Belle)

Our first night was spent there in static bashas where we met our hero, the legend of the trek – our jungle guide Noor. The first few days were a whirlwind of getting accustomed to waking up at 5:30am and starting a fire for porridge, followed by a 2 to 5 hour trek through varied terrain. Even though on some days trek may be exhausting, the feeling of having set up camp at your new location and lying in your hammock knowing all the hard work is done for that day, is unbeatable.

Breathtaking views
Another highlight of trek is plunging into an ice-cold river and washing off the mud, leeches and cracker dust from your arms and legs!

Weather conditions so far can be summed up in one word: RAINY. Noor even said our group has experienced the most rain out of any of the groups he has led…. in 9 years! This means walking can often be more like ice skating. Needless to say there was some beautiful snow-ploughs, skids and slides down the mud slopes. The streams next to camp can also be raging and the water very high, meaning you go to sleep with one eye open. You will start dreaming of swimming pools and being swept away in your hammock.

Despite the rain we had a jungle party
One of our hardest days was the trek to Maga Falls – despite doing it in a record time of 4 hours, we were unable to cross the river as the level was too high and were left on the opposite side, looking longingly at the idyllic camp! With the amazing ingenuity of Noor and the other guides Jeffery and Daniel, we were able to cross the river the next day on a bridge they built us!!

A8 in the bat cave
It was definitely worth the wait, our next day was jam packed with visiting bat caves, clambering down rocks to a waterfall that most of us even braved to stand under. The experience of which can be likened to that of a pounding massage, delivered by 10 very large men.

Jewelery making
The next day we continued our trek onto Rekong Camp, where we had a jungle jewelery lesson and used our penknives to make bracelets. Everyone was really impressed with what we managed to produce. I felt like Bear Grylls’ apprentice.

Friday was our most challenging day – a hike to Sinupong Camp. With it raining the entire way we made it up the hill with the help of Freddie’s wise and motivational phrases, in 3 hours 24 minutes – record time in our muddy, slippery conditions.

The next day we made our final journey to Long Pasia. The feeling of seeing the colourful village again was incredible, topped only by our home stay welcome of bananas, donuts and the most delicious tea we’ve ever drunk!

Rex being dressed traditionally at the homestay
Overall, our two week trek through Long Pasia was a true test of our strength; both individually and as a team. I think it is fair to say we surpassed all of our expectations and excelled in a truly unforgettable experience."

A8 celebrating the end of trek and beginning of diving at KK's Filipino market
I have just spent the past five days on Mamutik Island with Alpha 8. The group are well on their way to completing their PADI diving certificates with final dives and coral planting on the agenda tomorrow. Whilst it does take some getting used to breathing underwater, the group are all getting on really well and enjoying it more and more everyday. My group - Hatty, Rex, Jeremy and Daniel, went on our open water boat dive today and saw turtles, puffa fish, a stingray and just so many amazing fish and coral plants. I'm looking forward to hearing how the second group get on tomorrow. 

Hatty, Josie and Tash pre-dive
With just a few precious days left, things are starting to wind down as people get ready for the Endex party at the Borneo Paradise and official closing ceremony which will take place on Sunday evening. I look forward to letting you know how it all goes on Tuesday, but in the meantime I will be uploading some pictures from the three opening ceremonies that took place at our community sites this week.