Saturday, 31 January 2009

Staff Inducted at TAC

Hello hello, time for another update on the chronicles of the volunteer managers for the Raleigh 09B Expedition!

After two days of talk about what the wild Bornean jungle will be like and how to survive in it, the excited crew finally set off to jungle camp on day three. 

We arrived at the very beautiful surroundings of TAC, which stands for Traverse Adventure Centre, oohed and ahhed over the lush greenery and then and set up our bashers under the hut next to the Kiulu River. 

The group got divided into three Tango teams spent a day and a half being given more basic training about the hows and whats of trekking and living in the jungle before having to embark on their journey to a campsite on the next day. The training included

1. Food allocations: What, and how much to bring.

VM Georgina a.k.a George, checking out the yum-yums allocated for her Tango group

2. Medical sessions. The staff are given some training on what to do in likely medical situations, which covers anything from insect bites and stings to broken bones. 

VM Sarah Y shares her story about how she became very, very close friends with about a dozen leeches on her last expedition. The rest, save Ben, look amused. 

3. Radio Comms. While Mac had demonstrated how the radio works back at Fieldbase the day before, the Tango groups got the chance to get their hands on their radio units and simulate radio conversations with fieldbase. 
Medic Simon has a shot at talking on the radio. 

4. River crossing. Getting to project sites may require crossing some rivers and so part of the training includes an exercise on how to get across rivers safely. 

After succeeding on their first attempt at safe river crossing, Matt, Elda, Daisy and Lorna decide to do the conga to celebrate. 

5. Camp craft. We had none other than the parang (pronounced pah-rahng, the local word for a machete) expert himself, the amazing Floyd, to demonstrate how to set up your own little jungle hotel comprising of a basher (where you sleep), a long drop (your loo) and a lounge area (the lounge area) with pieces of tarp, bamboo and some string. 

Note to all: Floyd makes it look easy. 

After a lot of useful input, the teams finally get packing and cracking for their journey into the jungle.  

George and Dave, trying on the communal tarp on for size. 

Over the bridge and into the wild...

"If it ain't raining, it ain't training" - Mac McCarthy, 
CPM Raleigh Borneo

After trekking for about two hours with the campsite still a while away, the groups hear what sounded like a raging river nearby, except that it sounded it was approaching us rather than us appraching it. Our guide in Tango Two slowed down and paused, took a look at the heavens and turned to us saying, "Ok, itu bunyi hujan. Tidak lama lagi!" or "Ok, that's the sound of rain. Not long now!" and sure enough about a minute and a half later, it starts pouring like nobody's business! 

The rain added a little more challenge to the trek, turning the already slippery slopes into mini streams of mud and fallen leaves. We all reached the camp site safely, albeit soaking wet! 

Tango teams One and Two arrive at the site, and plan their next steps. 

We set up camp, built our bashers, somehow got the fire going, had food, etc. etc., (and it was still raining) and climbed into bed at about 10pm (wayyy past jungle bedtime, but we wanted to squeeze out as much fun as we could in one rainy night!)

Elda, our volunteer finance manager. "Dave please take a photo of me, otherwise no one will believe I did this!"

Soon enough, morning came and it was time to trek back to TAC. 

"La la la la la... We love carrying this huge piece of tarp. Can't wait to do it again!"

But really, the only thing on their minds besides a nice shower when they get back, was the moment when they would find out where they'll be working for 10 weeks: Allocations! 

Read all about who got which project in the next post!


Mum said...

Hi Huub,
hope you're having a good time. Did you pack the mug? Grandma sends her love, she's ok now she knows you've arrived safely. Your on her mind all the time, and on ours. Will write you again soon

Mum said...

Hi Huub,
How are you guys doing. Did you get the mug? Grandma sends her love, she's ok now she knows you've arrived safely. She even said Kota Kinabalu a few times. I wish I could peek around the corner and see what's happening, lucky for you I can't.
Write to you soon
Love Mum

Natalie McCallum said...

Hi George of the Jungle!
Glad to see you are well and still smiling! Suddenly the Ashdown Forest downpour training all makes sense...
It's been snowing in London and we all enjoyed a day making snowmen/giant snowballs and some even tried sonwboarding in Wimbledon Park.
Spent Valentine's day being juvenile at Alton Towers, still having palpitations following Oblivion's vertical drop - am sure we're meant to have grown out of it...
Are you missing Pashley Princess?
Miss you!!
Nat xx

Natalie McCallum said...

Hi George of the Jungle!
Glad you are still smiling! Now I understand the relevance of the miserable Ashdown Forest downpour night training! It looks like lots of fun.
I just wrote you a long message that has managed to delete itself, now remember why I'm vehemently technophobic.
Was just telling you that we've all been busy making giant snowballs in London and enjoying snow days in bed. Snow joke!
Spent Valentine's Day larking around at Alton Towers. Practically had heart attack on Oblivion, think it's a message that we're meant to have grown out of it!
David my stepbrother got married last weekend - he certainly didn't rush into it at 47!
Look forward to more updates from the jungle.
Love Nat xx

Katy Alderton said...

Hope you enjoyed the diving Hannah.

Saskia is getting ready for her birthday celebrations this evening. The biggest decision is what to wear.

Henry is sleeping on your bed at the moment dreaming about you.

Love Mum & Saskia x