Thursday, 12 February 2009

Off they Go!!!

First of all a BIG thank you to all who left messages on the blog recently. Everyone had the chance to check out the blog before being deployed today and it was nice to see that friends and family are thinking of us! 

Apologies for the delay in updates but with contradicting locations and Internet availability we just couldn't update this blog as often as we liked to.  With this post, however, we have finally made it to real-time! From now on you can hope I'll be able to bring you news as soon as they come in. 

Not all of the time though - I count on being sent out on loop/assignment so I'll get to see and take part in the action myself!

We will be posting messages from the venturers and project managers themselves as often as they come through so keep an eye out for them in the 'comments' section!

Still about the 'comments' section: don't worry if you don't see your comment immediately, we moderate comments before approving them to avoid publishing any awkward comments! So all you have to do is write your say, click on 'PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT' and contemplate the joys of life while waiting for your comment to be approved!

And now for deployment news. 

After TAC the venturers and all VMs were then herded to Likas (you pronounce that in the way that makes people snigger) yesterday. 

It was all busy busy busy as we spent our entire time there checking off our kit and food lists, paddling in the sports complex's swimming pool for swim tests, and ramming everything into a rucksack bigger than ourselves 'til late. 

And before we knew, it was Deployment Day! Teams were up up bright and early - and we mean early - some were ready to load their coaches as early as 5.30am. 

So, since you already know what the projects are, I'm guessing you now want to know who's going where! Well, in Alpha group order:

Alpha One - Gravity Water Feed at Kampung Rugading

VMs: Sarah Potts, Fiona Kendall and Jean Young. Venturers: Roslyn Ruslan, Ridwan Bin Nases, Richard J Mulholland, George Crozier, Laura E Macfarlane, Rebecca Firth, Pieter-Bas Dekkers, Emilie van Dedem, Charlotte E Briody and Stuart C Dawson 

Alpha Two - Gravity Water Feed at Kampung Tampasak

VMs: Matt Jones and Daisy Ford. Venturers: Jonathan Liwas, Chan Mun Mun, Graham A Long, Lauren J Dignum, Anton N Orzel, Charlotte Duinkerken, Matthijs G de Kempenaer, Harry R Harding, Sarah McMullan, Daniel J Bridges and Frances Wardle

Alpha 3 - Infrastructure Construction at Imbak Canyon 

VMs: Ben Cocks and Hazel Hooper. Venturers: Chin Jia Yee, Clarice Marcellinus, Conor H Nola, Callum Davis, Amy E Roberton, Youp Strietman, Frances O'Donohoe, Darren Welke, Samuel J Hodson, Zoe R Lederman and Natasha Hirani

Alpha Four - Eco-Lodge Completion at Batu Puteh

VMs: Georgina Combes and Christiane Niemyer. Venturers: Venessa Venda Vitales, Fakruz Rozi Bin Willy, Emma Steenstra Toussaint, Huub Van Woudenberg Hamstra, Elizabeth E Campanell, Rosie J Elliott, Robbie Mailer-Howat, Sebastian Cowell de Gruchy, Isobel V Edwards, James C Palmer

Alpha Five - Dive and Trek

VMs: Sarah Young and Simon Grewcock. Venturers: Nobella Binti Ramlen, Chong Poh-E, Emily M Hutchinson, Joost A van Houwelingen, Annetje Bosch, Molly E Beck, Jake A Harding, Hannah R Alderton, Megan H Shirley, Lars Peter Lucas, William P Strang

Alpha Six - Trek and Dive

VMs: Andy Heaton, Lorna Fox and Wendy Streeton. Venturers: Teoh Shu Woan, Nurlela Binti Latip, Clare R Mcmanus, Tom E Silcocks, Thomas F Parson, Ivo Neefjes, Stephen E Skaleck, Andrew D Filus, Sophie Hunter, Anne-Fleur L van der Paardt, Alice Poole

All 64 venturers and 12 volunteer managers safely boarded their coaches and into the horizon towards their project sites. After waving, and hugging everyone goodbye, the 9 fieldbase volunteers and staff got packing and headed back to relax and soak in the fieldbase jacuzzi. NOT! Work continues as we prepare for changeover weekend for the next couple of weeks  - there's no rest for the weary! 

We'll bring you updates before then, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Venturer Arrival Part Deux

The most exciting day for the volunteer managers and staff of Raleigh Borneo spilled on to the next day with the arrival of the second batch of venturers, this time venturers from all over the UK, Australia, America and of course, The Netherlands!

The HCVs gave them a smashing welcome, singing traditional songs as they unboarded the bus and you could see on the faces of the venturers their jet lag and tiredness melting away when they heard and saw the the cheers.

Family and friends can now rest assured that everyone has arrived safely!

The 65 venturers were then divided into 6 Delta groups and found their specific sections of bashers and set up their beds.

Natasha: Hi!

The day continued with a welcoming message from Mac, who also introduced the staff to the group. The main man Jim also gave a welcoming speech, which left the group beside themselves with the excitement of what's to come.

With that, the Induction commenced and over the next few days the volunteer managers helped familiarise the venturers with the goods of Raleigh life - water purification, medical talks, the 3-bowl system, radio comms, river crossing, GPS reading, a cultural awareness talk and all sorts of other things.

It was all not just serious stuff - everyone had the chance to play together during the games and energisers, fast forming friendships and learning to develop teamwork!

The groups then took turns setting off into the jungle nearby for jungle camp but not before the session by the jungle master himself, Floyd, and his team of experts. Once they were taught how to set up bashers, dig loos known as long drops and what to do with leftover food, the teams geared up for their trip and marched on with much enthusiasm to get out there!

Everyone is having an awesome time so far and are looking forward to allocations and finding out where they will be going to in the first phase - we'll keep you posted!

Venturer Arrival Part 1

With staff allocations determined and Project Planning Visits completed, staff induction was a wrap-up. It was then time to welcome the reason we are all here for: the venturers!

The Sabahans 

And fresh from the airport, the West Malaysians

On the first day of venturer arrival we welcomed the participants from Malaysia. 7 smiley Sabahans and 5 wicked West Malaysians arrived at the legendary Fieldbase on the morning of the 6th of February, greeted by the volunteer managers. After being introduced to everyone and getting their kit sorted out the venturers, some volunteer managers and The Yolanda headed to TAC for the first day of host country venturer induction and to prepare for the arrival of the international venturers. 

The staff waves the venturers off to TAC

It rained since their arrival and the rain only let up once everyone had set up their beds and the sun had set - you'd think this was a bad thing but it came up several times during the review at the end of the day that the rain was the highlight of the day for most of them!

We also had a cook-off to see who could come up with the most delicious and creative recipes with Raleigh rations - it's as hard as it sounds, and the winner was Team Numero Uno which consisted of Lela, Jia Yee, Roslyn, Mun, Wan and Venda. They with their rations of rice, tomato puree, chicken-spam, beef curry, kidney beans and peas, they served a scrumptious spread of a tomato meatloaf, beef curry, bean salad with rice. Team two was not a write off - they won a special mention in the catogories of Best Rice and Best Time.
On day two the HCVs did some radio training and then practised their little surprise for the 65 tired, jet lagged, hot and sweaty international venturers, which we''l tell you about in the next post! Meanwhile, introducing the HCVs: