Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Loop's Out!

Mac, Steph, Hazel and Val are all out on the Loop, bringing sweet treats, post, the blog, supplies and hugs to Alphas 2, 3 and 4. They will be back this Thursday, so keep an eye out for some updates!

p.s. There are more posts since Changeover 1 photos was posted, so click on the title banner (the very top of the page) to read them!

Monday, 16 March 2009

News From the Alpha Groups

On Sundays at 4.00pm, Malaysian time, the Fieldbase team get busy and excited about Radio Raleigh, where we get to contact all the groups at one go and give them some news and entertainment. We hope the Alpha groups get just as excited and enjoy it as much as we do!

Sometimes, not all the Alpha groups call in because of their locations and schedules, but when they do, we get some news and gossip about what they've got up to so far in the week. That's in addition to the daily SITREPs (situation reports), of course. 

So on Sunday, the 15th March 2009:

Alpha 1 didn't tune in, because they were at a wedding, but they did call in earlier to let us know they are fab, as usual :)

Alpha 2 had had a homestay and had delicious food and some funky jelly (interesting...) The Sunday before that they had performed Amazing Grace at church, which they had practised the week before. Another unfortunate soul in Alpha 2 had also fallen in the long drop, which was then waist deep. 

Alpha 3 has told us that they have all become Buddhists and have decided to stay at Imbak Canyon and are not coming back to civilization. The construction of the steps for the bridge is going well. One morning they were woken up by the sounds of gibbons and actually got to see some of them swinging about in the wild. They have also seen some orcas (yes, whales). 

Alpha Four went on a trip to the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary and will be attending a wedding somewhere this week. Their work is going well and they are having a great time. 

Alpha 5 and 6 are not having the best weather where they are, deep within the jungles of Long Pasia. But they are making friends with the local leeches. Alpha 6 are going on a homestay and soon after that they will be back in KK and heading to Mamutik Island kfor their PADI diving course!

Yep, it's true, it was raining a bit over here in Sabah, Borneo. While some places have been experiencing floods, some areas have less rain and our Alpha Groups were fortunate enough to be out of those flood zones. So everyone is wet, but not swimming.  

But in the past couple of days you will be glad to know the skies are perfectly blue and even cloudless. Alpha 6 who will be here in a few days will hopefully have great weather for their diving lessons, fingers crossed!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Mini Loop to Alpha 1

Hazel and I headed out to Kampung Rugading on the Friday, 13th March, for a mini loop to Alpha 1. 

Just about 3 hours away from Kota Kinabalu, the drive on the way to the Kampung is always a dream, we never tire of the view of the stunning Mount Kinabalu and the surrounding hills and valleys!

When we arrived, there Elda was at the bottom of the hill, waving us hello. Elda, our accountant had been spending a few days with Alpha 1 to experience the community phase life. The other Alpha 1 members there were PM Fiona, Frankie and HCV Clarice. 

We had a little tour of their place, which is actually the village headman's brother's house. It's a two-small-bedroom house with a medium-sized kitchen+dining area. 

The venturers sleep in the communal area. 

And there is a tiny guest room, where Elda sleeps and where we'll sleep that night as well. It's what I call the Bon Jovi room cos of the 90's poster above the door. 

The view from the window that afternoon was a group of cows, just hanging out and gossipping about strange foreigners in cow-language. 

When we stood outside on the balcony we admired the view of our little Bravo parked on the bottom of the hill. The air is cooler in Rugading, and some nights you'll actually need your fleece!

But the most amazing sight graced the house and the village everyday. Rugading has got to be the best place to live with a view like this: 

When you wake up in the morning, groggy and grumpy, look up and there you will see Mount Kinabalu in all its splendour. Suddenly it's the best morning ever. This repeats daily. Alpha 1 has got it good. No wonder they look happy!

It was Clarice cooked us some noodles for lunch, after which we headed to the site of their dam. Hazel and I got introduced and acquainted with Depression Hill on the way there, and since then I have joined the gym. With theAlpha 1 work crew was the village headman, Jamirin, helping them with the construction of the dam, which is nearly completed.  

At 3.00pm, the factory whistle blew and we all headed back to the village together. 

Dinner was chapati (a type of Indian bread), lentil curry and rice. For pudding, PM Fi made some Milo pudding, and the pot it was made in was licked clean by Alice and Peter, and I'm not kidding. Licked. Clean. (But still 3-bowled, of course). Entertainment for the night was Andrew and Steven stealing people's cameras and taking photos of themselves with them. 

It was great fun spending time with Alpha 1, they're a great bunch, everyone made us feel welcomed and happy to be there. Can't wait to see them at changeover and hear about their completed dam!