Saturday, 3 October 2009

Jungle Camp

"If it ain't raining it ain't training!"  If this old adage is true, that unfortunately renders the last few days obsolete for the staff of Borneo 09K. The last 3 days of jungle training camp were blissfully dry, other than a spectacular thunderstorm which took place whilst everyone was tucked up in their bashers. The staff have had an intensive period of training up at TAC before the intrepid groups trekked into the jungle to test out their new skills by setting up camp for the night. The pictures tell the stories better than I can, so look on.

Considering Mount Kinabalu is over 4000m high it has an amazing ability to disappear from all view depending on the weather. Look closely and you can see its foreboding peaks through the clouds on the drive up to the training area.

On arrival, the first task was ensuring we all had a place to rest our heads after a long day out in the sun. This communal basher has enough hammocks to sleep the whole team once they had strung up their mosquito nets and stored all their kit safe from any unexpected showers.

An intense day of sessions included radios training, pictured below. These radios are used on all projects to communicate back to field base twice a day in scheduled slots and works by skillfully throwing two ends of a radio antenna (dipole) up in two trees and hoisting it up.

Campcraft instructor and jungle guide Floyd then taught Jessie how to use a parang safely - give everyone a wide berth and keep all body parts out of the way. Then the art of stringing up a hammock and tarpaulin tested out here by Nicki for a good night's sleep - tie it tight and hope for the best. Finally how to best dig a camp long drop - basically take a spade and dig a hole.

Why did the Raleigh venturer cross the river? Because they're on a 12 day trek to Maga Falls in Long Pasia, thats why.... This team are demonstrating a safe river crossing, getting a feel for the power of the currents and working as a team. Trek groups will get the opportunity to visit the beautiful Maga Falls on their adventure challenge phase, but to get there there may be a few of these crossings to contend with first.

Nope, not a police line up and no, the staff pictured here are not up against a firing squad either, this is 'lost man procedure' another tried and tested method Raleigh has developed.

This may look like a gormless bunch but they are actually a team of staff who have been trained in the use of GPS equipment, basic life support, trauma care, first aid procedures, health and hygiene, tool safety, cooking over trangias, water safety and throw ropes, radios, campcraft and medical evacuation procedures.With all this information absorbed it was time to put it into practice at jungle training camp.

Opting for style of over practicality with this hat and sunglasses fashion tip, Bruno and the team kicks off the trek crossing a typical Bornean suspension bridge across the river. Laden down with enough kit for the team to make camp and a huge tarpaulin strapped to a bamboo pole they had terrain and views like this to look forward to .....


After a night up at jungle camp, to catch out all those who hadn't listened properly in class, the trek out turned into a casualty evacuation (casevac) practice session, seeing the staff employ all their new skills. In a bizarre coincidence that saw all the available medics fall down with broken legs 100m apart from each other the teams set up emergency comms, build stretchers and made makeshift splints in a bid to evacuate their favourite medics out to a hospital. After the final push, the buses were waiting at the road taking us back to some nice cold showers and the anticipation of project allocations that afternoon.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Project Managers, Medics and Trek Leaders Arrive

Yesterday marked the arrival of twelve projects managers, medics and trek leaders making us a full complement of 26 volunteer staff and 3 full time Raleigh staff.

The new team were collected from various points and airports across KK in the Bravos, here we can see the arrival of medic Nat and project manager Jessie; who has spent the last 9 weeks travelling here from the UK overland.

Anna is seen here greeting Lakshmi and Emma, who are also members of our medical team. Along with Vicky, Nat and Julia we have a 5 strong team providing invaluable support to our expedition either out in the field accompanying the groups or back in fieldbase on 24 hour call to assist over the radio.


Ruthie seen here is testament that eating rations and being eaten alive by insects in the rainforest is actually fun as she is returning for her second expedition, hopefully Zara and Ced, two of our new PM's, will feel the same way.

During expedition a system called "three bowls" takes place of the kitchen sink when running water and amenities are limited. Here Jill is explaining the dipping system to Julia, Nat and Craig, who are demonstrating the use of a three bowled mug by drinking a brew.


Next up was another great Raleigh tradition, 'the name game.' With eighty venturers names to remember in the coming weeks we got started by keeping up with the staff names.Thanks to the name game I can now tell you that the people pictured above are; Craig, Anna, Nicky, Nicki, Vicky, Andy, Philip, Emma, Sarah, and Yo.

Yesterdays sessions gave everyone the opportunity to meet the permanent Borneo staff, learn a bit about Raleigh and watch the last expeditions slideshow for a bit of inspiration and an idea of things to come over the next three months. Seen here are, Julia, Jessie, Andy, Nicky and Emma listening intently to Mac and Jim also pictured with Bruno and Chi below.

Today the new team are getting excited about the projects on offer, learning how to use the HF 90 radios which are a communication lifeline out on remote project sites and discussing the roles they have undertaken and how to carry them out to their full potential. Bright and early tomorrow, everyone will head out to the beautiful riverside Traverse Activity Centre (TAC) to top up these skills and deploy out to jungle camp to test their mettle in the great outdoors. More on this in a couple of days ..........

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