Friday, 4 December 2009

The Beginnings of Phase 3 - 03.12.09

The final phase of Borneo's Autumn expedition is well under way and venturers are all over Sabah taking part in environmental, community and adventure phases as we speak. The loop has headed out for the final time with Sarah, Jilly and Maria in Bravo 3. They will be returning soon with lots of news and photos for the blog so you can find out what they have been up to.

This week I have paid a visit to a project site I worked on during my first expedition and attended the opening ceremony of their eco lodge. After 10 years of planning and building, this fantastic co-operative scheme in the small village of Batuh Puteh on the Kinabatangan River, has been completed, creating a sustainable income for this community. Raleigh have been involved with this project for many years and the excitement in the village at seeing their dream realised was infectious. It reminded me of the lasting effects Raleigh's projects can have. Even 2 years later I was remembered by everyone I worked alongside in this kampung and I have no doubt that your friends and family out on project sites now are making the same kind of bonds right now. It really is a once in a lifetime experience!

On route we had an opportunity to visit Sepilok and although the theme set for the loop was 'Come Dine With Me' alpha 4 bypassed it and went with 'Saturday Morning Kitchen.' As the creator of the winning menu, I ended up cooking for the team. However, I was treated to a helper for the evening - but only after partaking in a game of 'Blind Date/Slave.' After answering some very topical questions with the help of Cilla 'Emma Godden' Black, Andrew McPhadden was my kitchen slave for the evening. Don't worry I didn't work him too hard. That evening we were also treated to a lo-o-o-o-ng game of 'Who's the Man,' a bowl of punch, doughnuts drenched in condensed milk and fresh bread with soup. Any of you parents back home under the illusion that your kids can't boil an egg - they are pulling the wool over you're eyes! Get them in the kitchen when they get back.

Finally we have a few photos of the dive island, after deputy programme manager Sarah joined them on Mamutik for a few days dive training. She has returned with the photos and the tan.

Looks hellish doesn't it? After these intrepid individuals took part in 5 days of deep sea diving training and a huge underwater clean up, they are now off into the jungle to test their mettle for the next 12 days. Good luck Alpha 5!

Over the radio this week I have heard that alpha 1 at Minosuh Kindergarten build have celebrated Dan's birthday with the local church. Alpha 5 our dive / trek group have had a beauty pageant - the boys were the beauties the girls provided the clothes. Alpha 7 are ahead on their project and have had a womens day, with the boys doing whatever they are told all day! I hear the men's day is coming soon. They have also had karaoke with the villagers in the church, pancake day and been teaching in the school. Alpha 4 at the Sunbear sanctuary have been mugged of their water bottles regularly by a light fingered orangutan and got into the christmas spirit by making decorations and an advent calendar from old food boxes, very Blue Peter! Their day leader has also been waking them on a morning with a Crimbo carol - Ouch! They are making pizza bases today for Charlie's birthday. The Sunbear Sanctuary has started its own blog and members of Alpha 4 have written the first entry to be posted soon. Check out the link to their site on the top right. Alpha 3 in Imbak Canyon have just had a Scottish day with haggis and highland games! All busy on the entertainment front then and they're pretty busy at work too!

A quick note all of you in the Netherlands - just to let you know your blog comments have been received and will be posted. All our comments go through a moderating system before being published on the blog and unfortunately my Dutch is a little rusty! Your comments have been printed out and passed on to venturers on the loop and tommorow my trusty translator will return to give them a read through so they can be put on the net. Sorry for the delay!