Sunday, 19 December 2010

A final message from Expedition 10J

Hello all,
I hope you enjoyed the blog as much as I have. We tried to keep you up to date with all our volunteers, staff and venturers.  Yes, apart from myself, all the staff team were volunteers whose family missed them too.  We are sorry if your loved ones haven’t managed to get a picture on the blog but remember we were making a difference to communities and environments that were very remote and it is simply impossible to have a constant stream of news and pictures from these locations.  Ultimately for everyone the main priority is delivering expedition and the projects that will make a difference to the communities and the teams involved.  
I would like to thank everyone on Expedition 10J  your commitment to make a difference  and will count for so much in Kg Ramuntai, Kg Vunui Lokos, Kg Pakagaya, Kg Maliau Pusat, Maliau Basin, Imbak Canyon, and Sepilok.
I finally I would like to thank you, our followers, for your support.  Whether a letter, a telephone conversation snatched at changeover or a blog message, it meant a lot to the team out here thank you.
Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year
Mac McCarthy
Country Director
Raleigh Borneo

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The community projects are complete, and so is Expedition 10J!

After 10 weeks of very hard work, 10 diverse projects have been concluded and Expedition 10J is officially complete. 

With the venturers winging their way back home where a cold winter awaits our Dutch, French and British friends, it’s a good opportunity to look at the progress they made on our community projects.

Alpha 1 had the task of building a kindergarten in Kampung Rumantai over all three phases.  Work started in Phase 1 with the digging of foundations, and progressed over the next two phases to the final completion of a fine looking building, complete with kitchen and vibrant decoration.
This structure is one which will make an enormous difference to life in Rumantai.  Not only will it improve education for their youngest residents, but will also allow serve as a wider learning centre, for example by allowing the adults to have more structured English lessons.

The work of the Alpha 1 team has been firmly supported by the villagers throughout this project, and they joined together earlier this week to celebrate the formal opening of the kindergarten.

Alpha 2 have been no less busy.  In Kampung Pakagaya, teams from the past two phases worked hard installing a dam and laying pipe to provide water to 18 houses in this remote village.

Having running water available to each household will transform the lives of Pakagaya’s inhabitants, who currently rely on gathering water from stagnant pools, rainwater and streams over a kilometre away.  This heavy work cannot be undertaken by the elderly, so younger villagers must continue to live with their parents in order to support them.

On Tuesday, the taps were turned on, and there was relief and joy from the Alpha 2 team, villagers and project partner Asian Forestry Company alike, as the water flowed out.

Alpha 3 have spent the past two phases in Kampung Vunui Lokos, building a community hall.  In a community with no focal point, this structure will provide a dry location where villagers can hold meetings and ceremonies.

Having started the project by clearing the ground and sinking the foundation posts, the team finished by applying the finishing touches to the internal and external paintwork.

Delighted with this important addition to the village, the JKKK (village head) presided over a ceremony to formally open the building, attended by the Raleigh team, project partner Asian Forestry Company and village residents.

Congratulations to all three teams for their fantastic efforts on these worthwhile projects, and thanks to our project partners, without whom, these results could not have been achieved.

And with that, Expedition 10J comes to an end.  With achievements such as those described here, the important progress that has been made on our environmental projects, and the skills that have been learned during the adventure phase, this has been a truly memorable ten weeks.  Many congratulations to the venturers and volunteer managers for all their efforts and achievements, and a big thank you to Raleigh Borneo’s permanent staff, for making this such a successful, fun and rewarding experience.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

View from the Loop

With the final phase of Expedition 10J well under way, it was time for Field Base to pay a visit to our static project sites (sorry trekkers!).  The Phase 3 Loop was manned by Ed, Tom and Emma, all excitedly looking forward to a whistle-stop tour of Sabah.

They were prepared to do whatever it took to bring chocolate and post to our venturers, clambering over enormous obstacles, crossing mighty rivers,

and if absolutely necessary, having naps in the back of the bravo.

The first stop was Alpha 6 at Maliau Basin, where the group were just completing the last few days’ work repairing the gravity water feed system.  The new dam is in place, and pipes have been installed to prevent future build-up of silt and debris and allow water to flow freely.

After a warm reception, a tasty dinner and a night in a hammock, the loop headed off bright and early to the next group.

Many hours of driving later, they arrived at Sepilok jungle camp to spend some time with Alpha 4.  Next day, still full from the previous evening’s hearty feast, our loopers visited the work site and were able to see for themselves how the team’s carpentry skills – and their muscles – have been developing over the course of the phase.

There was also just enough time to pass on an early birthday greeting for Abi's mum.

Next stop was Alpha 1 at Kampung Rumantai, where work on the kindergarten is showing fantastic results,
A helping hand from the Loop team was nevertheless much appreciated.

But demand for the Loop is very high, so there’s no time to linger!  Onwards to Alpha 2 at Kampung Pakagaya, to see what progress is being made on the gravity water feed there.  Thehardy Alpha 2 team showed the Loop that a little bit of rain is not enough to stand in the way of a good day’s work:

For now, the Loop is almost complete, with just one more visit to be made.  This time it’s Alpha 3, hard at work on the new community hall in Kampung Vunui Lokos.  

As the Loop arrived, work on the construction site was going well,

and there was a festive mood in the camp.  The visitors were treated to a fine feast, complete with home- made Christmas crackers and decorations.  There was even some carol singing.

What nicer way to round off a Raleigh road trip?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Phase 3 starts today!

It’s been a whirlwind of a changeover for the past two days, with our teams excited to have time to catch up with their friends at Borneo Paradise.  Just one problem – too many friends and too little time!

All too soon, it was time to sort out all the supplies,

and to pack up the the rucksacks and get back on the bus... but where to?  

Heading to Kg Rumantai and the Alpha 1 kindergarten project are:

PMs James, Pete and Garry and venturers Felicity Bone, Omar Tellage, Reinier Haverkamp Begemann, Khyal Fairclough, Cameron Heeley, Josh Brumby, Natalie Tunney, Millie Smith, Madeleine Gray, Georgina Peach and Choon Wei Thian.

Off to Alpha 2 to complete the gravity water feed are the following:

PMs Dave, Phili and Emma and Ian Wildsmith, Joep Claus, Arthur Campbell, Eleanor Tetlow, Leontien Roos, John Legge, Jing Wen Ong, Louise Bajada, Aaron Ong, Robyn Fitzharris, Ali Gordon and Lisa Egelers.

Kg Vunui Lokos looks forward to welcoming a new Alpha 3 team, as follows:
Gemma Hall, Jack Regan, Shawna Timmons, Olivier Uijtewaal, Oliver Conner, Albert Cheng, Guy Scott-Dalgleish, Nor Hafidzah Abin, Mun Mun Wong, Julie Peletier, Robert Nash and Emma Johnson, with PMs  Kate, Helen and Becky.

Alpha 4’s work at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre will be completed by:

Sin Mei Fong, Christopher Cheeseman, Louise Scothern, Abigail Goodburn, Shen Quang Loo, Emily Griffin, Kelly Lawless, Yannick Pelder, Maxim Terwey and Ivy Mills. The PMs will be Caroline, Nicky and CK.

Our next project involves a slight change to our environmental projects, with work at Imbak Canyon taking a break until next year.  Instead, finishing the work we started in Phase 1 at Alpha 6, a new team is heading to Maliau Basin to repair the gravity water feed.  They will be:

Ben Summers, John McFarlane, Josephine van den Brink, Christian Zazulan, Andrew Dyke, Mary Greene, Shi Han Chong, Jay Sakallioglu, Laura West, Merel van Olffen.  The PM team comprises Abby, Stacey and Paz.

Alpha 7 is a new project for this phase.  The very excited team making their way to the Pitas region to carry out an environmental survey includes:

Aaron Graham, Evinn Soo, Seema Sharma, Cathrien Sickler, Rory Batt, Neil Wellstead, Dan Clarke, Fiona Jeffery and Lucy Jellicoe.  The PMs are Leigh and Emily.

Alpha 8 are heading to the classroom today to start their dive training, and will move onto their trek next week. The new team, led by PMs Clive and Marie includes:

Joe Treacy, Mandeep Ghuman, Constantijn Crans, Pia Mathews, Steven Schrijen, Rob Grindal, Kieran Brady, Thijs Kraaijeveld van Hemert, Shu May Han and Elouise Royans.

Last but not least, our new Alpha 9 trek-divers will be PMs Andrea and Jo, accompanied by the new venturer team:
Thomas Webster-Dunstan, Eleanor Bowe, Nicolas Brouwers, Tom Rumsey, Yogesh Mistry, James Peard, Emma Bean, Claire Cottee, Stephanie Bell, Ben Fort and Su Wen Ong.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Phase 2 draws to a close

As the end of the phase approaches, it’s time for our wandering Field Base staff to head back to the office and let us know how some of our groups have been getting along.  

Administrator Emma has now returned from the Sepilok jungle camp, where she and Alpha 4 have been getting to know the wildlife in the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, and the neighbouring orang utan sanctuary.  She gave us an insight into their project.

During this phase, members of Alpha 4 have been building a boardwalk around the perimeter fence of the sun bear enclosure. The boardwalk will be used by rangers to check on the bears and also to watch and maintain the fence. Construction of the boardwalk involves many different stages, from cementing in the upright posts, to attaching and clamping the cross beams and bracing the centre planks to minimise bounce.

Week one of this phase involved a lot of drilling and clamp-makingThe team worked hard to drill all of the holes required along one length of walkway to bolt the pieces together, as well as completing braces on a length around the corner.  This was all done manually – no mean feat through thick pieces of belian (iron) wood!  At the end of the week, however, not only did the whole group feel their muscles had grown, but one entire length had been completed, as well as some cementing-in of posts around the next corner, ready for week two.

During week two, the team finally got their hands on a power cable long enough to enable power-drilling of the holes on-site - a happy moment indeed!  This meant that the majority of drilling now could be done very quickly, with only a few holes having to be finished off by hand.  Within just 3 days, the team managed to complete 5 bays of walkway – great progress!  There was still plenty to do, however, with lots of wood-sourcing and more cementing ready for more posts.
But for most, the highlight of the week was not the progress on the work site.  The group were treated to a surprise visit from and orang utan, which decided to try and lend a hand, drinking from the group’s water bottles, and trying on some work gloves.  The team also had the opportunity to visit the "nursery" in  Sepilok's orang utan sanctuary, and get a great insight into the rehabilitation work taking place there.
Photographer Adam has also returned from the jungle, where he has been spending time with some of our adventure groups.  Having successfully completed their dive phase, Alpha 8 headed off to the south west corner of Sabah to begin their 12 day trek.  Off into the jungle our intrepid team went, with their trusty guides. 
 Uphill ...

 and down dale,

they too had close encounters with some furry friends, if a little smaller than those at Sepilok.

Finally it was time for Adam and Alpha 8 to say their farewells and go their separate ways.

For his next task, Adam found himself on beautiful Dive Island – not too much of a hardship.

After an arduous (and wet!) trek, Alpha 9 did not seem too disappointed with the choice of location for the final days of the phase.
After a day in the classroom, the group were keen to put their new knowledge into practice.

That’s it from phase 2 – we’ll be back in a couple of days to tell you who is going where for the final phase of Expedition 10J.