Saturday, 7 August 2010

A Job Well Done!

The commitment and hard work from the students of Dr Challenors school was rewarded yesterday as locals in both Kampung Maliau Pusat and Bambagan Ulu turned on their shiny new taps to receive, for the first time, clean running water.  In just eight days, these two groups of young volunteers constructed a dam, laid five kilometers of piping and connected up four water storage tanks in order to provide these under-privileged villages with a safe and reliable source of drinking water.  I think you'll agree that that is no mean feat.  These young volunteers made a brave decision to 'Get Out There' and make a difference, and what a difference they have made!  Thanks to them, along with the help of Raleigh and AFC (our project partners), the people of these communities will no longer have to rely on collecting rainwater or drink from potentially contaminated rivers. 

Not only did these young volunteers successfully construct two gravity water feed systems in eight days, but they did it with smiles on their faces.  See for yourselves...
With their bags backed, the girls were eager to get going...
...And so the adventure began.

Charlie One: Gravity Water Feed System in Kampung Maliau Pusat

A three hour coach ride and a two hour 4x4 ride later, Charlie One arrive in Kampung Maliau Pusat.

First of all they needed to set up camp.

Home sweet home.

They decided on a plan of action,

And got straight to work- there was no time to loose!

One of ten rolls of piping to be laid.

Happy at work.

They cooked up a storm with Raleigh rations.

The girls came to embrace the concept of looking 'jungle chic'!

And bid a sad goodbye to the community who had welcomed them so whole heartedly just eight days earlier.

Charlie 2: Gravity Water Feed System in Kampung Bambagan Ulu

Charlie Two quickly got settled in Kampung Bambagan Ulu...

...receiving a very friendly welcome from the younger members of the community...
...who were eager to make friends.

Who would have thought that the 'Hokey Kokey' had such universal appeal?!

The team explored the project site...

...Before getting stuck in.

Smiling all the while.
A well deserved water break.

A job well done.

Congratulations to all those involved, you should be very proud of your achievements out here in Borneo. 

Charlie's One and Two have now been reunited with each other and are currently travelling to Batu Puteh where they will spend the next few days exploring the depths of the Bornean rain forest.  Here they will enjoy river safaris, jungle walks and bird watching by day, and will experience local culture on home stays by night.

Next week I will be joining the group to climb Mount Kinabalu, the tallest peak in Borneo's Crocker Range.  Watch this space for news on how we get on...

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Raleigh Borneo Summer Expedition 10I Is Now Underway!

Raleigh Borneo Expedition 10I is now officially underway!  On Sunday 1st August fourty eager venturers arrived at Kota Kinabalu airport where the were met by some very excitable volunteer project managers.  After a quick meet and greet they were whisked off to the Traverse Activity Centre (TAC for short) where they have spent the last few days being trained in all the skills that they will need when out in the field.  
The Friendly Staff Team.
Their first task upon arrival at TAC was to bag a bed (actually in this case a static hammock) and set up their mosquito nets to keep the mini beasties at bay during the night.
Next it was time for some ice-breakers, my personal favourite being the 'Evolution' game in which you battle each other to graduate from a puny amoeba to a slightly more intelligent chicken then to a cheeky monkey and finally to a superior human!

The venturers were then split into three smaller Delta groups to begin their training.  But before the serious training began, a few team building exercises were in order.  Here they are crossing a metaphorical river using just three tyres, the aim was simple- to get everyone across the river without falling in (it sounds easy in theory doesn't it?!)
Their next tricky task was to untangle themselves without letting go of each other's hands.  Umm, not quite guys.
Once the groups were all settled in and well bonded, they began learning how to set up and use a radio- this will be their main form of communication when out in the field.  They will radio into field base (the nerve centre for all operations out here in Borneo) twice a day to let us know that they are all happy and keep us posted on all the progress they are making with their projects.

Next up the groups were taught how to cross a river safely as this skill may be required for the Adventure Challenge phase of the expedition.
The venturers also received some first aid training from our expedition medics.
Don't be alarmed, they're just pretending!
Here they are learning how to work a GPS so that they will always be able to find out exactly where they are.
Having mastered all the necessary skills to survive a Raleigh expedition, the time had come when the venturers would discover which projects they would be working on out here in Borneo.  We call this 'Allocations'.  Tension filled the air as everyone nervously waited to discover their fate.  I can now announce that the Alpha groups for Raleigh 10I are as follows...

Alpha Seven: Gravity Water System Repair in Kampung Bombong 3 
Luca Ferri, Sam Mason, Vikrant Shah, Xinmei Wang, Alice Loudon, Ayo Bakare, Brittany Stanniforth, Choh Ying, Cilu Mathew, Emma Young, Florence Cowell, Hun Yin Teoh, Jennifer Graham and Joseph Barron along with volunteer project managers Nicki Chambers, Helena Sweatman and Gihan Ganeshanantham.

Alpha Eight: Gravity Water System in Kampung Mongowou
Mohammed Mansoor, Rosie Gordon, Sarah Gales, Vivek Dasani, Yu Min Oui, Ben Wooff, Bethany Dodds, Chiun Min Ng, Emily Ingoldby, Imran Khan, Lena Talib, Louise Carey, Maria Gerono and Magan Broadley with volunteer project managers Neasa Braham, Ruhena Ahmed and Ben Baldwin.

Alpha Nine: Meter Of Rainforest (MORF) Project in Kudat
Marina Sykes, Olivia Sharples, Ryan Bower, Sara Downes, Shamira Sanghrajka, Abigail Kearney, Alex Sheldon, Beth Higginson, Fenella Nance, Hannah Mcindeor, Hong Seng Khor, Hugo Glover along with volunteer project managers Mike Smith and Pamela McFarlane.

With alpha groups assigned it seemed fitting that we spark some healthy rivalry between the teams by pitting them against each other in the famous 'Raleigh Olympics'.  The first event required strength and perseverance, it was the Tug O'War.
The staff team were (misguidedly) confident... until Alpha Nine beat them!

The next event required speed, agility, quickness and endurance.  The staff team attempted to redeem themselves...

...but were beaten miserably by the lightening quick efforts of Alpha Nine!

After conquering the challenge of Raleigh Olympics, everyone cooled off with a dip in the river.

Here's wishing all the participants of Raleigh 10I the very best of luck as they deploy out to their project sites.  Make the most of every day because time flies when you're having fun!
Be sure to keep updated on all the latest news via this blog.  You can also post comments on here that we will pass on to the venturers.  Speak soon...

10D Phase One Complete...Roll On Phase Two!

On the 27th July, with phase one complete, the 10 week venturers packed up their camps and boarded buses which delivered them to the beautiful Borneo Paradise where they were able to enjoy a shower, a real toilet, air-conditioning, a swim in the pool and even an ice cream or two!  The field base team waited excitedly to greet them...

Some were very excited at the prospect of feeling clean for the first time in three weeks!
Others were happy to be reunited with their fellow venturers.

Getting laundry done was a priority before their clothes grew legs and ran away (some hadn't realised that washing could be done by hand instead of by Mum!)
After returning all their equipment to the logistics team, everyone had some well deserved down time to unpack, catch up with friends, pick up post, enjoy some snacks and cool off in the pool.  In the evening they were treated to a tasty dinner (with not a tin of Raleigh rations insight), followed by an expedition meeting and...drum roll please...'The Skit Factor'!  One by one the Alpha groups took to the stage to perform their (generally) well rehearsed skits which were scored by our very own panel of judges. 

There was traditional Malay dancing.
A Raleigh-fied version of 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas' from the Alpha Four choir.
And even a questionable Beyonce Knowles impression!
It was a fabulous evening of entertainment thoroughly enjoyed by all, but there could only be one winner.  And so, without further ado, it is my pleasure to announce that the winners of 'The Skit Factor' July 2010 were...Alpha Four!  I must say, the victors very much enjoyed tucking into their ice-creamy prize. 

But all was not lost for the other Alpha groups as the winners of the loop 'Come Dine With Me' contest had yet to be announced.  After a heated debate amongst the judges of the loop competition it was decided that, for the first time in Raleigh Borneo history, we had a tie.  Both Alpha's One and Two had layed on such a spectacular night filled with good food and great entertainment that we couldn't decide between the two.  And so, both groups got to enjoy a yummy prize.

After a comfortable night's sleep in real beds, the venturers were up bright and early to discover where they would be spending phase two of the expedition.  I'm pleased to report that it was smiles all round as allocations were anounced, see for yourself...

Off to continue work on the kindergarten in Kampung Maliau Layung is the new look Alpha One team.
Graeme Beaven (PM), Rachel Gower (PM), Oonagh Hayes (PM), Stacey Bartlett, Chung Shin Ho, DJ Gibbs, Charlotte Grimstone, Primrose Miller, Eloise Samualson, Elizabeth Bird and last but not least Finlay Macleod.

Heading to Pulau Maliangin Besar to help build the community workshop is Alpha Two...
Isabel Burgess, Stephen Nunes, Ange Ling Tan, Phillip Ly, Emily Carter (PM), Sarah Watson (PM), Laura Richardson, George Ashwin, Helen Kwok, Daniel Ferriday and Candy May.

Venturing into Imbak Canyon as Alpha Three to work on the suspension bridge is...
Catherine Melis, Frantz Nehammer (PM), Aaron Thompson, Gary Williams, Nick Kjaersgaard (PM), Sim Wen Yi, Helen Norton (PM), Floss Severs, Lucianne Kelsall, Henry Harris and finally, Andrew Clapham.

Going to monkey around at Sepilok is Alpha Four...
Tom Styles, Tom Williams, Mika Ming, Naomi Jenkins, Chee Huan Lee, Katy McDonald (PM), Deborah Oxley, Manisha Hirani, GQ, Joyce Malmo (PM) and the lovely Abby Walker.

Off to complete their PADI dive courses before taking on the treking challenge are these new members of Alpha Five...
Andy Lowdon (PM), Dean Izzudin, Sarah Luton, Shane Kemp, Rhys Howells, Chris Robinson, Robert Lamont, Darren Pugh (PM), Abigail Bush, Danielle Lightfoot, Alannah Gauld, Carolyn Smith and Emily Foster.

And finally treking for twelve days before relaxing on Dive Island will be Alpha Six...
James Walmesley, John Edgar, Ben Griffith, Jessica Jackson, Chris Whitehead, Stephen Longfellow, Nick Johnson (PM), Matty Knox (PM), Caroline Reid (PM), Alexandra Gell, Narin Cakir, Charlotte Hall, Arina Latif and Emma Frobisher.

Having been devided into new Alpha groups, there was just time for a little team bonding before everyone deployed out the next morning.  Introducing the 'Raleigh Olympics'...

Having worn themsleves out, the venturers retired to their rooms to pack up their bags once again and prepare to be shiped out to their new project sites.  Roll on phase two!