Friday, 24 September 2010

Don't forget to keep in touch!

As the venturers and remaining volunteer managers eagerly prepare for the arrival on expedition over the next few weeks, this seems like a good time to give some advance warning of how you can get in touch.

  • Get blogging!  Please feel free to add comments to this blog, and we will distribute them to their intended recipients at project changeovers or on the loop.

  • Give us a tweet! If you have a Twitter account, follow our progress and leave us a message. 
  • Put pen to paper!  If you prefer the traditional approach, or do not wish your messages to be live on the internet for the world to see, why not write a letter?  Or for those who have forgotten how to write in this high-tech world, type an email and print it out.  

Letters (but no parcels please) can be sent to the address below and will also be distributed at changeover or on the loop.
Name of recipient
PO Box 14182
88848 Kota Kinabalu

(Please note that it can take a couple of weeks for post to reach Borneo from the UK.)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Meet the team!

Now that you’ve had a look around fieldbase, I’d like to introduce you to its current residents:

Mac McCarthy – Country Director

Mac has been working for Raleigh in Borneo for the last two years as Country Programme Manager.  We are delighted that he has now taken over the reins as most senior in-country staff member and are looking forward to learning a lot from his wealth of expertise.

Key responsibilities:  “I am in overall charge of Raleigh life out here and ultimately of all Raleigh Borneo’s operations.  I also drink a lot of tea.”

Most excited about:  “Starting my new role and getting a large expedition underway.”

Top tip: “Make me tea!”

Yolanda Graham – Recruitment, Support & Media Coordinator
Yo has been part of the permanent staff at fieldbase for the past two years, and is Borneo born and bred.  She harbours a wealth of invaluable local knowledge and her cheery smile lights up the office.

Key responsibilities:  “Recruitment of Host Country Venturers; working with the communications officer to keep the media updated, providing local knowledge and operational support, e.g. transport.”

Most excited about:  “Karaoke night!”

Top tip: “Make Mac tea so I don’t have to!“

Ed Laschet – Country Expedition Manager
This is Ed’s third stint with Raleigh in Borneo.  He arrived in January this year as a volunteer manager and liked it so much that he stayed on to coordinate a 5 week expedition this summer.  It’s becoming hard to get rid of him now.

Key responsibilities:  “I am responsible for the expedition on the ground, for which Serge and I are essentially the management team.  I am currently acting jointly as expedition manager and accountant and keeping an overview of the entire expedition.”

Most excited about:  “It’s going to be a big expedition with some really good projects, so I’m looking forward to visiting them on the loop and getting the expedition up and running.”

Top tip:  “Food is fuel – enjoy every meal!”

Serge Neumand – Deputy Programme Manager

Serge is another Raleigh Borneo veteran, and is also joining us for his third expedition.  He has been a project manager out in the field as well as logistics manager, and will therefore be able to provide valuable knowledge of all areas of the operation as the new team get their feet under the table.

Key responsibilities:  “The implementation and smooth running of the expedition on a day-to-day basis.

Most excited about:  “Getting out on the loop*.  And diving!”
(*see “Raleigh Lingo” on the right for a full insight into the new world of Raleigh terminology.)

Top tip: “Be adaptable and just go for it!”

Emma Parfey – Administrator

Emma is super-organised and multi-talented.  We may have to ban her from the karaoke night to give the rest of us a chance.

Key responsibilities:  “I’m making a lot of lists.  I will be stocking the office with stationery and running the Raleigh shop which will keep venturers supplied with toothpaste.  I will also be responsible for everyone’s valuables when they are out in the field, and for organising visa applications when required. ”

Most excited about:  “’Springing into action and running a streamlined operation.”

The Logistics Team (a.k.a. The Logs Boys)

Chris Beer – Logistics Coordinator

Chris has been involved with Raleigh since he took part in an expedition as a venturer over 20 years ago and this is his first time as a volunteer manager.  His favourite hobbies are driving and fixing things.

Key responsibilities:  “Food, equipment, Landrovers and radios.  And fixing things.”

Most excited about:  “Everything!”

Garry Owen – Logistics Coordinator

Garry has escaped from the Navy for a few months, where he usually serves as Logistics Officer with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.  He’ll be bringing military precision to the logs store.

Key responsibilities:  “Making sure everyone is fed and has the right equipment, plus driving around a lot in Landrovers.”

Most excited about:  “Getting out and about on the loop and seeing the different projects.”

Tom Styles – Logistics Coordinator
Tom took part in the previous expedition as a venturer, and we are very pleased to welcome him to The Dark Side (his words, not ours!) so that he can experience how the other half live.

Key responsibilities:  “Equipment, radios, vehicles and food.”

Most excited about:  “Having the opportunity to trek in new places across Borneo and to push myself harder than before.  New challenges!”

Chen Kang (CK) Leong – Logistics Coordinator

We are fortunate to have CK, a Malaysian national, as part of the team.  He took part in an expedition as a host country venturer in 2007 and was keen to get back and lend a hand as part of the management team.

Key responsibilities:  “In charge of food, equipment, vehicles and radios for the expedition.”

Most excited about:  “Going around to visit all the project sites and meeting all the young people.”

Marie Thomas – Field Base Advance Medic

Marie is a doctor who has most recently been working in a UK military hospital.  Fortunately for Raleigh, but less fortunately for her, she also has first-hand experience of tropical diseases, acquired during her recent extensive travels in Asia.

Key responsibilities:  “I am currently checking and putting together all the medical kit which will accompany groups onto project sites.  I am also spending time building relationships with the hospital and assessing the medical facilities available.”

Most excited about:  “Getting out there!”

Helen Denny – Team Coach

Helen is an experienced youth worker who is making her debut appearance for Raleigh.  She will be providing essential support to the oldies in the team who have forgotten what it was like to be young.

Key responsibilities:  “Being nice to people.  And helping with youth work training and skill development for the volunteer managers; offering information and advice on how to work with young people and coaching the volunteer managers in youth speak.”

Most excited about:  “Going out on project and working with all the venturers.  And the beach.”

Adam Hollingworth – Photographer
Adam is a semi-professional photographer whose time with Raleigh here in Borneo is the first step on an Asian photographic odyssey.  His creative input will help bring this blog to life as well as capturing all the best moments for posterity.

Key responsibilities:  “Photographically documenting the development of the venturers and the projects on expedition for the Raleigh magazine, slideshow and media such as this blog.”

Most excited about:  “Getting out and having the opportunity to photograph some amazing environment and being part of some important projects in Borneo, and becoming a better photographer.”

Paula Barratt (that’s me!) – Communications Officer

Previously working in customer relations in the insurance industry, I am also a Raleigh debutante.  I’m thrilled to be swapping the corporate jungle for primary rainforest.

Key responsibilities:  “Keeping both the expedition participants and the world at large informed of our progress.  I will be updating the blog every few days when I’m in the office and keeping the venturers supplied with news from home and gossip from the expedition as often as possible.”

Most excited about:  “Being part of the exciting projects that we’ll be working on and learning lots from all the great people that I’ll be meeting along the way.”

Finally, and most importantly, I present Lolita, our Field Base cook. 
Loli works wonders with her wok and we are powerless to resist!  We’re expecting some serious weight gain amongst the Field Base team!

Check in for more news from Field Base a little later this week.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Raleigh Borneo - Autumn team fall in

Well, the big day has arrived and expedition 10J is now officially under way, with the arrival of the advance staff team to Raleigh Borneo fieldbase.
Fieldbase is located on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu, the main city in Malaysian Borneo's northern state of Sabah.  Staffed by two permanent staff members and during expeditions a team of volunteer managers, it is the nerve centre for all of Raleigh’s activities in Borneo.

I will introduce you to the team in the next blog, but for now I would like to give you a little guided tour:
The Field Base office is already a hive of activity, as the advance team start gearing up for the start of the expedition next month.  This is the room where important decisions are taken! (Quite a lot of tea gets drunk in here too.)

The logistics store is home to an array of equipment which will eventually be used on our project sites, and the all-important Raleigh rations which will be sustaining us for the weeks to come.  (I hope everyone likes sardines!)

The radio room is the most important part of Field Base while the expeditions are in operation.  Each team will radio into Field Base on a daily basis to provide an update on their status and the fieldbase team will be manning the radio 24 hours a day, prepared for any eventuality.  For now, the room is filled with the radios that will be taken out into the field, once they have been fully tested and deemed reliable by our trusty logistics team.

Next to the kitchen is the room which houses the all-important three bowls.  The Raleigh “three bowl system”, which we will learn to live by over the coming months, is a simple process  used for washing our cutlery and mess tins, both in fieldbase and out on the project sites.  It is a tried and tested method of maintaining hygiene in even the most remote conditions.
Last but by no means least, I would like to present the Raleigh Borneo Field Base Team: 

We’ll get to know everyone a little better tomorrow.