Sunday, 13 March 2011

Loopy Sabah

Chris Beer, our intrepid Logs Manager, went out on the Loop this phase to visit all the static sites. Here's how he got on out in the field...

When deciding to take part in my second consecutive Raleigh expedition (and 5th overall… a proud venturer from 1986 am I), riding the loop fantastic was one of my much anticipated highlights.

The ‘Loop’ occurs once each phase, when a crack team of field base staff set off in a mighty Bravo Land Rover. Our mission is to visit all the static projects around this fair island. We deliver equipment, munchies, mail (and yes mums, we collect it for posting too… if it’s been written!) and see how everyone is getting on. This exciting episode of the loop consisted of myself, Chris (Logistics manager), Chris (Finance manager) and Caroline (DPM). It also incorporated a Raleigh trustee, Andrew Clay, who was here to check up and snoop (only joking) on how the Raleigh philosophy is implemented in the field. We few, we happy few, we band of loopers, also have the honour of judging each alpha’s attempt at providing dinner and entertainment, as they try to win the coveted Raleigh ‘Come Dine With Me’ competition.

The Loop Team
‘Avez-vous Le Cuppa?’ - The Bravo climbed the steep track and parked up at our first stop last Thursday afternoon, in the village of Toboh Pahu . Loaded to the sills, this motley crew and cargo were treated to a raucous chorus from 10,000 grubby local children (well about 40), all chanting “welcome loop, welcome loop”. We had arrived at Alpha 3. Their gravity water feed project is no longer a pipe dream, despite a slight planning error when a plastic water tank miraculously did two trips down and back up a mountain. Highlights of Alpha 3’s French restaurant themed evening were the angry French chef and the smarmy waiters, together with the Parisian style decor and games galore. The competition to show off special personal talents such as dancing eyebrows and limb contortions, made a few loopers queasy. The party snacks bags we were gifted on departure were also a welcome addition to the next day’s long, long drive, right across the third largest island on the planet.

‘RIP Rocky’ - Alpha 5 are based deep in the jungle in the south of Sabah, about 8 hours drive from Alpha 3, so the weary loopers pulled in to be met by a wonderful massage and mud spa treatment. Apparently the venturers here had been preparing themselves by having several mud fights in recent days, however work went on as well, with an amazing amount of rocks being moved up to their water storage tank site. And I do mean a lot of rocks… these venturers are machines! Best not tell them the sand and cement still have to go up! An amazing surprise for dinner was fresh BBQ tuna steaks with baked potatoes, which went down very well. The RIP sign on the table to commemorate all the individually named rocks, sadly dropped and lost while on their way up to their work site, was a little disturbing though. Sleeping in a hammock by a gentle stream was an ethereal experience for me and a definite step up from the granitesque floorboards of Alpha 3.

‘Monkey Business’ - Alpha 4 are at Sepilok, where I took a chance to do one of our many checks on the Bravo, ensuring the vehicles are in tip top condition and safe for the arduous driving conditions of Borneo. Meanwhile the venturers of Alpha 4 were working hard, building and repairing boardwalks at the new sun bear sanctuary. They have to walk 45 minutes each way at either end of the day so it’s tough work for these guys. They had, however, prepared a really fun evening for us with a big game of ‘Would I lie To You?’, which followed on from a great visit to see the orangutan feeding and a viewing of Mr. Wong’s sun bears. I will forever remember the wake-up call at 0545 however, when we experienced a dozen venturers, still in their hammocks in the dark, belting out the rap song, ‘Every Day I see My Dream’ - Truly inspirational, although it was commented that it did sound a little like ‘Every Day I Clean My Drain!’

‘Following Che’ - Next destination on our slightly wonky circumnavigation of Borneo, was a visit to the mountain region of Pitas, oop North, and a look around the site at Alpha 1. Although not geographically embarrassed, we enquired about directions at a snack shack a few miles away and a man decked out in a Brazil football shirt decided to take us under his wing. He had mischievous eyes, a full grin and was riding a motorcycle and led us along the rough dirt tracks to the village, looking a bit like an Asian Che Guevara. He spoke little English, made a point of counting how many of us were in the vehicle before we set off (we have no idea why) and stopped to point out each of the churches along route, until the ever increasing depth of mud finally engulfed his scooter, nearly toppling him spectacularly. The Alpha 1 gravity water feed project looks excellent, despite a tree fall over the pipe work and they have a great camp location, in the rolling foothills, near a minestrone river. The group has been getting on well with their community and the local kids are really helping keep morale up when exhaustion strikes. The evening’s entertainment was a speed dating event for loopers, PMs and venturers combined, and the uneven ratio of boys to girls created a surreal but very funny atmosphere.

‘Starry, Starry Night’ - Early afternoon on day five saw four weary loopers boarding the ferry for our 2 hour crossing to Maliangin island, to meet up with Alpha 2. This paradise island is, however, not all lounging around and we were very impressed with the hard work they have put in, getting five compost toilets started around various parts of this lovely isolated community. A swim in the crystal blue waters was followed by a tour and a lovely relaxed dinner, with a beautiful hand written menu, individually presented on dried leaves. After dark we were treated to an amazingly clear, starry sky, with fireflies darting between the branches of the trees. The taste of fresh brochette was almost prize winning in its own right but the sight of our departing committee the next morning, waving us adieu as we sailed away from the beach in our tiny boat, will always stay with me.

‘School Dinners’ - Our final visit was back into the mountainous Northern region of Borneo, where Alpha 6 hide out. Their project is to sneak around the jungle, tracking animals and birds around the village of Mongowou. The drive into the village is very demanding but our heroic Bravos can handle the tough tracks, easing past lesser vehicles in the mud. A big surprise awaited us as we arrived, when a group of venturers created an arch of palm leaves to welcome us to the village with a traditional blessing. The local theme continued all evening as we were treated to local delicacies of tapioca, dried fish soup and local chicken. We also drank from freshly opened coconuts, tried sago with a spicy salsa and pancakes (well it was Shrove Tuesday!) Absolutely none of these foods tasted anything like school puddings! At evening’s end a brilliant song was performed on guitar by Lee, with backing harmonies by the whole group. It was written by them about the village they have already fallen in love with. There was not a dry eye in the house.

‘Closing the Loop’ – With six gruelling days of hard driving under our belts, we returned to field base with our loop theme tune ‘Walking on Sunshine’ blaring out of the speakers and high fives all around. Our venturers all have their post, sweets, fizzy drinks, football scores and news from their friends and families (if you’ve commented on the blog of course… hint, hint!).

We, the loopers, have emptied our smelly vehicle, cleaned our clothes and ourselves and all that’s left is to decide who will win the coveted ‘Come Dine With Me’ chocolate cake prize, at changeover. It’s going to be tough to decide so perhaps I’ll just eat it myself!


Sofa said...

oh hiiiiiiiiiii nell maudslay.
look out for my card - dont like to blow my own trumpet, but its real great.
sorry to hear about your bum rash - must be really awkward.

iona said...

Message for Izzy Reid - Alpha 4 - great to see you in the photos on the blog - it all sounds wonderful love Noodles, Dad, Oonie & Lulu xx

Anonymous said...

lieve lieve Maud,(alpha 1)

Wat leuk om de blog te lezen en dat het goed met je gaat daar in het noorden van Sabah! Je ziet er vrolijk uit op de foto's. Fijn om te zien. We hebben zo lang niets gehoord van je persoonlijk. We missen je hier erg hoor. Dit weekend lente in Nederland. De terasssen staan al weer op de markt. Die missen jou ook hoor. Nog 4 weken en we zien je op Schiphol . Verheug me op alle verhalen en foto's. Hoop snel iets van je te horen. Ben benieuwd naar het volgende avontuur. Heel veel xxxx papa en mama


Hello MICHAEL WALLER and all in Alpha 5. Great to see you all looking so well and enjoying a meal together. Everyone asking after you since recent disaster but we've reassured them you're all safe and well. The team seem to have made great progress with the building work - keep it up. We could do with you here on our renovation project, John and Martin filled 90 bags of rubble so far, Ellen and Des done 10 tip runs and Babs made the tea!
You'll be finishing this phase soon so try and keep in touch by any means, hopefully we'll hear from you soon. We received letter 2 from you, it's been passed around and now on fridge for everyone to see.
As always, missing you, lots of love from Babs/Mam, John and Martin

Anonymous said...

Tom Shelton:
Hii bro, hope you're well and getting an awesome tan. Expecting you to have perfected all your anecdotes to tell us by the time you get home!! Maybe some new ideas for cocktails? Maybe you should host your own cocktail party to celebrate your return and make us all drinks? I volunteer to make 500 canapes or whatever you wanted me to lol.
News from here iiiiis mainly that Emma (my housemate) and I managed to break my bed by jumping on it (omg like soooo mature of us) which is funny, could do with your help to fix it, seems like the kind of thing you'd know how to do. we just kind of half-heartedly hit it with a hammer, hoped for the best, then propped it up with my Spanish dictionary.
Anyway I should get on with some creative writing so i'll end this now..
hope you're having a great time, actually kind of might miss u a bit!!?!?!?! shock horror weirdddd times.
lots of love
ur big sister (Helen Shelton) xx

mike said...

Hi Rhian [ alpha 5 ]
have bumped into both Suzanna and Sarah Yendall over the last week who of course asked after you and send their hello's! Sarah's more longwinded. The tsunami in Japan and the pacific basin had me scanning the blog site pleased to hear you were all ok, happily sheltered by the Phillipines. Have had Dave, Julia and the boys up this weekend so just chilling out now late Sunday afternoon. Spring is on the way, went to see QE jazz with Dave last night and everything here mosieing along, Pat a bit tetchy cos I'm eating too many of the sssms we brought back from Slovenia. Has been good to see lots off pictures of half your head appearing on the blog...the smiley half!
lots of love dad

Anonymous said...

heyy mathieu,
hopelijk gaat het allemaal goed en zit je op veilig land
ik ben eindelijk klaar met me internship, was echt heel zaai!
morgen weer school :/
papa en mama zijn heel hard bezig met en auto zoeken, hopelijk vinden ze wat
maar ja hier gaat alles best wel goed.
ik ben echt jalours, ik zou ook wel op en tropisch eiland willen zitten! lekker warm, nou eigenlijk is het hier de laatste tijd ook wel lekker weer
kusjes, ghislaine

Anonymous said...

To Bente van Keulen, Alpha 5,

Vrijdag 11 maart, 9.00 uur in de auto richting Den Haag hoor ik op het nieuws het verschrikkelijke bericht over een aardbeving in Japan met tsunami waarschuwing voor de hele regio inclusief Philipijnen en Indonesie.Topografische kennis was niet zo helder dat ik kon inschatten of Borneo ook gevaar liep. Bezorgdheid alom. Joachim gebeld met Raleigh London en daar waren ze zeer proffessioneel en behulpvaardig met de berichtgeving. Na twee uur stress werd het ons duidelijk dat Borneo geen gevaar liep en moet zeggen dat Raleigh om het uur een update gaf op hun blog. Hulde dus voor Raleigh. In Japan waren er golven van 10 meter hoog en meer dan tienduizend doden, ongelooflijk wat een tsunami kan aanrichten. We volgen de regio hier op de voet, maar hebben vertrouwen in de berichtgeving. Hoop je over een week weer even te spreken, benieuwd naar je verhalen. Vandaag weer een foto van je op de blog. Hier alles goed, 2-1 gewonnen van NAC, we gaan voor de play offs, wie weet wordt het nog wat dit seizoen. Schat, geniet nog van een weekje Alpha 5 en hou steeds meer van je.
Liefs, Papa xxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Hi to Leah (Alpha 1)
Great to see you all in the loop photo, and hear that all is going well with the gravity water feed project. By the time you get this that will probably be completed! We got your first letter on Friday 11th - THANK YOU!! Take care and enjoy your last phase - environmental I guess. Lots of love from us all, Mum xx

talktotilley said...

for Hannah Tilley Alpha 6,
Hi Han Bean,
Just got the new photo of you after the loop visit. You look like you are all having fun-fantastic. All well here. I am writing this lying on the bed with the dog beside me (just kidding - knew that would wind you up!!!!) having just been out for the evening walk. It is freezing here tonight.
Uncle Lol came for dinner last night - he recently fell and broke his arm again even before he got to the pub.I have been out in the garden today putting up the mini greenhouse and weeding the raised beds as I plan to do lots of planting this year. I even got Dad to the garden centre.Yo!
2and a half more weeks until the end of term and then I have to get Sarah sorted for Uganda. We'll be back down at Cotsworld and we are already listing all the jabs!!!!
Will write again this week but I have to go now to schnoofle the bird.Stay happy sweetpea.
Lots of love Mum

Anonymous said...

Stefan Otto Alpha 7
HI sweetie hope all is well with you .The world seems to be in total temoil at the moment, the whole of north africa is in uprise , civil war in lybia, egypt yemen and more ,all trying to over throw their governments (egypt successful but gadaffi seems to be getting the upper hand in libia. Then there is Japan not sure if you have been able to see any of the footage, huge huge earth quake and sunami (an esttimated eighty thousand missing. hopr this is not affecting you gyus.
On a more positive not ,today was argus day and a beautiful still warm say . Dad not sure if he is pleased to not be cycling or not.
Had phil and hels for lunch . all well with them and every one sends lots of love.
Cant believe you are entering your last phase , hope it is a good one!! We akll miss you hugely and i am starting to count the sleeps untill you come home. Love you loads
Mum x x x x

Angela Strach said...

For Tim Browning: Alpha 5
Hi Tim!
At last we've had an email from you - SO pleased to hear your news - minimal as it was! Then we were updated from the website with alot more detail of what Alpha 5 had been doing - that was pleasing too, as there'd been so much about the other groups but never much about yours! Wow, son, can't wait to see your muscles when you get back! And now I understand why we haven't heard from you - the loop were collecting LETTERS to post back!!! As I said in mine, it was a strange enough experience for me to get back into letter writing but for you who had never written one I don't think...not your forte!!And I expect you've forgotten how to write since you left Uni! Not sure how much longer you have there and what comes next. I will be writing again soon now I know you've been getting them. All is well here. Laurence has a job with the RSPB April to August, which is great. Charlee's fine, Alex good too. We're going to take him out for mothers' day????!!He is the only one I can be with so we thought we'd go to Bath so we can be together then (April 3rd)It's still a bit chilly here but definitely Spring. I wonder how you're coping with the heat. You looked good on the photo we've just seen! Must stop. Lovely to have the news...loads of love
mama & papa xxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

For: Bente van Keulen

Ha Lieverd,

Leuk verhaal op de site over de Loop. Leuk om je op de foto te zien! Als we de "Loopers" mogen geloven zijn jullie hard aan het werk. Gelukkig lijkt het er ook op dat de omstandigheden/faciliteiten om daarna een beetje bij te komen ook in orde zijn. Wij zijn benieuwd naar je verhaal. Zet 'm op!!
Knuffel van ons. J&S

Dad Barnes said...

Hi Sarah Barnes
We received your letter really quickly - there must be at least ten snail mail letters in a system somewhere between Ireland, England and Sabah. We love your stories - makes you realise how dull life here can be. Rachel's been to Stratford, Mum's off work but getting better. The cats left a live mouse for us. We all send our love (except the mouse) - ther's a gap without you. Can you do 2000 trees with Rachel?

Loads of love

Sophie P said...

Hey Twyds,

How ares ya! Big news! your going to miss transformers 3! ...and yes it is in 3d- fancy dress cinema trip is on the cards.

I hope the jungle is surprising and delighting you as much as "youve been framed! is for me right now.

Keep well, eat your porridge, tell some jokes. cant wait to hear from you in a few weeks.

Miss you x

p.s. the envelopes your letters come in are by far, the coolest things i own.

smell you laters xxx

mutti b said...

so interesting to read you felt as though you were there

thanks also for news of the troubles in japan

luise lotte said...

hi Mathieu in alpha 2,

Kregen een blog over jullie bezigheden en ontvangst van de loop.
Het lijkt erop dat jullie het allemaal dik voor elkaar hebben.Werk aan de toiletten loopt voorspoedig,tijd om te genieten van de sterrenhemel en vuurvliegies.Dan nog een welverdiend maaltje mmmmmmm.
Ik hoop dat het tij niet te hoog is geworden en dat jullie weer op camp aan strand zijn.
Liefs mama

Sofa Maudslay said...

hi nell - sofa again
just got a call from mum who made me get on here and tell you that she was just walking jock and bumped into paul himself going for a jog. she said, i quote 'we had banter'. cringe. apparently jock was all over him like a rash. you being his number one stalker and all we thought we should tell you
lots of love xxxxxx

Anonymous said...

hi catrin hope you are well. House is very quiet without you.waiting for you to come home so you can tidy your bedroom.see you soon mam and dad and your favourite sister!

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura alpha 9
Hope you are still enjoying it, glad to see that you are safe and the situation is being watched.
The boys took the engine out of your car ??!!!
They say they will get it back together soon, I think ??
Everything else is fine,hope you enjoy the rest of the trip.
Love you Mum x x x x

Anonymous said...

Hello Tom (Shelton Alpha 4)!

Great to see more smiling pictures of you. Have made you an appointment with Ben at 9am on April 11th.(Mum's litle joke!! xx)

Anonymous said...

Paula (Alpha 2)
Hi Paula - just got your 2nd letter - lovely to hear from you but sorry you hadn't received mine. I've now sent 3 altogether so maybe two will arrive together. We've been kept up to date via the blog and know you were moved to higher ground after the earthquake and tsunami. Very glad to hear you're safe! We haven't heard if you have returned to your original site or not. You were very tired when you wrote - I hope you're recovered now and that the project is making progress. Keep smiling - we are thinking of you and looking forward so much to you coming home next month. Lots of love and a great big hug! M&D xxx

Anonymous said...

for Thomas Peach

It's great to hear how you are all geting on a seeing the photos. Happy Birthday for 17th have a lovely time. love Mum and Dad x

Anonymous said...

Adam Hext Alpha 5,

Hey Ads, i've just started my work exp this week at the vets. Its absolutley great, i love it! The only problem is that it is very far to drive, about 40 mins every morning! I've had a great first day and my second day was good too. I've been watching operations and helping clean and prepare for consultations etc... Hope you still having a good time as we're all thinking of you. I'm enjoying my week off of school, and work is fun too. I've had my progress report back from school and i'm still set for straight A's. Mum and Aunty Jude are very pleased. Hope everything remains up-beat and the experience stays at its max. I wish you the best, speak soon, Liam x

Anonymous said...

Adam Hext Alpha 5,
Well love, we r nearly have way thru your trip, and i bet are all having such a fab time?? And to think that your bedroom is now finished and the moles are going from dads garden one by one!lol Its my b. day on the weekend, im 45... was going to treat myself to some botox... but had one of my"plenty of fish"dates last nite, and think ive hit the jackpot lol... really nice man and we r now having a few dates lol... wont tie the knot until u r back home,know that youre feeling tired but am sure u are all doing good and the finished results will be so rewarding.. love u lots . Favourite Aunty .. xxx

Anonymous said...

To Bobby Breuer,

Lieve Bobby, als je deze mail onder ogen krijgt is je 2e change-over.YOU DID IT !!!!! Heerlijk moet dat zijn. Ben zo enorm benieuwd hoe je trekking is geweest.Die van AR was loodzwaar begreep ik uit een berichtje dat ze op de blog had gezet, maar ze was wel super voldaan.Je mag trots zijn op jezelf na deze geweldige prestatie. Nu je laatste 3 weken en daarna lekker weer je eigen ding doen. Ik kreeg vandaag een brief van Bente en die schreef dat ze daar toch weer erg naar uitkeek. Heerlijk nog een mooie reis maken van 2 maanden samen met Anne en Anne-Romee. Vrijdag zien jullie elkaar ook weer na 3 weken, ben weer jaloers dat jij haar kan omhelsen en ik niet:-) Geniet van de change-over en je laatste 3 weken project. Ik hoop op nog wat mooie foto's op de blog.
Ik vind je een TOPPER. Knuffels ook aan mijn lieve Bente

sal said...

Hello Robert James
Good to see your group photo. It certainly looks like you are all having a good time. What's next? It all sounds so fantastic all your adventures.
Well, I have some good news! You got more than enough points to get into Leeds. Well done son. So the choice is yours either Leeds or Exeter. Oowee!
Hope you get the cards I sent you for the 23rd. Happy Birthday, will certainly be thinking of you!
Love mum

Anonymous said...

To Bente van Keulen Alpha 5

Hallo mijn lieve, lieve schat. Je hebt het hem maar weer geflikt.... je 2e project! Een kort stukje op de blog met een foto waarop je aan de tafel zit,volgens mij tijdens het eten van gegrilde tonijn met gebakken aardappels, het kan toch slechter zou je denken :-) Gisteren een brief met je verhalen van de eerste paar dagen in Taliwas.Terwijl ik dit schrijf ben je denk ik je tas aan het pakken om weer 9 uur in de bus terug naar de basis te reizen. Ik ben zeer benieuwd naar je verhalen a.s. vrijdag. HEERLIJK om dan je stem weer te horen, kan niet wachten...Ik race vrijdag, direct na schilderen, naar huis en ben tegen 12.30 thuis!!!!!!
Ik hoop dat er post op je ligt te wachten. Lieve KANJER ik vind je een doorzetter ! We praten ZO weer lekker een paar keer bij.Hou van je XXXXXXXXXX mama

talktotilley said...

For Hannah Tilley Alpha 6,
Dear Hannie,
You may want to be saving all the flora and fauna of Borneo but you are not bringing a chicken home. I have barricaded the shed!!!!!
Just received another letter from you in your ecology phase and loved all the descriptions of the animals. I bet you just love poking around in the jungle but watch that nothing nasty bites you. The bits about the giant toad and the thunderstorms were fantastic!
I would love to sleep in a tin shack with a major storm going on around me.You lucky thing. Bushey is going to seem a bit tame in August although we do have plentiful supplies of cheddar but maybe you are off crackers by now!
Sorry about your earring.It happens. To stop the holes growing over I would use your remaining one intermittently in both ears until you get to Aussie.
I am off to Lords with Dad tonight for a posh dinner. Yeh! First time I've been out for weeks. Will have to find my gladrags. Am still not eating in between meals and am still putting my reward stickers in my diary. Not losing any weight mind!
I guess you must be coming towards the end of the ecology project and thinking about the trek and diving. Hope the boots are still OK.
A huge hug Hannie. Stay cool(literally) and happy.Oodles of love of course.

Helen Irvine said...

Message for Ashleigh (Alpha 8)

Hi Ash,
It was great to hear from you. It sounds like it's tough but fun! More good news... you have an offer for medicine from Glasgow. Well done!
Keep the diary going and enjoy every minute.
Love you and miss you.

Anonymous said...

Message for Mathias Bidault

Hi Mat
Thanks so much for your lovely letter - we all pounced on it and have read it loads of times, it must be like it was in the last century when the explorers wrote home. I hope you got my package with the football supplement, photos etc. You are definitely getting quite poetical with all your experiences, your letter was very vivid. It all sounds so wonderful, you can't imagine how much I wish I had the chance to do it and how I hope this experience will stay with you all your life. Aren't you glad you took a gap year and didn't hang around for Oxbridge (stuff them).
I'll write another letter soon with more news but you wanted football news - Arsenal's last month has been disastrous, after losing the Carling Cup to Birmingham, they then lost the return leg to Barca 2-1 (after Barca scored an own goal!) and then they went out of the FA Cup Final to Man U 2-0. All they have left now is the League, where they are head to head with Man U. Jens Lehman is coming out of retirement as Arsenal's goalkeepers are all injured. Man U beat Marseille last night so they go through to Champions League Quarter Final. Anyway onto what you care about most - QPR. They are now 10 points clear at the top, the only team that has beaten them recently is Millwall. They beat Crystal Palace last week 2-1. There is controversy about the ownership of one of the Argentine players which may mean they get docked 7 points, but people seem to think it is more likely to be a fine; even if they do lose the points they still look like going up.....
Jacques got A and B in his Maths and Physics AS retakes and A in his A2 mock, so his parents are happy. Tim Bouyer came round for dinner last week and we had a nice evening. I am just about to apply for Olympic tickets, I will do it in your name too (and go for football). I have done your Edinburgh accommodation application (the tuition fees thing is later), and also applied for the Monro tax rebate.
In terms of world news - you don't want to know. I think the best bit of what you are doing in many ways is being free from all the troubles. Just concentrate on that important life skill of knowing how to build a composting toilet! Seriously, you must have heard about the earthquake in Japan because they moved you to higher ground even though you were not in a tsunami zone. Disaster for half a million people and it is still going on. In the Middle East, the people have risen up against the dictators and things look quite positive in Egypt and Tunisia but Bahrain is getting tough and Libya is a bad sitation as Gaddafi is hanging in. But don't think about all that. Enjoy paradise while you can. We love you loads and can't wait to see you on April 11th. YELM

Anonymous said...

Hi Nick (Alpha 2)

Good to see you now have a tan and the beard is amazing!! Got your birthday mail in time for my big 50 which was great, thanks babes. Your dad is making his first birthday cake tonight so I feel vvery honoured. It sounds like you have yet to get our snail mail we have sent 3 off over the last month but hopefully they will be there for you when you get back for allocations this weekend. Don't forget to try and get in touch with Pauline at camp america and there is a scanned contract for you on your email which needs to be sign and returned as soon as you can. Anyway off to drown in champers now love you buckets and buckets mum xxxx

The Lows said...

Hi Will (alpha 2)
It won't be long now until you are back at base and ready for the final stage of your adventure. I am sure you are looking forward to the diving. We had snow here again at the weekend but it has all gone now. Replaced by rain! We're off on holiday next week so I had better start getting organised for that. It is an early morning flight from Edinburgh so will involve us leaving here at some horrendous hour. We're all well. I have written you another letter which may reach you before you leave base camp again. Hope you managed to finish building the toilets. Lots of love
Mum and Dad xx

The Twelves Family said...

Hi Kitty (Alpha 2, Maliangan Island)
The photos of the island look fantastic, can't believe that it's change over again. Hope your kit's holding up as it looks like it'll take a bit of a bashing on the expedition.We'll keep a list of building and plumbing jobs for you when you get back so you can use your new found skills (we've checked and it's not illegal if you want to keep washing your smalls in the river pont)
Clio's had a service and is waiting on the drive if you can remember what to do.
Just remember SORTED and STELA when you dive and don't call them flippers!!!(or I'll tell Ken).Keep snapping and slapping on the lotion!
Love you loads.
Mum, Dad, Charlie, Jessie, Hugs, Roly, Martha and Tigs XXXXXXXX
(PS Tigs is on a final warning as she's abused the poppy on the duvet cover again!)

Anonymous said...

Hi Thomas M (Alpha 4)
Those are some muddy boots! Looks like you are still enjoying - so happy to get another pic of you. Remember to look around you and enjoy the beauty - probably a beauty you've never seen before, but I hope you will again. Much the same here. PWD was approved for Mar 1/11! Saw Joyce who says hello and is watching the blog (I think Mark shows it to her regularly as she doesn't know how). Missing you much. Granna says hello too. Love from Mum.

Rachel said...

Hey Tom (Peach, alpha 4),

I hope that all has resumed back to normal after the tsunami warning that you had out there. You'll be amazed when you come back and read what has been going on!

Oooo... you were right about me doing well in uni, all my completed unit are 60% + and my last assignment result was 87%!! :)

Anyways more importantly - Happy Birthday!!!! :)

I hope the expedition make this birthday the best yet!


Rachel said...

Hey Tom (Peach, alpha 4),

I hope that all has resumed back to normal after the tsunami warning that you had out there. You'll be amazed when you come back and read what has been going on!

Oooo... you were right about me doing well in uni, all my completed unit are 60% + and my last assignment result was 87%!! :)

Anyways more importantly - Happy Birthday!!!! :)

I hope the expedition make this birthday the best yet!


yohani yusof said...

Hello Gina ( Alpha 4)

hi sweetie!! i am excited to know you have finished Phase 2 - how was your diving? I sent you a DHL parcel full of goodies for you and your team to enjoy..yes, including chocolate as a treat! Enjoy! You should get it by Wednesday or Thurs 17 March. I have already sent your transcripts to USC and also emailed her a copy. I also emailed to Dr James to get his help. I also sent your plane ticket details by email and also printed a copy and sent it tog with the parcel. Hope you got it. I emailed to Hayley Burnell as well. Do call or email back soon. We all miss you and looking forward to you returning home on April 10.

Love Mummy

Anonymous said...

Lieve Onne (nog even alpha 3), time flies, je tweede tocht zit er bijna op. Elke dag checken we de site, en het ziet er jaloersmakend mooi uit! Wij Hebben het heerlijk in de bergen en denken (en praten natuurlijk)veel over je. Soms willen we je het liefst heel even in levende lijve zien, om je een big hug te geven en je verhalen te horen. Als we de foto's zien van de divers en trackers dan staat je weer een fantastische 3 weken te wachten! Lot vertrekt vrijdag naar Kenya en Willem heeft net tentamen gedaan. Hoop echt dat je de brief hebt gekregen. Geniet en bewaar al je verhalen! Kus van ons allemaal!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristan (Alpha 1),
So glad to hear and see that all is well on phase 2. It sounds like the water feeder is hard, but rewarding work. Keep going and enjoy the experience. More letters are on their way and thanks for your postcards. Its greast to hear from you.
Take very good care of yourself and make every moment count.
Lots of love Mum, Dad, Matha & 'Cat'x.

Daan Hinloopen said...

To Hidde Hinloopen

Yoo Hidde, het ziet er allemaal weer fantastisch uit daar. Verschrikkelijk weer hier nogsteeds ookal begint het een beetje zonniger te worden. Net me rapport gehad en daar hoef je je geen zorgen over te maken. Zou met dit rapport naar VWO kunnen maarja die taal is nogsteeds het probleem. Ik ga nu de wedstrijd Spartak Moskou - Ajax kijken. Dit is de return ajax heeft de vorige wedstrijd erg onverdiend verloren. Hopen dat ze nu wel winnen. Ik wens je veel plezier in je laatste fase en hoop ook dat je in een leuke groep komt.


Hans said...

To Hidde Hinloopen
Hidde, hoe gaat het met mijn favoriete zeehond ? Ik mis hem wel ! Keep the howling alive

Anonymous said...

Tom Shelton hello!
Still reeling from the (delightful) shock of receiving a letter from you earlier in the week (so that's what your handwriting's like?!), I picked up the phone to hear your voice: fantastic! You sounded perfectly normal too ... well, what counts for normal in our family that is. Hope you receive the four letters still en route to you. The biggest news therein is that we now have a new DISHWASHER!! I'm not letting anyone get it dirty or wet yet though, just enjoying looking at it all sparkly and new.
Is that a photo of your candelabra on the blog? Most impressive.
Ed's going to see the Hadron Collider in June. Last night I told Westie to make sure he doesn't touch any buttons on it. Westie asked after you - thought you were in Burma!
Enjoy the trek and dive, look after your knees (you're the bees' knees after all ) and keep safe,
Lots of love,

Anonymous said...

To Maud, Alpha 1.

Hey Maud!
Wat ontzettend leuk om je op de foto's te zien en de update te lezen, drukke bedoeling daar he..
De tijd gaat nu echt snel, over een paar weken ben je alweer thuis! Morgen gaan Mathijs en ik weer even langs in Breda dus dan zullen we hoogstwaarschijnlijk wel weer hele verhalen horen van je mama over je avonturen daar! Geniet ervan! Tot snel, xx

Anonymous said...


Hi Mat
I forgot to say, I had to change your hotmail password as I had to supply your hotmail address for the Edinburgh accommodation application. So if you need to go on it the password is now "daffodil".
Daisy had a lovely birthday, we went to Maze, the Gordon Ramsey restaurant, there was a good voucher (£25 for three courses plus champagne plus a tour of the kitchens!). The food was delicious but the portions were MINISCULE, I have never seen such tiny portions. Daisy's veal was the size of a large grape! It was a interesting experience but not a patch on Hakkasan. She shot off to see the Wombats at Hammersmith Apollo with friends from both the Lycee and Notting Hill. The Friday before her birthday she had 11 girls round to the house from Notting Hill for take-away, and they all ended up composing brilliant dance routines on the terrace with the music blaring out (surprisingly Ned did not come round). Rose went to school today with a red rubber nose on and a big box of cookies that she and Gabriela made last night, to sell, for Red Nose day. Daddy and I are going to Ranee and Marc's tonight for dinner (with Sandrine and Guillaume, Constance's parents) and I have got red noses for Dad and I, and six Red Nose Scratch cards....
Rose won a Palme d'Or for Exceptional Service to the Lycee: she helped Donna set up an English Library and promoted it to the whole school. There was supposed to be a Palme Awards ceremony in South Ken on 11th March, with the Proviseur and we were all excited for Rose, but then it had to be cancelled....because Mrs Nichols died and it was her funeral on the same day. You know I never liked her but it still shook me to hear she had died. Now of course, they have set the Awards Ceremony for the 14th April, when we are in Thailand. Rose cried....
Better get on, enjoy the diving, remember to say you already have your PADI, maybe you can do an advanced course, but DON'T TAKE ANY RISKS......
Remember, we are meeting you at your terminal in Bangkok so stay put!! I will have my blackberry447725758668. YELM

Anonymous said...

Dear James Mclean Alpha 8 11b, thanks for your letter, it was really good to hear from you, you must have felt quite sad not to be able to dive with the others but at least you could snorkle, enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful beach, you all looked so happy and relaxed on the photo, look forward to seeing your photos of long PaSia. Were really happy you finally recieved the parcel, we so wanted you to be able to give them to the kindergarden you helped to build, the children looked so friendly and happy in the photos hope they like the parcel. Your letter arrived the day before we left for Zermatt, it made me very happy to hear from you. We had a really good time with Alf and Thomas and Tanya, Alf sends hello and Thomas and Tanya look forward to meeting you one day and also Jonathan, Thomas has been skiing since he was 15, he was in the German ski team, so as you can imagine he is very good, on Thursday he offered to give me a ski lesson, he's very good, he sent the others away, I think my skiing has improved, but I still need to concentrate, I enjoy the views on the shallow slopes on the steeper ones I need to think about it, it was good fun and we shared some lovely meals with Alf Thomas and Tanya. Thomas is a very good cook like Phil he really enjoys cooking. dinner ready now, lots of love Mum. Phil and Jonthanxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a great blog entry. It was really interesting to get an idea of what everyone was up to with all the different snippets of information. We really enjoyed it.

All the photos have been great as well.

With many thanks,


... said...

Tim Browning - now in Alpha 1!

Hey bro, if you have the chance to check emails from your friend's iphone soon then do. I'm about to email you re: plans for Cambo.

Woop woop!

You are marvellous, lotsa Love x x x

Anonymous said...

For Arthur Derom Alpha 6

Turo, comment va?? Super qu'on déjà reçu quelques nouvelles! J'espere que la 2ieme periode sest aussi bien passe que la 1iere! Tas trop du bolle d'etre labas ;). Ca doit etre super enrichissant. Tout le monde me demande souvent comment tu vas et comment ca se passe labas. Il est temps que tu reviennes! Tu nous manques tous. Cest tout bon que tas su passer ton rescue! Tu geres trop. Binnekort divemaster e:).

Ici tout se passe comme d'habitude. Chaque weekend scout et hockey :). Y a pas longtemps j'ai joué 2 fois au golf ac Paps, cetait excellent. La premiere grenouille vient d'arriver et elle me fait déjà chier :p.

Profites en encore un MAX et reviens vite a la maison pour tout racconter.
Je pense chaque jour à toi, tu me manques,
Ton frero et copain Nico