Thursday, 17 February 2011

Updates from Alpha 2

Chris Boller, our accountant, had the pleasure of spending some time with Alpha 2 on the lovely Maliangin island. Besides a nice brown tan, she's got some updates for us from the island!

I am just back from an amazing 10 days with Alpha 2 on Maliangan Island.

We arrived at Maliangin after a three-hour bus drive, two hours on a large boat then onto a small boat. All seems fairly simple, but with 13 people’s rucksacks, 13 peoples worth of food for 3 weeks and the tools required to build the eco toilets this was quite a mission. However we arrived safely and camp in the community workshop was quickly set up.

Some fishing boats on the jetty

Where Alpha 2 is staying. This is the community workshop built by the previous expedition.

The first few days were spent setting up camp and meeting with the locals. They were really excited about the eco toilets and all really keen to know where there would be going.

Clearing the land in preparation for building

The Alpha 2 Commandments

The equipment finally arrived after three days. The ship had 13 tons worth of sand, cement, aggregate and breeze blocks onboard.  As the ship could not dock on the island, a little boat was sent out to ferry the equipment to the shores of Maliangin. The team all pulled together and in the first two hours, five tons of equipment was moved. However the day had come to an end, so the remaining eight tons would have to wait to the next day. 

The next day, with the help of a villager called Doni, the remainder of the stuff was brought to shore. A good effort was put in by all and I think even the girls were impressed at how much they could lift. 50 kg bags of cement were no mean task even if the boys did make it look easy!

The next day the equipment needed to be moved to various ends of the island. Luckily this was broken up by an invite from the villages to a get-together. This was a great experience and all of us learnt to eat with our hands.  

I left the next day leaving the rest of the group to start to lay the concrete foundations and the brick work. Can’t wait to hear about the progress made at the end of phase 1. Keep up the good work Alpha 2!

Here are some general photos from the island. 

Playing volleyball with the local folks

It's a hard life having to live on a gorgeous island

Me, Graham and Paula
Sitreps to fieldbase on the radio

Sheltering from the rain

The local handicraft - woven mats

Maliangin's cutie pie, Boi

We can't wait for the return of the intrepid Loop and our comms officer Belinda this Saturday. They'll have lots of updates and pictures from the Alpha groups they've been to. Until then we wish them a safe journey, and we'll see you in a few days!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Update for 11B Fans

Hello 11B fans!

It's been lovely to read all the messages you are sending us! We feel the love!

Just so you know, the loop has got a copy of all the blog comments received up to the day of their departure so that the groups that they visit will have a chance to look at them. Be assured that special messages for birthdays and things alike that arrive after the loop will be relayed on the radio so that they get them when needed. And for the groups that don't get to read the messages on loop, they will get a chance to read them when they come back from their project sites at changeover.

It's been 11 days since the groups have deployed to their project sites, and while over here at fieldbase we hear from them everyday on our HF radios, we thought that you might be itching to hear just a peep about them to know that they are enjoying their Raleigh experience!

It's clear skies over in Kampung Dalamason where Alpha 1 is, they have finished helping improve the chapel and are starting on the community hall today.

Alpha 2 reports it to be warm and cloudy on Pulau Maliangin, where they are moving tons of materials to their worksites. In the plan today is to lay concrete for the compost toilets they are building.

Alpha 3 are all good too, today they are laying the concrete foundations for the dam and tank sites.

At Alpha 4, it all sunny and hot and warm and scorching! Hope they drink lots of water! They will be busy tidying up their jungle camp and pouring concrete into the third upright for the boardwalk at the sunbear centre.

Alpha 5 have completed their dam at Taliwas, and after they've finished admiring their handiwork, they will start working on the platforms for the tank.

Alpha 6 are learning more about survey techniques today and will be keeping their eyes open for anything new in their survey area. It's still raining a little bit where they are.

Alpha 7 is deep in the rainforests of Long Pasia, where it is reported to be jungly and dry.

Alpha 8 is also trekking in Long Pasia, making friends with the local leeches.

And finally, Alpha 9 is on dive island. The weather has been described as perfect, and everyone will be completing their PADI open water qualifications today. Later today they are planning to sort our their kit for trekking, which starts the day after tomorrow!

Do keep updated with what the groups are up to on our twitter at, where we will be posting updates at least every two days to let you know about the progress of the groups.

Meanwhile, changeover will be happening on the 25th February, so keep your messages pouring in!

Jumpa lagi!