Friday, 8 April 2011

Endex Is Here!!

The end of Expedition 11B is finally upon us, and the Field Base staff are packing their things for the last time to meet the venturers and project managers at Borneo Paradise for two days of celebrations before everyone goes their separate ways.

We'll check in for a final update after Endex, but in the meantime here are a few recent snaps that I took while visiting Alpha 8 on Dive Island....

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Time for Alpha 3 and Toboh Pahu to celebrate!

Despite the gloomy grey skies over Ranau, Alpha 3 and Toboh Pahu had reason to sing and dance yesterday as they celebrated the opening of their completed gravity water feed system.

Along with Mac and Kate, we travelled with Kadri Taib (Coca-Cola Communications and Public Affairs Director), David (from westcoast Communications) and Halim (from a Malay daily), to celebrate the occasion with Alpha 3 and Toboh Pahu. Also present was the Political Secretary to Datuk Masidi Manjun, Datuk Amisah Yassin, representing him for the ceremony. Datuk Masidi is a big supporter of Raleigh Borneo and was invited as the guest of honour but could not make it due to prior obligations.

Alpha 3 and the villagers spent 9 weeks of very hard work laying and working with 7 km of pipe, 9 tonnes of concrete, 4 tanks, 50 taps supplying water to about 300 villagers. The community and all of Alpha 3 worked and lived together, undoubtedly building ties lasting a lifetime. The representative of the village and the Raleigh volunteers (project managers and venturers) expressed heartfelt gratitude and affection for each other in their speeches - I can only imagine the emotional goodbyes on their last day!
After the speeches, Datuk Amisah Yassin turned on the ceremonial tap and even splashed the crowd with the water that came out of it! Dancing and singing followed. Alpha 3 did a brilliant performance, making lively musical beats with jerry cans, pot lids, water pipes, woks, and a variety of other things a la STOMP. Fiona and Ashleigh impressed everyone by taking the mic and singing Sayang Kinabalu (a folk song)!  The school children also performed a traditional dance and sang some songs and got almost everyone to join in. Then it was lunch time and everyone dug into the great spread that had been prepared for the ocassion.  

It was a super celebration and we are all so very proud of Alpha 3 and everyone who was involved since Phase 1. Great work and congratulations!


Monday, 4 April 2011

Update from Alpha Six

Chris Boller, our intrepid expedition accountant, has just returned from ten days with Alpha 6 in the Maliau Basin. Here she gives an update on how the team are getting along in their new location…

Well, here I am, back at Field Base after spending 10 days with Alpha 6 in the stunning Maliau Basin. Sabah’s lost world is absolutely amazing. Fifty percent on the primary rainforest is undiscovered and the intention is to leave it that way to let the bio diversity continue naturally.

There was a long drive into the lost world but luckily there were some good view points along the way. There was numerous wildlife to see, on the way into the project the front car saw a group of wild boar and almost every day hornbills were spotted. Some nights wild boar were even in the camp ground.

Alpha 6 were fortunate to meet Dr. Ed, one on the scientists working at the Maliau Basin Study Centre. He explained which projects are currently undertaken there. For the 1st week Alpha 6 were moving rock from the river bed to build gabions to stop the land behind the science lab moving.

In amongst moving rock Alpha 6 were lucky enough to do a skybridge walk and go to an observation tower. Here they got stunning views of the whole basin and could see the ridge.

On the day I left the group they were trekking for 6 hours to the very comfortable Ginseng camp. Although I was not joining them I had been there on a planning visit and the camp is set in the middle of the rainforest with stunning views. Don’t tell the other alpha groups but they even had the luxury of proper beds with mattresses!

Alpha 6 are now busy moving wood helping to improve the camp. If they are really lucky they will also see red leaf monkeys, gibbons and deer....