Thursday, 9 June 2011

Welcome to Expedition 11D!

The gate has been unlocked and the dust sheets are off at Raleigh Borneo Field Base, which can only mean one thing... Expedition 11D is about to begin!

Quivering with anticipation, the advance team of volunteer managers arrived at the beginning of this week and promptly began to make Field Base ship-shape for the arrival of the full team next week.  Field Base will be the hub of expedition operations once the venturers arrive at the end of the month and the work begins now.  Let's meet the team! 

Mac McCarthy - Country Director

Mac is in overall charge of Raleigh's operations in Borneo, working closely with our project partners to ensure that we have successful, sustainable projects for each expedition.  First involved with Raleigh in 2005 when the British Army sent him to work as a project manager for Raleigh Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Mac also spent two years as Country Programme Manager before taking over the reins as Country Director in 2010.  After 12 previous expeditions, Mac's enthusiasm remains undiminished!

An interesting fact about Mac: He has climbed the mighty Mt. Kinabalu six times.
Mac's favourite thing about Borneo:  "The people - probably the friendliest people in the world."

Programme Management Team

Our programme management duo is responsible for the day-to-day running of the expedition, ensuring that all volunteer managers are fully trained, and that everything and everyone is in the right place at the right time.  They will provide essential support to the project managers once they deploy to their project sites, and will oversee the smooth running of Field Base behind the scenes.

Sarah Hoare - Country Programme Manager

Sarah took part in her first Raleigh expedition as a venturer in Chile.  After 10 years working in the London hotel industry, she returned to Raleigh as a volunteer manager, completing two consecutive expeditions as Deputy Programme Manager.  She loved it so much that she is now employed full time in Borneo as Country Programme Manager.

An interesting fact about Sarah:  She was once chased out of a hotel room by a naked woman.
Favourite thing about Borneo:  "The sun, and seeing Mount Kinabalu from my bedroom window."

Rob Collier - Deputy Programme Manager

This is Rob's second expedition as a volunteer manager.  Taking a break from his  IT project management job in the UK, he arrived here in Borneo in January this year, and spent 10 weeks as a project manager.  Stunning mountain views, the warmth of the local community and a fantastic project all combined to lure Rob back  for another expedition, assisting Sarah with the running of the programme.

An interesting fact about Rob:   He was once evacuated from a burning plane.
Rob's favourite thing about Borneo:  "Barracuda Point in Sipadan."

Yolanda Graham - Recruitment, Support and Media Coordinator

Yolanda started her career as a teacher before moving to the Sabah tourism board.  After joining an expedition as a project manager, she was lured to Raleigh on a full-time basis, and Field Base would now be lost without her.  Yo is responsible for recruiting Malaysian venturers to join expeditions, and as a Sabahan, uses her local language skills to help maintain relations with Raleigh's project partners and to keep our work in the media spotlight.

An interesting fact about Yo:  She is a purple belt karateka.
Favourite thing about Borneo:  "Sunsets on the waterfront."

Marian Sue - Administrator

Previously working as a school administrator, Marian's arrival in Borneo in January this year marked the beginning of a year of travels.  Having completed her first expedition as a venturer, and bitten by both the Raleigh and the travel bug, it was not too hard to persuade her to join the Field Base team.  In her role as administrator, she will ensure that the office runs smoothly and that nobody overstays their visa!

An interesting fact about Marian:  She once accidentally straddled a sea turtle while it was laying eggs.
Marian's favourite thing about Borneo:  "The greenery"

Simon Munk - Medic

Simon has recently completed his senior house officer training in intensive care and anaesthetics in a London hospital.  He forms part of this expedition's medical team and has arrived at Field Base early to ensure that all medical supplies are ready for the arrival of the rest of the team next week.  Simon is looking forward to adding the Borneo jungle to list of trekking achievements once the expedition gets going.

An interesting fact about Simon:  He likes to skip down hills when no-one is looking.
Simon's favourite thing about Borneo:  "Dancing in the hot rain!"

Helen Whyman - Finance Manager

Helen is a chartered public finance accountant who has taken leave from her London accountancy job to keep this expedition's finances under control.  She relishes a challenge, and as well as broadening her finance skills in the not-for-profit sector, Helen is looking forward to getting her hands dirty on the project site and seeing how donors' money is being spent.

An interesting fact about Helen:  She wanted to be a Morris dancer when she grew up.
Helen's favourite thing about Borneo: "Loli's food!"

Graham Kidd - Team Coach

Taking a break from his job as a learning support assistant and behaviour mentor in a London secondary school, Graham completed his first expedition as a project manager earlier this year.  Not ready for his Raleigh experience to end just yet, he has now taken on the challenge of coordinating the soft skills training for the volunteer managers, before heading back out  as a project manager.

An interesting fact about Graham: He doesn't know how to ride a bike.
Graham's favourite thing about Borneo:  "Roti Milo."

The Logistics Team

Without the logistics team, the expedition would not survive even the initial training period.  This  trusty foursome will have their work cut out for them, not only ensuring that we have enough food to survive for 10 weeks on each project site, but also that we have the right tools for each task, the vehicles are always roadworthy, and our radio equipment - the lifeline of the expedition - is in full working order.

From left to right, the team comprises:

Rhys (a.k.a. Gypsy) Jackson

Gypsy is taking a break from his civil service career to take part in his first Raleigh expedition.  Having been an agriculture advisor within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, he will now have the chance to explore some of the most bio-diverse environment on earth.

An interesting fact about Gypsy:  He is a trained butcher - and a vegetarian.
Gypsy's favourite thing about Borneo:  "The heat!"

Alicia Kirk

Having recently completed a commercial graduate scheme for Tesco, Alicia is excited about exchanging hosiery, socks and footwear in the UK for work gloves and walking boots in Malaysia. 

An interesting fact about Alicia:  She was once on BBC television opening a wormery.
Alicia's favourite thing about Borneo:  "Loli!"

Martin Brown (on roof)

A mechanical engineer, Martin's was previously employed with Formula One.  His Raleigh experience began in January this year, when he joined the logistics team, swapping the racing cars for a more sedate Landrover.  He rejoins the team to help bring the new members up to speed, before moving across to the project management team.

An interesting fact about Martin:  He can ride a unicycle
Favourite thing about Borneo:  "The people are so helpful and friendly."

Lee Cockin

Lee is a recent history graduate from Southampton University and came out to Borneo in January this year.  Having completed his first expedition as a venturer, he is now experiencing Raleigh life from the other side of the fence.

An interesting fact about Lee:  He once drove from Basingstoke to Sweden... for a cheeseburger.
Lee's favourite thing about Borneo: "The  noodles."

The Communications Team

The communications team will be working together to keep this site updated as frequently as possible, keeping you informed of our activities throughout the expedition.  They will be documenting the expedition in numerous other ways too, providing mementos for participants and project partners and supporting the marketing department at Raleigh head office.

They are:

Sarah Kerhoat - Photographer (left)

As a keen amateur photographer Sarah is excited about broadening her range of photography skills while taking a break from her job as a chartered secretary for an offshore hedge fund.  She will be taking her camera to each project site, capturing the memories and emotions of  the challenges and fun of expedition life.

An interesting fact about Sarah:  She once sat next to Michael Portillo on a flight and slept all the way through it.
Sarah's favourite thing about Borneo:  "Loli's cooking."

Paula Barratt  - Communications Officer (right)

After more than a decade in the corporate world, Paula completed her first expedition in the Autumn of 2010 as part of the Field Base team here in Borneo.  Keen to continue her Raleigh experience, she returned as a project manager and now returns to Field Base to put words to photographer Sarah's pictures.

An interesting fact about Paula:  She once sold a bookshelf to England footballer, Graham Le Saux.
Paula's favourite thing about Borneo:  "The trees!  There is an amazing variety of them - 3000 different species!"

Loli Ylaya - Field Base Cook

Loli is responsible for the already expanding waistlines of the Field Base team.  She makes Field Base a happier place, with her delicious food and her kitchen dancing.

An interesting fact about Loli:  She regularly spends her day off singing karaoke from her bed.
Loli's favourite thing about Borneo:  "Music and dancing!"

Last but not least, we have Pedro, the Field Base cat, whose role is to boost morale with his daily acrobatics. 

Next week we'll meet the rest of the team - watch this space!