Saturday, 2 July 2011

Where to from here? Phase 1 allocations are revealed!

Having heard about the six fantastic projects which this expedition has to offer, anticipation has been building within the group about who would be allocated to which project.    There was a mood of nervous excitement in Bamboo Hut as the venturers gathered to say goodbye to their current groups and to find out the fate that awaits them!
 One by one, they discovered where they will be going for the next three weeks.

The lucky team heading off to Alpha 1 to start building the kindergarten includes:   Abigail Harris, Alex Cox, Cameron Robertson, Denise Wong, Harry Clesham, Jennifer Sargent, Katie Horder, Lucy Ryan, Natalie Clerke, Nicholas Chong, Owain Masters, Ross Weir and Rujina Khandakar.  The project managers are Caroline and Martin.

Off  with Alpha 2 to build a gravity water feed on beautiful Maliangin Island are:  Alex Ratcliffe, Andrew Merritt, Caroline Jane Green, Daniel Cross, Deva Gilroy Sen, Georgia Pawson, Maandip Singh Gill, Maeve Wiese, Martin Robson, Melissa Hobbs, Oliver Semmence, Phil Gibbins, Shannon Williams and Sophie Hedges. The project managers are Rob and Julie, and the team will be joined for the first half of the phase by Alicia from our logistics team.

Looking forward to some hard work with Alpha 3 building a new research camp in Danum Valley are: Charlotte Russell, Cheah Keat Yew, Dharushini Bai, Emily Bradshaw, Heloise Richer, Jeral Jackman, Natalia Wong, Patrick Loftus, Richard Hughes, Rob Clarke, Ruba Semain and Theo Bird. The project managers are Petr, Emma and medic Rhiannon, with communications officer Paula deploying with them for a few days too.

Looking forward to working at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is the new team for Alpha 4.  They are:  Amer Townsend, Amy Burn, Catherine Rowland, Claire Ullyet, Daniel Kirk, Elizabeth Gold, Emma Pygott, June Yin Tan, Malcolm Outerbridge, Nathan Titus, Rosie Watterson, Thomas Kidner and William Beard.  The project managers are Graham and Jodie.

For Alpha 5, it's off to beautiful dive island Mamutik for 5 days before they return to the jungle for more trekking.  The new group includes: Awang Sharmiezam Awang Masri, Catherine Ludlam, Ewelina Stefanska, Liza Forsyth, Marcus Pinsley, Robert Taylor, Sheri Whiting, Siong Chou Lim, Sophie Given, Susanna Sek, Vincent McAviney and William Poole. The project managers are Jock and medic Nick.

Alpha 6 will be putting those basha-building skills straight into practice as they head down to Long Pasia for their trek phase.  They are:  Andy Devers, Benjamin Langridge, Bob Chen, Claire Huxley, Cynthia Alexander, Megan Daly, Nicholas Thornton, Olivia Burke, Sean Holmes, Stephanie Morris, Will Essayan and Yoke Yuen Chew. The project managers are Nem and medic Beth.

We can't wait to hear how the projects progress, and we will update you regularly over the course of this three-week phase.  For now, however, as they prepare to depart for their respective projects at dawn tomorrow, we wish them selamat jalan!

The venturers have landed!

Some have travelled thousands of miles, some have simply travelled across the city. Whether from near or far, we were delighted to welcome all 11D venturers to Expedition 11D at the beginning of this week.  Having greeted our Malaysian and Bermudan venturers on Monday,
the excited volunteer manager were at the airport to greet venturers from the UK, US, China and New Zealand on Tuesday.

With a complex training schedule ahead of us and just three days in which to accomplish it, it was straight down to work!  Divided into "Delta" groups, the venturers were introduced to some of the skills that they will be putting into practice once they reach their project sites in just a couple of days.

With all our projects in remote areas of Sabah, regular contact with Field Base is vital.  Each group will call in via radio twice a day, giving an update on their well-being and the progress of their project.  The radio will also be the first point of contact in the event of emergency.
For some, their first taste of project life will be the adventure phase. Trekking through the Borneo jungle, they may be faced with rivers to cross. Now they know the safest way to do it!

No Raleigh Borneo training programme would be complete without a trek into the jungle!  Before the groups headed off, our local guides armed them with some of the skills that they would need later that day.  First, some tips on how to keep the camp hygienic.
Next, guidance on the safe use of the top jungle tool, the parang.
Finally, an all-imporant lesson in how to erect a basha, a simple shelter comprising a hammock and tarpaulin, strung from the trees.  Well, it looks like a simple shelter.  Let's see how simple it is when we actually have to construct one ourselves!

Armed with a host of new skills, the teams headed off to the jungle.

It was a night of mixed fortunes!  Alas, it cannot be said that all hammocks were completely horizontal or that a good night's sleep was had by all, but most remained dry, and nobody fell out of their bed.  With 12 days' trekking ahead of each venturer during the next 10 weeks, there is still plenty of time to hone this particular skill!   

Having survived their first night in the jungle, it was a cheerful group that returned to Base Camp the next morning.

Between trekking and training sessions, there was time to get to know new team mates, and learn a few new games.

But now the training is complete, and it's time to find out which project awaits each venturer.  Check back tomorrow to find out who is going where!