Saturday, 16 July 2011

Alpha 6 - back from the jungle and into the classroom.

When we last saw Alpha 6, almost two weeks ago, they were heading south from Kota Kinabalu towards Long Pasia.  Famous for its warm hospitality, delicious food, legendary local guides and stunning views, the village would mark the beginning of a 12-day trek for our group, at the end of which they would be welcomed by the villagers for a homestay on their final night.

Their trek took the group into the depths of the jungle,

where they encountered some very large trees,

and some very large insects!

After a hard day, the hammocks brought some welcome respite to our weary trekkers,

and for some they came with riverside views!

Their Long Pasia adventure gave the group a chance to make a lot of comparisons, starting with the highs and lows of the Borneo weather.

 Next there were river crossings.  They tried the Raleigh way,

the standard way,

and the innovative jungle guides' way, using a bridge they constructed in a mere 30 minutes.

Then there was the food and drink, an important part of any trek!  The group sampled Raleigh rations,

some local fare, prepared by the guides and beautifully presented in freshly made bamboo bowls,

and washed down with bamboo water.

But for many the highlight was the banquet presented by their host families when Alpha 6 arrived for their homestay at the end of the trek.

For Claire, whose birthday fell on the day the group left the village, the homestay was a great excuse for a party, Long Pasia style, with traditional costumes and dancing,

and the very first cake the team's hosts had ever made!

A fine way to celebrate both Claire's birthday and the end of a fantastic trek for Alpha 6!  But the fun doesn't end here - now it's off to the Borneo Divers classroom and beautiful Mamutik Island where the team will put their new dive skills into practice.

Meanwhile, the Loop has arrived back at Field Base with news of our community and environmental projects.  We'll be updating you with all their news very soon!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Alpha 3 gets going in Danum Valley

Alpha 3's resident medic, Rhiannon, brings us an update on the beginning of phase 1 from the depths of the Danum Valley jungle:

"The big day had arrived for Alpha 3 to make their epic seven hour bus journey, followed by two hours in a bumpy 4x4 to the beautiful Danum Valley, a primary rainforest conservation area in the south east of Sabah.

After a restful night in their temporary basha, Alpha 3 had a guided tour around the Field Centre to learn more about their project, their new home and some of the neighbours they would meet on the way.  Fortunately, we did not have to wait very long before coming across an orang utan!  A fantastic experience for everybody to see this endangered animal in its natural habitat and to see first-hand why the work Raleigh is doing in Danum Valley is so important for the survival of the orang utans.

After an amazing walk through the orchid garden, Alpha 3 had the opportunity to climb the Pelantar Pokok (tree platform) ObservationTower and see the rainforest from the top of the canopy!

Having rested for a day, the team was ready to start the 8km trek into the jungle to their new camp at the fantastic Ulu Purut waterfall.  The team of 12 venturers and 3 project managers set off, loaded up with all the essentials required for their three-week stay, including food, hammocks... and a 30kg gas canister! 

On route, a snack and a refreshing river crossing gave the team a good boost to push hard to their destination.

Alpha 3 finally arrived at the new camp a short eight and a half hours later, all completely exhausted but with nowhere to sleep!  All of the team worked tremendously hard putting up tarps, lashing together hammocks, digging the long drop and cooking a delicious and well deserved supper.  There was even enough time for a quick dip in the waterfall to wash off all the sweat and mud!"

Check back in a few days for fresh news from Alpha 2 and Alpha 4!