Saturday, 24 September 2011

Markets, mangoes and rice

Shopping for food in KK’s market this morning, Loli our fieldbase cook shares some of the treasures in store from markets across Sabah. 

Markets are heaving with mangoes after a bumper harvest this summer
Central to most kampangs (villages) and cities here is the market - Pasaran in Malay.

At some point on expedition - passing through on trek or whilst living in a local village on community phase - groups will be able to buy local fresh ingredients for mess tin marvels.
Mess tin staple, rice: add a bit of tumeric to create a Loli favourite 'yellow rice'

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Preview of this autumn’s projects

Project managers on Saturday and the entire staff team will be heading out for training in the jungle at ‘Base Camp’.

In the meantime, here is a preview of the projects we have lined up: two environmental, two community and a challenging adventure.

In the community phase of the expedition venturers will work on one of two kindergarten construction projects in remote villages - kampangs (Kg)

Alpha 1: working for the first time in Kg Alab in the Keningau district of Sabah, two hours south of Kota Kinabalu, Alpha 1 will build a kindergarten here. 

In Malaysia the Government provides educational facilities for children aged 6 and above with primary and secondary schools. 

Local kindergartens mean that village children have the opportunity to start learning to read and write before they are 6, getting to the minimum standard needed to enter primary school.  

Sarah visited Kg Alab in the summer


Alpha 2: last year, expedition 10D repaired the water system in Kg Lingka Buguan. 11K will be returning to build a kindergarten.
Celebrating the repaired water system last year
Mac and Petr visited the village yesterday and the project site is ready for our project managers to visit and recce. Watch their video of the area here.

Groups will be living in the community and offering English lessons to villagers, and getting to know local people and customs.

For the environmental phase, teams will be continuing work on projects in the Danum Valley Conservation Area and at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok.

Working on the research centre
Alpha 3: working with rangers, teams will work on the next stage of constructing a new research camp in the Danum Valley Conservation Area. We are hugely priveledged to be working here - the remote area is protected because it is a virgin rainforest with one of the most diverse ranges of wildlife on the planet. The centre’s long-term research programme has scientists from across the globe working on studies and providing training opportunities for Malaysians.

Danum Valley project site: 8km to the nearest road

Alpha 4: the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok provides care for orphaned and captive sun bears, rehabilitating them for release into the wild. The centre is due to be open to the public in 2012 and Alpha 4 will be continuing work here.

On the boardwalk: last expedition completed 15 metres of brodwalk and Alpha 4 will continue this so that it joins the car park to the observation tower
A river crossing on a trek in full gear
Alpha 5 and Alpha 6 are the adventure phase projects and include treks where teams will carry all their own supplies and will be entirely self-sufficient. A huge challenge both mentally and physically, groups will learn from local guides how to survive in the tough jungle environment.

Alpha 5: two treks in the Croker and the Kiulu areas.
Alpha 6: a 12-day trek from the village of Long Pasia.

As part of the adventure phase venturers will also gain PADI scuba diving qualification and put it into practice by joining Borneo Divers in their coral planting exercises, helping to repair damaged areas of coral reef.

Follow the blog and get news right from the beginning of the projects, starting next week when our project managers go out on their project planning visits.

                                                              Raleigh Borneo blogger

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Selamat Datang - welcome to expedition 11K

The first volunteers for expedition 11K have arrived in Borneo and are preparing for this autumn’s community, environment and adventure projects across the Sabah region of Borneo.

Here we’ll be following the stories of staff and volunteer managers and venturers as they ‘Get out there’ into the Borneo jungle and give friends, family and supporters the opportunity to get involved by posting comments.

Who lives in a house like this?

Fieldbase is the hub of Raleigh Borneo where the behind-the-scenes action happens. Venturers don’t come to fieldbase so it remains the mysterious rock behind expedition life.

Head of operations here is Country Director Mac. He has run 12 expeditions in Borneo and first got involved with Raleigh International in 2005 when the British Army sent him to work as a project manager for Raleigh Costa Rica and Nicaragua. 

Mac:  “Bring plenty of socks and plenty of talc in them. Oh, and tea bags.”

Our programme management duo are country programme manager Sarah and deputy programme manager Petr. They make sure project managers are fully trained and that projects are supported throughout expedition, as well as ensuring that fieldbase runs smoothly.

Sarah is employed full time in Borneo after ten years of work in the London hotel industry and taking part in expeditions as a venturer and deputy programme manager.

Sarah winning the ninja Fieldbase energizer: “ Don’t forget pyjama bottoms - excellent expedition longs."

Petr is originally from the Czech Republic he studied in Fife, Scotland and spent six months in China before coming out to Borneo in January. He has been a project manager twice before and now as Deputy Programme Manager he is responsible for the day-to-day running of expedition and keeping the fieldbase team in shape.

Petr giving it all changing the Bravo’s tyres: “Give expedition your all, you may not have another chance.”
Loli: “Spice up mess tins with chilli flakes.” Perfect for porridge?

And making the fieldbase home what it is with delicious food and kitchen dancing is Fieldbase cook and the team’s Sabah Mum, Loli.

This weekend, Mac, Sarah, Petr and Loli welcomed fieldbased volunteer managers and advanced medics when they arrived from the UK and got stuck into a packed schedule.


Marcus and Shana:  Keeping on top of the accounts and making sure everything is bolted together are Finance Manager Marcus and Admin Officer, Shana.

Shana: “you can never over-Deet!"

Shana has been working in retail and after trekking in Borneo last year she has the bug (hopefully not a leech, yet) and will using her professional skills to keep expedition in running order.

Marcus: "Can’t wait for fresh tropical fruit."

Marcus was the finance manager on expedition this time last year in Costa Rica. Adverse to UK winters he only spends the summer back at home in Dublin and will be joined by his wife in the Sarawak region of Borneo for Christmas.

l-r Nicki, Andy and Craig: Queen and Kings of logs
Nicki, Craig and Andy: Sorting out all the supplies and making sure equipment is safe and ready to get out there, are our logistics team.

With two expeditions under her belt, Logistics Manager Nicki from Newcastle is the Queen of Logs. Kings of Logs are fellow Geordie Craig and Lancastrian Andy. They’ve switched their office day jobs to plan the delivery of vital equipment and supplies to projects.

Nicki shows the lads how to change the Bravo’s tyres.

Preparing drive out to projects and make sure our support team can keep re-supplying projects ‘on the loop’ are our jungle drivers - Craig, Nicky, Marcus and Andy will be out this afternoon training to navigate some of the most bio-diverse environment on earth.

James and Jemma: Paramedic James and Doctor Jemma arrived last week, fresh from A&E’s in Newcastle and Sunderland and after already climbing Mount Kinnabalu they are all set for adventure. Whilst reminding everyone to take their malaria tablets, keep their walking boots ON and telling tales of tropical injuries and diseases, our very own Posh and Becks have been carrying out vital checks on medical equipment, ordering supplies and preparing to brief fellow medics next week.

James and Jemma: "Protect your feet - walking boots are this season’s must have item.
Isla and Katie: photographing expedition is photographer (and birthday girl) Isla who is taking a break from working on heritage conservation. Swapping historic buildings for jungle won’t be a problem for Isla who has been volunteering for Raleigh International on and off for 21 years. Reporting on the projects and putting words to Isla’s pictures is Communications Officer, Katie who is on sabbatical leave from working as a Government press officer.

Isla and Katie working on the Sabah Sun: there will be four editions during expedition.

The fieldbase team
And finally, Salamet Hari Jadi (Happy Birthday) to Isla who celebrated yesterday with a famous Loli birthday cake.

The first of 24 birthdays to be celebrated Raleigh Borneo style

Good luck to all our project managers and medics who are packing to head out this weekend. Check back here for the latest expedition news. 

                                                Raleigh Borneo blogger