Friday, 7 October 2011

Initiation into the school of jungle

Alpha 6 - Julian, James and Anne arrive at Long Pa'Sia to plan the trek.
James, Julian and Anne came back from their project planning visit with jungle bling too. The necklaces that local guide Nooh made for them are 'initation' symbols. Learning parang skills amongst other jungle craft, the group checked out the camps for the Long Pa'Sia trek and got to know the communities they'll be staying in.

James purifies his water.

Nooh shows James parang skills - making fire wood.

Julian, Nooh, Anne and Fauzi

And from deeper in the jungle...

Photographer, Isla joined Alpha 3 - Ed, Mat and Mary and reports back their visit to the Danum Valley project.

On arrival into Danum Valley we were awkstruck by the height of the trees, but this was only secondary rainforest. We were joined at the Raleigh built Mengaris Camp by a south African Scientist Bruce, who showed us glow in the dark mushrooms.
Boris the Bearded Pig provided the alarm call. During the 8km jungle to Ulu Purut camp we became acquainted with the leeches and the sounds of the gibbons. The waterfall provided an excellent shower. We spent a night in the deep, primary rainforest where the Alpha 3 camp will be based. It really is a true privilege to be working in virgin rainforest.

Here is a taste of what is in store...
Towering trees
Ulu Purut Camp Site Danum Valley

Tortoise making slow progress

Red Leaf Monkey

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

From deep in the jungle...

...Alpha 3 are back from Danum Valley and Alpha 6 are back from Long Pasia. We have a video diary and photos on the way so you can experience the jungle with them.

Sun Bears, orangutans and power ballads

Back from their planning visit to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is Ted, Fern and Kirsty who are happily humming power ballads.

Refreshed with some male company back at fieldbase, Ted is in store for a good amount of girl talk out in Sepilok - the Sun Bears and orangutans will hopefully offer some sanctuary of testosterone!

The team will be building a new section of the boardwalk at the centre as one of the environmental projects for this expedition. The centre provides care and rehabilitation to orphaned and captive Sun Bears so they can be released into the wild. Alpha 4 will walk by the orangutan sanctuary everyday to get to work.

Trek girls and their jungle bling

 Alpha 5 have just got back to fieldbase in full jungle bling.

Jemma, Ru and Kirsty were visiting trek sites in Kiulu and the Crocker range where they'll be taking ventuers assigned to Alpha 5 in the adventure phase.

They've spent the last couple of nights in camps along the trek route and helped by local guides to get to grips with the area and terrain. 

Jemma and Kirsty radio in to fieldbase with a 'sitrep' - explaining where they are, what they have done and what they plan to do next. Each Alpha team sitrep in once a day.

A jungle side dish for last night's dinner. Local guides give groups a fascinating insight into local and jungle culture that means Raleigh rations get regularly accompanied by all sorts of fruits and plants. 

Back at fieldbase they have some tales to tell - barking deer, being leeched, spotting silver back monkeys and the stories from guide Hanri who absolutely made the whole experience, along with his handcrafted jungle bling.

Ru's jungle bling
Ru, Jemma, Hanri and Kirsty - can't wait to get back out there in just under a week.  
Alpha 4 have just got back from the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok. We'll put their photos and news up shortly.

Community project managers are back

Alpha 1 and 2  are back from their planning visits. Both teams will be building kindergartens in remote villages.

Children go to primary school at 6 in Malaysia but to get a place they must have a certain level of reading and writing. Having a local kindergarten gives children living in remote villages the opportunity to get to this standard. As well as a place to learn, kindergartens form a central part of their community and are welcomed and supported by villages.

During the community phase of the Raleigh Borneo expedition, groups will live and work in villages and get to know the communities of either Kg Alab or Kg Lingka Bugan.

Kg Alab
Matt and Nat (Alpha 1) are our project managers in Kg Alab - four hours south of KK. The village is remote and takes two hours of off road driving from Keningau to get to. Matt and Nat are the first Raleigh project managers to come to Kg Alab as this is the first time we have worked in the village.

On arrival they met project partners PACOS and the village JKK (head of the village) and spent two days planning the construction, assessing potential risks, sourcing materials, working out where groups will live and finding out more about local customs.

This is the JKK's brother's house where Raleigh groups will stay.
Matt and Nat cheer the Sunday football and are hoping for some venturers with football skills.
The village is set by the river Labau.
Kg Lingka Bugan
Joe, Claire and Nick will be working in Kg Lingka Bugan. Together with the Asian Foresty Company (AFC), we have worked with the Lingka Bugan community previously and last year's spring expedition repaired the village's water system.

After almost two hours of some serious off road driving the team arrived to a warm welcome and were taken back by village's tranquillity and friendliness. 

Joe makes instant friends.
The kindergarten site is in the far centre.
Claire's lucky charm, Alfie the Elephant looks out over the village.

We are expecting all the other project managers back later today so will update on their visits later.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

News in

News in from across Sabah is that everyone has arrived safely at their project sites. All teams have radioed in to fieldbase this morning with a 'sitrep' and given us an update.

Nat and Mat in Alpha 1 celebrated Nat's birthday last night in Kampang Alab. Birthday presents included a pack of cards, Raleigh shop specials sprite, dairy milk and mentos. We had an early birthday at fieldbase before they left with Loli's famous mango cheesecake and chocolate brownie birthday cakes.

In other news, Joe, Nick and Claire in Alpha 2 enjoyed the off-road journey into the remote village of Kampang Lingka Bugan. They've found a great spot for a camp and have found a good radio signal through some careful antenna manouvering.

Mary, Mat D, Ed and Isla - Alpha 3 in the Danum Valley met a bearded pig at their first camp who was sporting a disappointingly clean shaven look.

Ted, Fern and cuddly Kirsty stayed in a B&B last night and will be trekking into their jungle camp at Sepilok today, not before visiting the orangutan sanctuary and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre on the way.

Our Alpha 5 girls are loving the Crocker range -after a day of hard trekking in stunning scenery they enjoyed a good night's sleep alongside the local barking deer. They'll be the first team back at fieldbase when they arrive here later today.

Weather has been bad for Anne, Julian and James in Alpha 6 who are around the village of Long Pasia to check out the 12 day trek  that will take groups deep into the jungle. Spirits were not dampened though as the team went through some local royal celebrations on their way. We don't have the full story on this yet so watch this space!

So, our team's first night out on projects was a success - Nat and Mat tucked into birthday cake, groups enjoyed various forms of noodles, beans and mock duck and we are expecting to hear that Alpha 6 had a feast fit for (two) Kings (and a Queen).

Thank you for all your comments. We are passing all messages on so keep them coming!