Friday, 13 July 2012

The Mighty Musical Alpha 3

So the plan for me(Kate) was to go straight from Sepilok to Alpha 3 in Danum Valley. Unfortunately my tendency to get myself lost has followed me to Borneo and I ended up on a bus to KK instead of Lahad Datu. In Sabah, the locals do not like saying no, as it is considered inpolite; I forgot this fact when I asked if the bus was going to Lahad Datu, rather than asking ‘where is it going’ and so 3 hours into my journey I realised that the signs where all saying KK and had to make the call the Fieldbase to let them know I would be joining them for the evening.

So, with a few ‘good lucks’ behind me, and a very early start(to ensure I could find the right bus) I managed to make it to Danum Vallley. There I was greeted by 11 sweaty, muddy Venturer’s just back from the work site. I was lucky enough to receive a damp welcome hug from Dan and Freddie before insisting upon showers before any more hugging could ensue!

I have had a brilliant four days with Alpha 3; enjoying their enthusiasm, their endless singing and dancing, and the wild life that Danum Valley provides on a daily basis. I have brought back a blog entry written by Alpha 3's very own Freddie Dunphy, Beth Pearson and Euan Archibald. 
A Day in the Life of Alpha 3

In Alpha 3, the usual morning consists of what I like to call ‘Adult Hide and Seek’. A new tactic known as a ‘Snail’s Retreat’ is included, which involves Venturers crawling up in their sleeping bags to avoid the Day Leader’s 5.30am attempts at getting us out of bed.

Usually preceding the general awakening, PM’s Nikki and Dan wake around 4.30am to comment on the creatures of the forest as loudly as possible whilst shining their lights in everyone’s faces, angering the V’s greatly!

The girls are normally first out of bed in the morning, and after a little bit of coaxing (or a lot in Amon’s case) the lads slowly follow. As each V arises, different personalities from the night before can be heard, with self-acclaimed ‘Grumpy Lucy’ providing the most amusement to others.

The morning transforms as light streams through from the canopy above and Ruairidh’s music player is switched on to encourage the team to come alive. One can only imagine the shock a visitor would have, rounding the corner and seeing V’s dancing and singing irrespective of their capability in any field! This contrast is perhaps found when one compares Euan, our Scottish baritone, and Lettie, our opera-loving, classically trained soprano.

 Enthusiasm lacks in nobody which always makes for a wonderful breakfast with fine rolled oats, piping hot water, a selection of raisins topped with light milk powder and for the more daring V, a dash of milo or coffee. Following breakfast, morning preparations are made and we leave for work.

We head off up hill and down dale to reach the worksite. Already at this point we are hot and sweaty but fairly excited at the same time.

"Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go”

Our singing gets us in the mood for work on our ten minute walk to work. For a bit of added excitement we often take a short cut through the jungle to meet the morning leeches(much to Elizabeth’s disgust!) and arrive just in time to fill up our water and have a warm-up session. Our warm-up often resembles an All-Black’s stretching session, and we throw in a few energizer’s just to really get everyone going. Camp favourite is currently ‘Darling, I Love You’ which involves one person trying to get someone in the group to smile or laugh by saying the above in the funniest way possible. Most memorable moments from this game would definitely be Freddie pretending to do the Full Monty and Dan’s leprechaun voice.

We are greeted by Mus, a Danum Valley ranger who always wears a great smile. His English resembles Euans, in the sense it is difficult to understand, but the smile is always there. We then get started on work for the day, whether it is a Raleigh line transporting an endless pile of sand, perang-ing down jungle or pick-axing boulders more suitable for the World’s Strongest Man competition. Luckily we have the powerful hoe being taken advantage of by Amon which makes quick work of this. Two competitions usually run during the day; the Sweat-off, nearly always won by our PM Nick who seems to have brought his own English raincloud with him and Leeching. There has not been a clear winner for the Leeching competition however Elizabeth is determined to be the clear loser of this one, detesting the thought of a leech, never mind the sight of one!
At 11am we break for lunch. The temperature if we are lucky has only reached 30c and so we begin a sweaty walk back to Mengarris camp. At lunch we eat like kings, with delicacies such as fromage a la cracker to lightly braised beef doused with a tomato and onion jus,  delivered with perfect balance. Lunch is usually so satisfying that Venturers collapse into their bashas(beds) afterwards to rest through the afternoon heat. We also get our daily visit from Boris the Wild Boar, and have been lucky enough to see Baby Boris, and Boris’ lady friend who we have named Alannis Borisette.

Baby Boris

After the cat nap, we are back to work at 2pm. The walk back is usually exhausting, however it gets a little easier every time. Afternoon sessions are powered through with singing and games to keep the energy levels high. Before we know it 5pm has rolled around and we are back to camp. We gather our tools and head home.

If we are lucky, our daily rainfall occurs around this time, and it has to be said, showering as a group on the way home is one of the most enjoyable post-work activities. Who needs a shower when you’ve got rain! It is maybe only surpassed by dinner and our nightly games which so far include Mafia, cards and home-made Chess and Cluedo!

Sending love to all our families and loved ones,
                                                                             Alpha 3.


Cristeen said...

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Lorraine Archibald said...

Euan - Alpha 3

Hi Euan, This looks amazing. You look like you're having an amazing experience and I'm glad you are keeping singing!
I loved seeing the pictures and you seem to have been working hard ! Feel free to bring baby Boris home with you, he's gorgeous.

Keep singing, dancing and working hard, we all miss you.

Mum, Dad and Kirstie xxx

Liz Troman said...

Hi Lucy xxxx
Just been reading all about your antics on the blog - looks like hard work with a lot of quite crazy people - you're in the right place then!!! And I can't imagine you being grumpy at all!!!!!! Anyway just trying to book skiing and finish my letter to you so it arrives before you leave. Looking forward to hearing all your stories when you get back. Love you more, Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Kirstie Archibald said...

Hi Euan!!

Looks like you're having an amazing time (although breakfast sounds a bit rank haha)

Missed you at T, went to call you when Noel Gallagher sang Half A World Away then remembered that you were away :( It was great despite the mud/rain AND THE VIEW WERE THERE, they announced last minute!!

Loving my new walk in wardrobe <3

Miss you Pal

Kirstie x

Boo Troman said...

Hi Lucy, Daddy here. We've just seen the write up of Alpha 3 and it looks great, and sweaty!! Missing you lots but pleased you are having a great time. Daddy xxx

Georgiana said...

For Lettie Ezaz – Alpha 3

Hey, home girl.

I just wrote you a letter but it is perhaps the most self-indulgent and absurdly awful letter I have ever written, so if I do end up sending it (which I may not), you should probably just tear it up right away so that you don’t realise how ridiculous I am. However, one of the men who works at the Post Office is really hot, so maybe I’ll send it anyway. I miss you so much. I don’t want to say ‘it looks like you are having a good time’, because, frankly, it looks like A TONNE OF VERY HARD WORK, which begs the question: are you going to come home really ripped? That would be so exciting! In any case, I am sure you are making the most of your time there, whether that means having a good time or engaging your core and working on your glutes. I really do hope you are enjoying yourself, though. I went to see the Damien Hirst show at the Tate on Wednesday. I hated it. The weather here is absolutely pants. You ain’t missing a whole lot, baby. I love you!


Sally said...

For Joe Roundtree,

Hey Joe! Sounds like your really busy but there are no photos of you working so i'm guessing you have everyone trained or thats why everyone piled on top of you!;) Your hair looks alot shorter! i wonder how long it will be at the end of the trip! I was so happy to get your letter the other day, sounds like you were already having fun and how lucky are you to have swam in the olympic swimming pool! Hope your surviving the heat, sure sounds hot. Glad to hear you singing as usual! looks like you have met some interesting creatures, hope you don't get too scared. Theres not much going on here, just the usual apaart from i have lost my voice! Which sucks for me but good for others. I am of to alton towers next week which should be good! Anyway i hope to see some more pictures up soon! and its great to hear what your up to! Missing you loads! Lots of love Sally xxxxxxxx

Rosie Dunphy said...

For Freddie Dunphy. Alpha 3

Hey Freds,
So so good to read this blog, see the photos and hear about your typical day. We are all hanging onto every word we hear of your trip and I've forwarded the latest blog entry on to Malcolm and the rest of the family.
I'd say you're in your element!. No doubt you'll be initiating the games and encouraging the singing!. Miss you so much. Home is very quiet without you.
Xx mum

mommie said...

beth pearson alpha 3
hi its mommy found my reading glasses so this may be ledgible for a change. u all look like your having a fab if mucky and wet time, dont worry its just the same here. can u smugglebaby boris back have a spot saved in freezer for him. we all love and miss you loads. rachel doing great and you have grandparents from usa here on 10/11 of sept dad has accepted your uni accom offer love you loadsxxx mommy

Mum said...

HI Joe,
Great to see you on some photos at last - love the drastic haircut! Looks like you're working and playing hard. Robert's last week at primary coming up. Weather's been awful - sports day, yorks show cancelled. Otherwise all fine here.
Mum xxx

Anonymous said...

Miss you heaps freddie lots of love little bro hugo

Carol Aitken said...

hey Euan. Greetings from your favourite auntie. Hope you're taking care of yourself. Fergus said he thought you'd come home without your fat tummy. i thought that was a bit rude myself. keep working hard, and make sure you keep up the dancing also. lots of love from Carol xxxxx

Jen Russell, En-Joy-Life! said...

Hey Euan, looking good young man, loving the new hair do! Oh and a Scottish baritone, perfect for some mighty fine auld scots songs and the doh a dear at the Scotland games lol! Keep up the good work and having fun, haste ye back! :) Stevie, Jen and crew x

mommie said...

Beth Pearson alpha 3
Hi darling it was great to get your postcard and to know that you climbed an 80ft tree without a harness you were not meant to tell me things like that until u were safely home but at least u made it. dont know y u doubted that u could cook 4 14 thought u were the dorset beach bbq queen. we all love and miss u xxx

mama said...

Message for Petra/Alpha 2
Nemas pojma koliko si me razveselila svojim pozivom.Ako sigurno hoces ostati dulje, ja mogu nadoplatiti. Razgovarala sam sa Joshom i sto se tice anti malaria tableta i insect reppelent spray rekao je da se to moze nabaviti u njihovom shopu dolje. Najbolje da razgovaras sa nekim dolje u bazi. A za period tablete, isto pitaj nekog. Mislim da imaju medical person, doktora ili koga i oni to mogu srediti.
Drago mi je da ti je super. Samo pisi kada god stignes, jer se sve tako brzo zaboravi. Isto, cisti zube redovno. To je jako vazno.
Voli te mama

kathleen caldwell said...

emma hay alpha 5 dearest emma it was lovely to hear your voice today we are glad you are doing okay and enjoying yourself we miss you and love you very much all our love always nana popa and billyxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx1153

Mum said...

For Emma Hay Alpha 5

Miss you and Love you xxxxx

Tracy said...

For Amy Edwards Alpha 6

Miss you lots, luv ya xxxx Tracy

Anonymous said...

To Bethany Pearson Apha 3 from James Paterson
Hi Beth,
I'm really glad you're having a great time. Can you bring that Orangutang back with you ?
I bet the time's flying by, enjoy every minute of it


mommie said...

bethany pearson alpha 3
hello darling sorry i missed that call was walking saxon also missed 1 from work which didnt go down well lol. glad that u are working with children it will perhaps give u an incite to the different types of teachers out there for your future options helping kids out there perhaps an option after uni. dipsy all taxed and found out how to get sax in yell walkies then shove him up the bum xxx love u jimbo real proud of u xx

Anonymous said...

Mum and Dad

Message for Jaclyn Kennedy Alpha 7

Saw a couple of pictures of you at the very start of your adventure but still waiting to see you working! Trekking sounds really amazing. You will have some cool stories to tell when you come home. Can't wait to her all the tales. Missing you loads (so does Flo). xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

nana popa caldwell said...

emma hay alpha 4 hello darling nana again guess what its raining again whats new this summer mum was very upset about missing your phone call her phone was dead we miss you lots and looking forward to you coming home love you sweetheart all our love nana popa and billy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Jane Robinson. said...

hay emma hay.
im officially a kindle w.. you know the rest.
dont be too upset that your not seeing my beautiful face every day. i hope your beautiful sandals are withholding for you and completing the look of beauty!
Miss you.

Amy edwards. i dislike you and hope you get lost out there and dont have to come back. I am going to book a holiday and pay for it with love and kindness, maybe a cruise but ill have to pay extra with hope and peace.

You know who this is.

Anonymous said...

Zoe lea alpha three now
Hi Zoe, sent you a happy birthday message but don't think you got it so hope u had a special day!! We have been following your progress and enjoying looking at the pics!! Glad scuba diving went well and really proud of you out there. House is very quiet and tidy though!! Missing you lots but sure you are having a fantastic time out there. Love mum, dad and Ali xx