Saturday, 4 February 2012

Welcome to Raleigh…Host Country and Australian Aborigine Venturers!

Host Country Venturers (local Sabahans and West Malaysians) and Australian Aborigines arrived in Borneo on Sunday, a day earlier than the rest of the Venturers as an opportunity to settle in and meet the volunteer and Project Manager teams.

Smiles all round - Our HCV and Australian Venturers just a few hours after arriving.

The day started with a tour of the ‘bat cave’ aka Fieldbase where the 34 Volunteer Managers and permanent staff welcomed the group with cold drinks and hot food cooked by Loli the fieldbase chef. They then kitted the venturers out with any final bits of jungle equipment and clothing.

Once the mozzie nets, rollmats and anti-malarials were dished out it was time for the Venturers to take a dip in the local Olympic sized swimming pool for a swim capability assessment. An extra friendly team of managers (if it is even possible to be friendlier than the rest of them!) were chosen to look after the Venturers over the two days including; Kim from Expanding Horrizons, Australia, who has a role in the Logs team for this expedition and is accompanying our aborigine venturers, Dan the Trekker, Astrid the Medic, Lorraine from Head Office, Tim the PM for the bio-diversity project, Penny one of the Kindergarten PMs and yours truly, Rachel the Communications Officer.

The pool was without doubt a welcome relief from the heat of the Sabah sun. A quick change, then it was time to head to Basecamp before dark.

We had some great fun cooking dinner with ration packs and splitting the venturers into groups for a masterchef challenge. The project managers then chose their favourite meal and judged each groups recipes with awards for ‘Speediest’, ‘Best vegetarian option’ and ‘Tastiest’. We were wowed by the standard of cooking with Raleigh rations, it’s amazing what you can do with noodles, mock duck and chicken frankfurters!

The next day we helped the logs team pack boxes of rations for the rest of the Venturer's arrival, did some jungle pre-training, made welcome signs and prepared some dances for the arrival of the rest of the Venturers later that day. By 4:30pm the rest of the Venturers arrived and were welcomed to cheers and funky dancing as their coach pulled into Basecamp.

The start of expedition 12A with a full team of Venturers and Volunteer Managers was about to  commence and the excitement bubbled inside each and every one of us.

We can now confirm, all groups have safely deployed to their project sites. Check back with us tomorrow to find out who has gone where and what exactly they will be doing

Our project managers have prepared to succeed, succeeded to prepare!

After being allocated their respective projects, the Project managers are bursting with enthusiasm after visiting their project sites to prepare plans. Over the course of four or five days the Project managers visited each of the nine projects to assess the current situation, identify the scope and materials needed for the project, build relationships with the community and start their planning. Once back at fieldbase they would write a project planning report that would form the basis of each phase of the project. This is just the start of all the good things to come!

You are going to hear a lot about these projects over the course of the next ten weeks but what about the weird and wonderful stuff you never usually get to hear about? During the PPV visits...

Laura had the unfortunate experience of a child urinating on her accidentally in Kg Mandurian Laut the village where we will be building a kindergarten!

Stuie and Natalie visited their gravity water feed project in Nibang and were shocked to find the road into the village had been washed away!

Emma, Claire and Joe visited their trek site in Tudan-Mengkaladom and used a proper flushing toilet next to a waterfall and were shocked to have to find they needed a woolly jumper while almost walking on the clouds in the jungle!

James, Sam and Krystyna became fashion icons overnight after returning from their visits to their trek sites with jungle bling in the form of carved necklaces made by the jungle guides!

"Hello fieldbase.. you'll never guess what we just saw"
Caroline and Chaitaly laughed at tales of an orang-utan copying one of the venturers and spiking his hair into a Mohican on the previous expedition at Sepilok!

Dan and Rich confirmed they were 12As very own Bear Grylls with their trek into Danum Valley, HARDCORE!

Tim, Greg and Dave visited the site of the bio diversity survey and found a spider living outside of the camp that had a body the size of his Tim’s head!

Watch this space as we cover the arrival of the venturers...

This town isn't big enough for the both of us.. Dan VS Danum