Friday, 2 March 2012

Papped! Phase 1

Here are some of the highlights of the Alpha groups from Phase 1 who we haven't been able to feature many photos of so far, through the lens of the venturers and volunteer managers.

Alpha 2 - Gravity Water Feed project

Alpha 5 - Danum Valley

Alpha 6 - Bio Diversity survey

Alpha 8

Alpha 9

Monday, 27 February 2012

Three people, one place, one phase, one blog post...

Phase 1 Alpha 1
Firstly Project Manager Penny describes her journey into Kampung Mandurian Laut and settling into Phase 1 of the Kindergarten build project with Alpha 1...
PM Penny

Having bounced around in 4x4’s for two hours along gravel roads and mud tracks (that's after a few hours on a coach!), we finally got to the breathtakingly beautiful Kampung Mandurian Laut. Huge smiles and fresh coconuts from the JKKK (Head of the village) and the villagers welcomed us. 
We are staying in the community hall, opposite the Baptist Church, and next to the JKKK’s house. Within hours they had helped us to make a very fine home – we have a bamboo extension for our kitchen, and not one, but two 'shower cubicles'! 
There’s quite a lot of shower singing going on just so that we know which ones are in use, and we have all decided that bucket showers, with a view of the palm trees and blue skies around us, are some of the best showers we’ve ever had! 
Vilkon singing his heart out at
the community church!
We were incredibly touched to be asked by the JKKK to attend the community church service on Sunday morning on our second day in the Kampung, and were slightly surprised that in accepting this offer, we had also agreed to sing for the community!

Luckily one of our Host Country Venturers Vilkon, is a member of a church choir, and led the way for us; we have a week to practice now before it’s the turn of all of us! 

Sitting to eat dinner on Sunday night, we all agreed that the morning in church had been one of the most beautiful and insightful experiences we have had out here – each member of the community shook our hands, asked our ages and where we were from, and in return shared their smiles, names and what they do which was so interesting to all of us, and so kind of them to be so open and welcoming.

We are all excited to start the building work up on the kindergarten site, an open expanse on quite a slope – we have our work cut out! We can't complain though, as we have the most beautiful views and access to clean water from a gravity water feed installed by a Raleigh project last year.
Volunteer Finance Manager, Jerry describes the start of building the kindergarten

Jerry with PM Laura on the Kindergarten site.
check out Laura's "I'm a celebrity get me out of here" T-shirt!
Very early on the first blistering hot Monday morning we started about creating a Kindergarten building for the local community’s children.
The site itself is a challenging one, sloping in two directions and without any shade for relief from the heat whilst we will be building. Laura (Project Manager) and myself hadn't had the chance to spend much time together up to this point but that was soon about to change!

Every fieldbase manager gets the chance to go onto a project phase for around ten days and this was my chance to turn my back on the accounts for a short time and get stuck in with the project, handy then that back home in Edinburgh I am an architect!

The first thing we did was to locate the footprint of the building by identifying the proposed four corners, pointing the future verandah towards a view over the tree canopies and the mountains beyond, where the rainforest takes hold with the river running through.
Then, using the simple technology of bamboo stakes, string, a water tube level, tape measure and Pythagoras maths, we proceeded to set it out accurately.
Due to heavy rains, and I mean, seriously heavy, the materials took a few days later to arrive (and then only in dribs and drabs by 4x4, as the lorry had become stuck) which meant work was somewhat sporadic. We eventually managed to dig 16 holes on a 30 feet square grid, 3 feet deep to receive the timber posts. The timber we use for this is belian timber, hard as steel, from Sabah’s rainforest, and heavier than you can imagine. By the end of the first week we will have done all the posts, and began the floor perimeter beams which, in turn, will support the floor joists. By the end of the phase, we will have the flooring complete and potentially even the columns which will form the walls and eventually support the roof structure.
The mud fight seemed a good idea at the time!
We are also building the kampung’s first proper toilets (long drops are used in all the dwellings at present), in the form of a small outbuilding to the school kindergarten which will have two toilets and two septic tanks.
Raleigh and the local villagers will provide the labour for this project, the materials for the toilets have been provided by Asian Forestry Company (AFC) one of Raleighs key partners. The funding for the kindergarten building has come from a group of Raleigh Borneo alumni, who after completing expeditions in 2010 as Volunteer Managers, returned home, completed a variety of activities and raised the funds to provide a much needed kindergarten for a remote community in Sabah.
Primary education will improve the future development of these remote kampungs dramatically, and I am really pleased to have been a part of that process. I have had a great time and met some great venturers who I will follow with great interest along their Raleigh journey.
Venturer and 'Raleigh Reporter' Giulia Hetzenauer describes how it feels to be over halfway through the phase...
Giulia Hetzenauer still manages to look glam on project
Our time on phase 1 of the kindergarten project is almost over.
In six days we are leaving Mandurian Laut and we are going to say goodbye to the villagers, 'quick sand beach', our dog 'Chicken', the mosquito's in the long drop and the project that we have worked so hard at no matter whether it was in the baking sun or pouring rain we were there getting the foundation posts in!
Now the group are realising that we will soon be leaving that all behind as we prepare to say goodbye. We're sad but feel blessed that we had this opportunity and have achieved so much.

I'd like to thank my group for the time we spent together, the jokes, the very creative meals and the the valentines cards!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Drum roll please...Phase 2 allocations!

In the blink of an eye, Phase 1 of Expedition 12A is completed. The Alpha groups headed back to base camp on Thursday. Laundry, mobile phone calls, proper showers and toast for breakfast were some of the treats the venturers enjoyed. Things that are taken for granted back home are treasured after a project phase! The sun shined brightly for two days and the venturers all talked enthusiastically about the projects they had been on and what they might get to do next.

The new seven week venturers who had arrived a day earlier, joined the rest of the group and were treated to entertainment in the form of skits performed by all the Alpha Groups. Country Director Mac, Deputy Programme Manager Stephen and Medic Astrid took their places on the 'Strictly Come Venturing' judges panel and Alpha's 6 and 7 managed to clean up with a maximum score of 30 each across the board!

On Friday morning, after a good nights sleep in a jungle basha, we were ready to announce to the Venturers their next Alpha groups and phase two destinations!

Here is a reminder of what the projects are about and who the lucky venturers are for each project with a photo of their first group task the tug of war. In case you are wondering Alpha 2 won!
Alpha 1

Alpha 1 are building a kindergarten in Kampung Mandurian Laut, a remote village in the northern region of Borneo. Education and schools are provided by the state here in Malaysia, however all children must have achieved a basic level in both literacy and numeracy to be accepted. Kindergartens such as these are vital, providing this essential level of education and in reducing the poverty margin, we are very proud of the venturers who will continue the construction of this site throughout phase two:


PMs Laura and Natalie W
Anneroos Kleinrensink
Bridget Henderson
Suh Huey Yap
Elliott Andrew
Felicity Powell
Jason Tambling
Kiki Veeger
Nicholas Mapson
Samuel Straker
William Denny
Rubyanne Disimon
Alpha 2
The start of a new project for Alpha 2 after the first phase returned to a previous Raleigh Gravity Water Feed system to carry out some repairs. Alpha 2 are now going to start building a new Gravity Water Feed system in Kampong Pantai in the Pitas region. The quest to provide this essential commodity in terms of life and hygiene will be performed by:
PMs Nikki and Caroline
Christopher Shuttlewood
Elliott Babb
Erik Vlaswinkel
Ingrid Elliott
James Allan- Mclean
Lauchlan Manski
Minna Henderson
Samuel Phipps
Willemijne Van Daal
Yu Wei Lee (Fishtail)
Liang Keat Chin (Bo)
Alpha 3
The last of our community teams, Alpha 3 are also building a water gravity system, but this one will take all three phases to complete. These groups will be constructing a dam, laying over 5km of pipe and installing taps to provide vital fresh water to Kampung Imusan. Also worth noting is the village are Karaoke mad and we expect the Venturers to spend alot of time behind a microphone! The singing pipe layers are:

PMs Paul and Astrid
Cecile Wanders
Erica Diklev
Eve Robertson
Jack Huntington
Yim Kit Yen
Lester Tjinglinin
Michelle Coffey
Nicholas Bromley
Sarah Wyld
Frenley Richard
Alpha 4
Alpha 4 are the real animal lovers, the team will be involved in various construction projects at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok. Priority is to complete the boardwalk around the enclosure perimeter to allow the bear keepers regular access to the animals. Working in the heart of the soon to be opened centre, their work will be invaluable in raising both awareness and funds for this important cause. Check out more information at BSBCC Lets hear it for:

PMs Chaitaly, Dave R and Nat D
Alyssa Wood
Andres Sergeant
Arthur Morris
Bouke Smeets
Erica Bostock
Jasmine Horsey
Jeremy Cheang
Josh Seaman
Martin Leman
Michael Hawes Cruz
Richard Peat
Gary Urban

Alpha 5

Trekking into the primary, untouched rainforest of Danum Valley are Alpha 5. Going where few have dared venture before, this team is building a satellite camp which will allow researchers and other scientists to base themselves there and perform studies deeper into the forest. Few people are allowed into this part of the world, however the following venturers will be living there for the next 3 weeks:

PMs Dan and Emma
Aaron Saxton
Clarrie Ashley
George Cotterell
Jacobine Muntendam
Jennifer Foster
Lydia Minto
Mats Andreissen
Rhiannon Depla
Tom Barlow
Vilkon Tauning Gambilkl
Yi Xiong Chong
Alpha 6
Alpha 6 will be performing a bio-diversity study in the secondary rainforest in the Pitas Region. The aim of which is to establish a conservation area, this work could potentially protect the location and its bio-diversity for generations to come. If that doesn't excite you enough, then you should know that the last time Raleigh performed a study in this region they discovered an new species of frog. Our potential pioneers in fauna and flora:

PMs Tim and Craig (Bruno)
Derk Bottema
Emma Brown
En De Liow
Guilia Hetzenauer
Joseph Satt
Josh Rockley
Justin Cann
Lap Lau
Luke NBagnell
William GRay
Zoe Miuller
Natasha Kandayan

Alpha 7
Alpha 7 - Adventurers of Long Pasia; These really are our luckiest venturers, what better start to an expedition could there be than six nights on a tropical island. Waking up each day on the beach of Mamutik Island, Alpha 7 will spend their days working and adventuring in order to achieve either their Open Water or Adventure PADI diving qualification. After which they will trek through the jungles of Long Pasia close to the Indonesia and Sarawak borders. Who are we all very jealous of? Look no further than:
PMs Krystina and Sam
Andrew Whyte
Bethany Maton
Cameron Mitchell
Elizabeth Fuller
Eva Garritsen
Fraser McFadden
Louise Poulson
Lucas Kessarm
Chen Yang Chua
Thomas Wagland
Joyce Van Klooster
Fauzy Bin Nuing

Alpha 8

Alpha 8 - Just like Alpha 7, this team will be achieving their diving qualifications on Mamutik Island and trekking through incredible scenery of Long Pasia. The only difference is, they're doing it the other way around, trekking first and diving second. I can guarantee you the tropical beach will made all the sweeter by the sense of accomplishment achieved by completing their trek first. Our second group of adventurers:

PMs James and Rich
Beni Benz
Camilla Gash
Daniel Openshaw
Ghislaine de Maes Janssens
Jamie Shaw
James Lee
Josh Ho
Loek Ravels
Sophia Berry
Sophie Moore
Chen Haw Lok (Tim)
Dawn Maniaii

Alpha 9
Our final group of adventurers, completing their first trek at an altitude of 1500 metres along the Mengkaladom trail, then travelling to Mamutik Island to achieve their PADI qualifications before finally trekking back to Basecamp through Kiulu Valley in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu. All these trek locations are some of the most beautiful in all of Borneo but the experience will be both challenging and character building, we present to you Alpha 9:

PMs Joe and Cat
Alex Rorison
Charlotte Parker
Chloe Ackrill
Christina Corder
Jacob Kleinman
Joost Breeuwsma
Khai Ping Teoh
Mathew Goodwin
Meg Woods
Samuel Ross
Sheena Howard
William Sabine
Frazer Nooh

We wish them all the best of luck as they head to their new projects and can't wait to hear their stories on the radio and see how they get on throughout the next three weeks!