Saturday, 31 March 2012

Artistic Pipeworks

A2 Kampung Pantai and Lihing 
This morning I woke up in a pool of my own dribble, sweating profusely in my longs, lying uncomfortably close to the venturer on my left, with another venturer laying at my feet... oh the joys of close Raleigh living! 
Despite the cosy sleeping arrangements, I am having a ball here in the village of Kampung Pantai. Our group has been given a hugely warm welcome to this village - the kids are a constant presence in our living quarters, the adults regularly deliver home cooked food to our door and we have been given an especially warm welcome from the dogs (although that might be something to do with Fauzie feeding them our bananas daily).

We are here to finish off 2 existing gravity water feeds and to build an entirely new gravity water feed. When we complete this work, we will be turning on the taps in homes across two villages and in a hospital, giving the community much needed running water, something which I most certainly take for granted back in the UK.
It's official: I am now fully trained in mixing cement! If you ever need a dam building I'm your woman and I can lay piping for you any day. Even if it is 40 degrees (although you will be required to bring me juice with an oral rehydration sachet).
Alongside working on the gravity water feeds, we have begun giving daily English classes to the village, which have been very popular. Jasmine and Will gave a riveting lesson on that classic topic of the weather; it went down a storm. 
Today things became even more exciting, as we took a break from the usual routine of lugging gravel up hills, to help Ed Gregory and his creative team with the Raleigh Art Project. A 40ft canvas was set up in the community hall about a mile down the road, in the joined village of Kampung Lihing. 

The aim was to get the locals to design and paint their own section of the canvas, to represent their community. There was also a second, smaller canvas, 9ft long,  that the community painted.
Well I knew it would be fun, but what a turnout! It would seem that word had spread far, as adults and children alike turned up from 4 different villages. Their enthusiasm for the project was contagious and thus I did end up having a goatee beard and mono brow painted on my face, much to the horror of the children (although they did delight in scrubbing the paint off).

The rest of my group also got stuck in; Dan quickly made friends with a fellow Liverpool football supporter from Lihing and Jeremy posed in traditional costume brought by one of the villagers (he could probably start a modelling portfolio with the number of photographs taken). The fun continued into the evening, ending with singing and dancing in the church, encouraged by Alpha 2!
 So. Although I have come into this community to help install a gravity water feed system, I think in reality, these wonderful people have already given me far more than I could ever hope to give them. Their unbelievable warmth has made me realise that I am privileged to be here. It really doesn't matter where you do your business in life, flushing toilet or long drop - all that really matters is having a fantastic bunch of people around you and doing your damned best to be the most awesome person you can be to them in return. All you need is Love guys, all you need is Love (that's the brand of our toilet paper by the way). 
Speaking of which, where has the Love got to? It's business time. 

Written by Jenny Foster, Alpha 2
Photography by Ed Gregory

Jenny also features in this very exciting VIDEO...!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Phase 3 allocations!!

A little delayed due to technical issues...

After hugs, laughter, lots of showers, desperate attempts to wash t-shirts and socks (which will probably never be truly clean again!) and a night of fantastic skits about the adventures of pPase 2, it was time for allocations!

One hundred and forty four hard working, hilarious, dedicated, silly and brilliant people all gathered in a bamboo hut in the Borneo’Jungle to hear the new groups of Venturers and PM’s allocations for Phase 3.

A huge well done to everyone for pulling together at changeover getting their kit, brains and bodies ready to go again and out of their jungle hammocks by 5am for departure the next day. 

So without further ado, here are the groups for Phase 3... 

To the Alpha 1 with the kindergarten build in Mandurian Laut (PM’s Laura and Nat) it’s:
Andres S, Bethany M, Chloe A, Elizabeth F, En De L, Jacobine M, Jamie S, Joost B, Josh R, Martin L and Frazer N. 

To Alpha 2 Gravity Water Feed system in Kampong Pantai (PM’s Tim and Caroline) it’s:
Aaron S, Charlotte P, Jeremy C, Daniel O, Emma B, Gary U, Jasmine H, Jen F, Michael H-C, Will S and Fauzy B-N.

To Alpha 3 Gravity Water Feed system in Imusan (PM’s Nicki and Cat) it’s:
Alex R, Camilla G, Clarrie A, Ghislaine M-J, Ping T, Matts A, Rhiannon D, Sam R, Zoe M and Lucas K. 

To Alpha 4 with the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre (PM’s Chaitaly, Dave and Kim) it’s:
Cameron M, Erika D, Ingrid E, Jack H, James M, Nick M, Sheena H, Sophia B, Tom W, Sophie M and  Chen Y-C. 

To Alpha 5 in Danum Valley (PM’s Krystina, Sam and Alex) it’s:

Bridget H, Erik V, Fraser M, James L, Josh H, Louise P, Meg W, Nick B, Frenley R, and Fishtail L. 

To Alpha 6 in Coupe 8, on the biodiversity project with PM’s Bruno and Lee, it’s:
Eva G, Eve R, Felicity P, Jack K, James A-M, Loek R, Matther G, Michelle C, Tim H-L and Dawn M.

To  Alpha 7 who are diving and then trekking (PM’s Dan and Rich) it’s:

Arthur M, Chris S, Derk B, Elliot B, Giulia H, Lester T, Richard P, Sarah W, Vilkon T-G, Kiki V and Rubyanne D.

To Alpha 8 who and trekking and then diving (PM’s Joe and Astrid) it’s:

Anneroos K, Bouke S, Cecile W, George C, Joseph S, Justin C, Kit Y-Y, Lauchlan M, Lydia M, Will D, Will G and Bo K-C.

To Alpha 9 who are trekking, diving and then trekking again (PM’s James and Claire) it’s:
Alyssa W, Jason T, Josh S, Lap L, Luke B, Minna H, Sam P, Tom B, Willemijne V-D, Yi X-C and Natasha K.

We are already hearing fantastic reports of how all of the groups are doing now that they are safe and sound out on their project sites, and are pushing through on the final leg of completing projects and overcoming the final hurdles of this fantastic expedition. We can’t wait to visit them on the loop!

Always up for a challenge!

Hello from Alpha 8! 

For the past 12 days we have been trekking in the beautiful rainforests surrounding Long Pasia and we have all had the most incredible time, have seen some amazing things.

We spent 2 nights at the enchanting Maga Falls where our guide Fauzy, took us to a nearby bat cave that we had to abseil down into, using only a rope (most of us got pooed on) and Jamie very nearly took a tumble down the waterfall when we walked a little too close to the waters edge!

We also had some down time, where Fauzy showed us how to make jungle bling - bracelets and wood carvings, which kept us amused for hours including Sophie, who attempted an ambitious sun bear carving (not to scale), but ended up with half a cat and lots of zinc oxide taped fingers.     

Always up for a challenge, we stormed a two day hike in under seven hours, proving ourselves to be a strong and able team.  Fauzy could see our strength and offered us the opportunity to finish our trek with two long and hard days, which we eagerly accepted and did not regret.  After six hours of steep uphill and some truly breathtaking views, we had the privilege of camping next to Yao Yao lake, an eerily beautiful place that we all felt lucky to have seen and some of us were even brave enough to swim in, despite the legends of the huge and dangerous monkey - fish.

To keep us entertained on trek Beni and Sophia introduced 'The Man Challenge' - no sitting down or taking bags off unless a designated rest was called and definitely no falling over - which they both  promptly lost within an hour of the first day. 

After all that hard work, Alpha 8 are in need of some TLC and therefore for the next week we will be diving, tanning and most importantly eating all of Alpha 7 and 9's left over food on the beautiful Dive Island.