Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Alpha 8 do a little bit of wandering

After spending their two phases on static sites, the members of Alpha 8, AKA Bang Tidy, now have a new challenge to face: Trek

Twelve happy Venturers and two motivated PM's spent their first night in a camp in Long Pasia, where we divided the food and got ready to stay in the jungle for eleven days.

We then met our main guide, Nooh, the king of the jungle. He is a real legend in Borneo and we all found hime very impressive the first time we saw him.
Then  began the trek. In the beginning, Nooh has  been testing us. Feedback: we are apparently a quick and strong group and we're going to have an amazing trek, walking hard and  even extreme trails.

Alpha 8 is actually so fast that we've been having lunch at camp every single day during this trek, which is nice because early arrival means free time pin the afternoon, chilling in hammocks, sunbathing on the rocks and making 'jungle bling'...

Since we had a lot of free time, we've been enjoying the guides' knowledge about the jungle. Nooh and his two assistance, Albert and Johnny, taught us how to make a good fire, how to set up animal traps and how to boil water in a plastic bottle. They then explained their way to hunt and fish (with only a knife). The guides are really friendly, always offering us hot drinks and jungle bling.

On the first day we all received a bracelet and necklace made of jungle wood. The necklace is a protection against jungle spirits and the bracelet is a sign of our friendship with the king of the jungle.

Of course we had some down moments: some REALLY moody days with lots of falling over and even more leaches, some hard days walking up hills, but on the other hand we're really enjoying it.We spent two easy days at the camp of Maga Falls, where Nooh took us to a mini trek, we saw the waterfall after walking on some very sloppy rocks. We went to see the cave of a famous warrior and went down into a dark bat cave. We then dressed up to do traditional dances. We were actually wearing clothes and hats made of leaves.

At the time I am writing these lines, Alpha 8 has just set up his camp in the nicest existing place: right next to a big river with some huge rocks, ideal place for sunbathing and stargazing.
We only have two nights left in the jungle, then we're heading back to Long Pasia for a night in the home stay (looking forward to sleeping in a real bed!).

All I can say is that I really enjoyed those 11 days in the jungle, even if there have been some really hard days with people struggling, even if there were some tensions with the food (who's going to be the one scaling the jar of the peanut butter?). we've been helping each other and finishing each trek in less time than expected. When it was really too hard, we simply thought about dive island, the beach, the sun (the food) and then everything seemed easier.

DIVE ISLAND, the ultimate reward after eleven days of walking, food rationing and washing in freezing cold rivers, HERE WE COME!!!!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Art Attack at Alpha 1!

Amazing Kampung Art Day!

By Joost beeuwsma and Jacobine Muntendam.

We arrived at Kampung Mandurian Laut on Saturday the beginning of Phase 3, our last phase!

After a warm welcome from the villagers, we set up camp and walked up to the almost finished Kindergarten or not so finished kindergarten! We realised there would be a lot of hard work ahead of us, but it would definitely be an exciting challenge. We were and still are super motivated to finish the whole kindergarten before we finish Phase 3, which includes building the toilets, putting on the roof and walls, painting and creating a veranda.

After two days of work we were pleasantly surprised by the early arrival of Ed, Team Coach and Videographer (and the creator and organiser of the 'Celebrating Art in Sabah' exhibition) and his great team of creative minds Sam (A Venturer) Ellie (International Operations Manager from Head Office) and Lucy (From Bridging the Gap Australia). 

Mandurian laut, Pitas is an beautiful place situated on a hill. The Kindergarten itself has an amazing view that looks out of over a landscape of around thirty hills and mountains. There is a church, community centre and JKK (Head of Village) house and a lovely river for us to bathe in.There are chickens and dogs everywhere and some cows, not forgetting all the mosquitoes!

As part of the 'Celebrating Art in Sabah' Exhibition (the first time Raleigh has ever done anything like this) we introduced villagers to arts and crafts. There is very little knowledge of art in the Kampungs in Borneo. That is where Raleigh stepped in to make a difference! The villagers used their imagination to paint on a massive canvas. Sam and Mel, a young local who could draw incredibly well, bonded their strengths and created a great painting, with the help of many of the Venturers. After a colourful morning, it was time for lunch made by Josh and Jamie. We invited the locals over and we all had lunch together at the big table in front of the community centre.

PMs Laura and Natalie
With the most hilarious PM's (Natalie and Laura) we all had a fantastic time with the villagers, painting two different pieces of art which everyone worked on, and they turned out amazing! We got to have a blast with the old and the young people of Mandurian Laut. It made us realise you can communicate with the locals in many different ways, like with art and not just with language (which usually doesn't work out that well!).

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Real Reason we are here!

This latest video shows one of the truly amazing projects Expedition 12A has been working on.
In the 'middle of nowhere' in Kamung Imusan Nick Bromley and the rest of Alpha 4 have been working a gravity water feed funded by The Coke Foundation. 

Take a look and feel proud that this expedition is making a real difference.