Saturday, 16 June 2012

Allocations! Who's going where?

The wait is over! Sarah and Petr have made their decisions and the PMs have finally been put out of their misery. Apologies for the lack of photographs, our photographer Vanessa is currently out on PPV so we will add the rest of the photos as soon as she returns.

So drum roll please....

Alpha 1: Kindergarten Construction in Kampung Komborongo in Kudat
In order to enter the Malaysian school system, a child must first achieve a certain level of education.  Without easy access to to a kindergarten, this is next to impossible. The kampung already has one state sponsored Kindergarten but this hasn’t got enough capacity to serve Komborongo and the surrounding villages. This project will have a profound effect on the local area granting increased access to preschool education to the children of Komborogo and its satellite villages.  

  •  Phase 1: Simon and Philli
  •  Phase 2: Simon and Lucy
  •  Phase 3: Simon, Conor and Emily P

Alpha 2: Gravity Water Feed in Kampung Lalapakon and Mansiat

Many communities in Malaysia have no access to a clean water supply. Most villages collect rain water in large tanks or barrels but this is often insufficient for their needs and so they obtain water from polluted rivers. A Gravity Water Feed System is a simple and often inexpensive solution. This project will supply these villages with clean running water for the first time!  
  • Phase 1: Conor, Adam and Candice
  • Phase 2: Conor and Nikki B
  • Phase 3: Nikki B, Adam and Candice

Alpha 3: Water Tank Construction in Danum Valley

Danum Valley Conservation Area is an area of pristine rainforest and one of the world's most complex eco-systems.  Before it became a conservation area, there were no human settlements within the area, making it almost unique.  Unsurprisingly, the Danum Valley Field Centre(DVFC) is one of the world's leading rainforest research centres. The project here will help to increase access into the conservation area to enable scientists to carry out more research.

The project will involve building large concrete water tanks to feed the DVFC and volunteers will also assist international scientists with various conservation projects and receive rainforest education.

  • Phase 1: Nick, Vanessa and Nikki B
  • Phase 2: Nick and Philli
  • Phase 3: Philli, Ernie and Max 

Alpha 4: Bear Enrichment at the Sun Bear Sanctuary in Sepilok

One of the least known species of bear, the sun bear is mainly found in the rainforests of South East Asia.  Despite its designation as "Totally Protected" under Sabah's Wildlife Conservation Enactment, poaching and the depletion of its habitat have brought this small bear into danger and the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is being developed as a rescue, rehabilitation, education and research centre. 

The Raleigh team will be helping build important infrastructure such as boardwalks and fencing to help prepare the centre for completion.
  • Phase 1: Emily P, Lucy and Kate
  • Phase 2: Emily P and Adam
  • Phase 3: Nick and Lucy

Alpha 5: Trek/ Dive, Long Pasia

The trekking element will begin in Long Pasia, in the south western corner of Sabah on the Kalimantan and Sarawak border.The trek will be 10 – 11 days in duration, followed by a diving programme including 3 or 4 days completing a certified PADI Open Water Diver course followed by 1 or 2 days of conservation work.   

  • Phase 1: Max and Emma
  • Phase 2: Max and Candice
  • Phase 3: Ian and Emma

Alpha 6: Dive/Trek,Long Pasia

Alpha 6 will dive first and then trek in the same areas as Alpha 5 . 

  • Phase 1: Matt and Emily M
  • Phase 2: Ian and Ernie
  • Phase 3: Matt and Sheila

Alpha 7: Trek/Dive/Trek in Kiulu Valley and Crocker Mountain Range

The trekking for this project will be split across two sites, either side of the diving section. The first part will be a 5 day trek in the Kiulu valley in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu.  The second section is a 7 or 8 day trek in the southern part of the Crocker Mountain range.

All adventure groups will also be involved in a SCUBA diving conservation program in Tungku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.  They will spend 3 to 4 days doing their PADI Open Water diving qualification followed by 1 to 2 days of an underwater clean up.
  •  Phase 1: Ian and Sheila
  •  Phase 2: Matt and Emily 

So next on the agenda are the Project Planning Visits(PPV’s). The PM’s have been busy preparing and getting their kits packed ready to go to their project site for 3 days. On return they will (hopefully) have a lot more knowledge of what each project will entail and we will give you an update then!

We survived the jungle!!

On Tuesday morning 22 clean, enthusiastic and energetic VMs travelled to Base Camp to commence jungle training and returned on Thursday, perhaps a little sweaty and tired but very much still full of enthusiasm.

So here is how we got on in Jungle Training:
After doing a successful vehicle check (a vital part of training) we all jumped onto a bus and made our way to Base Camp where we had an intense day of training which included first aid, how to put up a radio and what to do if a major incident/accident occurs. We also had to sort out the ‘Raleigh Rations’- our food for the next two days. The discovery of iced gems and peanut brittle caused particular excitement to those who had been on a Raleigh expedition before; this excitement was soon shared amongst the newbies of the group when we were half an hour into our trek and the peanut brittle was brought out- it perked us all up no end!

The evening before we departed into the jungle we had some surprise entertainment organised by Mac, Sarah and Petr. Much to everyone’s surprise we had the opportunity to partake in our very own Raleigh Samba Band (we weren’t sure what we were expecting but it certainly wasn’t that)! The guides from Asia Ability who would be leading us through the jungle arrived with a shed load of instruments at which point the majority of the group declared they had no rhythm. However Zul reassured us that everyone had a rhythm and we ended up with a surprisingly impressive ensemble. Check out the video at or on the left hand side of the blog !

On Wednesday morning after a quick jungle craft training session we began our trek into the jungle in our Tango groups, full of eagerness and excitement about how much fun it was going to be and at just two hours long, obviously it would be a piece of cake. Oh how wrong we were....

Less than 15 minutes into the trek grumbles of “how can I possibly be this sweaty?” and “oh my legs have never been so tired” soon started to arise. Half an hour later and the sweatiness had been accepted as the norm, we were all completely sopping wet and had learned to laugh about it. Tango 1 even had a ‘Sweat Off’, the winner of which was Nick who resembled a small waterfall by the time he got to Jungle Camp!

Bashas and a shelter had to be set up as soon as we got to Jungle Camp, and seeing as it took us about 3 hours, it’s a good thing we had set off early that morning! There were only a couple of hammock disasters, including Ian’s hammock string snapping, luckily when he was testing it out, not when he was sleeping! The quote of the day definitely came from Max, who when asked the best way to get a mosquito net back in it's bag replied, "You just roll it like a sausage" which at the time, in our tired, sweaty states was completely hilarious!

Another night of experimenting with Raleigh Rations and Tango 2 made the discovery that the Prawn Sambal does not need chilli and half a bag of garlic added to it, it will cause enough mouth tingling and brow sweating all by itself! We finished up the evening with hot cups of Milo and tea, and some iced gems whilst Zul gave us a talk about the rules of the jungle. We were all in bed by 8.30pm, which may seem a bit ridiculous but when you have been up since 5am, and trekked for what seemed like forever, bed(even if it is a slightly dodgy looking hammock) was the only place we wanted to be! 
We set off the next morning bright and early at 7am, and were back by 12pm ready to hear where we would be allocated to.

Final part of the trek, bridge to Basecamp

Tango 2, return to Basecamp!

Want to find out where everyone is going? You’ll have to wait for the next blog which should be up in the next few days!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Selamat datang! Welcome PMs!

The full 12D team is finally together! Warm welcomes were plentiful as the Advanced Team greeted the PM’s and introduced them to Fieldbase life.

So how have we initiated the Volunteer Project Managers into Raleigh Fieldbase life?

A tour of the house showed the newcomers where everything is including the honesty fridge which is an important one for the girls; it’s where the chocolate stays! Everyone was also introduced to the 3 bowl system.

We then played a name game to ensure that everyone at least knew each other’s names and then the PM’s had a few hours to settle in, unpack and go through induction before heading out to a Malaysian style dinner at a local restaurant in Lintas.
The speciality is Roti which is basically a form of Malaysian bread. We tried various types of roti, which included a savoury type, one cooked with condensed milk and another with egg. Voted the best roti is the show stopper that is Roti tisu. The wafer thin bread is covered in sugar and wrapped into a cone shape standing about 3 foot high. Described by Will as a cone made out of Ricicles, it was definitely a crowd pleaser. Saying that, by the time the third round of Roti’s came out everyone was looking pretty stuffed, apart from Ian who happily finished off the last two plates of rice and noodles and still looked ready for more!

This expedition will also see 26 birthdays, 2 of which have already been celebrated, with Emma’s on the 8th June and Nikki’s the day after she arrived on the 10th June. Cake is of course a necessary part of birthdays, and Loli had a challenge on her hands with wheat intolerant Nikki, but came up with a scrumptious flour-free chocolate Swiss roll which was thoroughly enjoyed by all!

Over the next two weeks training will continue for all the volunteers. We will visit Base Camp in the jungle, visit projects and prepare for when the venturers arrive, which we can't wait for! So tune in soon for the report back from Base Camp to hear how we all get on in training!