Saturday, 10 November 2012

Some special messages!

At Changeover we gave Venturers the opportunity to write messages to home for the blog. Here are the first lot, from Elena, Lara, Laura, Dionne, Becky, Sarah, Kitty, Dorien and Veerle. When the team head off on the next Loop we promise to collect even more messages for you back home.
(Just one more thing... we're running short of native Dutch speakers here at Fieldbase so apologies if there are any spelling mistakes!)
Mother Ciucci!
I’ve been put into my new Alpha group! I know quite a few of them but it won’t take me long to get to know the few I don’t. For this phase we are building the kindergarten! And we are filming our music video, which will be all in!
I’ve sent my letters off to you, hopefully you'll get them soon.
Love you and miss you all, Elena xx


Lieve Allemaal.
Kort berificlifje voor de blog! Bedarkt voor jullie lieve berichtjes, ik ben er erg bly mee! Ju zal jullie een brief schrijven met alle avonturaen zodra ic tyd heb!
Dieue kus Lara

For 17th November:
Happy birthday little sis! I hope you have an amazing day and are spoilt rotten! I miss you guys so much. I hope everything is fine at home and the party planning is running smoothly.
Send my love to everyone, lots of love Laura Liebenberg

For Family Annink and Luc
He allemal! Ik heb geprobeerd te sms’en, geloof niet dat het werlit. Heb jullie net gesbroken, ben heel bly datalles goed gaat en fyn om jullie (mama en Luc) te horen. Mam en pap, jullie hoeven geen ticket te boeken, ik denk niet dat het een goed plan is, was heel fijn gewest maar ga een tocht met Lara maken.
Luc, miss you so. Ik spreek jesnel weer, deze heer heb je een klein beetje een idea wanneer! Kus J
En sorry voor de tranen, weet niet waar ik ze vandaan blijf halen haha.
Veel liefs! Dionne.

For Hannah ER,
Thanks so much for your blog message, it was so good to hear from you! I’m having an amazing time here, so many stories to share when I get back. Blog me your address and I promise to write a letter. Lots of love Becky

Hi everyone, such an amazing time here. Did my trekking and diving for Phase 1 and am now heading to Terian to work on the kindergarten.
Miss you! Love Sarah C

Hi folks,
Just thought I’d say something as according to Jo you've been checking this blog regularly and to tell you that I have not fallen down a long drop, although there were a couple of close calls! I’m having a fantastic time and have just got back from trekking in Long Pasia for 12 days which was incredible. I am now off to do a gravity water feed, which I’m sure will be great and hopefully a lot easier!
I miss you all a lot and can’t wait to see you all again and find out what’s been happening. Lots of love Kitty

Hallo lieve vrienden en familie!
Heel veel liefs uit Borneo! Het is hier heel gaaf: trek/divewas serieus het geweldigste wat ok ooit gedaan heb. De amgeving, de mensen: het ikon niet beter. Ben ne weer by base camp, en vind het eig jammer om weer naar een nieuwe groep te moeten, maargoed, het wordt vast weer heel byrondex. Ik bend it keer ook ingedeeld met Philippine, daar ben ik wel heel bly mee.
Ik meset wel reggen: ik mis jullie…(en m’n beltegoed is op).
Liefs Dorien


(For 16 November)
Van harte gefeliciteerd met je 21e verjaardag. Moak ere en super dag van!
Ik vind het jammer dat ik er niel bij han zijn. Maar ik zie je snel en dan gaan we het uitgebreid vieren! J
Ihkmis je, en ih hoa vanje. Lots of love Veerle


Alpha 2 settle in

With all Alpha groups now out and about across Sabah, it’s time to catch up with how they are doing. Here is the latest from Alpha 2 on the gravity water feed project – a big thanks to Coral for taking the time to write it!
Thanks Coral!
After a two and a half hour 4x4 ride on not the most pleasant of dirt tracks we arrived at our new home for the next three weeks. It looked pretty bare at first but we all put in some hard work to make it feel more homely… including sorting out the slightly treacherous mud slide to the long drop! We made up for that however with some amazing fresh food, including tortilla wraps and banoffee pie.
Loading up the coach

The road to Kampung Nuguh

Ben unloads the most important things!
But Noah is pretty unimpressed by the Foul Beans...
On our first day we managed to provide the first house in the village with running water – what an amazing feeling to have given them such a gift. The weather conditions have been pretty extreme… from showering in the torrential downpours to having to like down in the sheer heat!


We also celebrated a birthday – Yie May was 24 – so we spent the day celebrating by playing games and feasting on a fish curry and chocolate cake. We have also been helping out at the local school, teaching them English and some sports, and it’s been great interacting with the children.

We are having a fantastic time at KampungNuguh and our group are all getting on really well so far. Hopefully by the time we finish all the houses in the village will have running water.



Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Up the mountain!

Before everyone set off for Phase 2 we were given some extremely exciting news... to celebrate Raleigh's 10 year anniversary in Borneo we are being treated to an extra special end of expedition adventure and the whole expedition will take on Mount Kinabalu!
 Yes, on Wednesday 12 December all 75 of us will be taking over the entire mountain and making our way to the top. After many new muscles have been discovered, kindergartens, gravity water feeds and water tanks have been built and everyone's feet have marched miles and miles, another fantastic challenge will still be to come - we can't think of a better way to end what is shaping out to be a pretty amazing expedition.

Below is an idea of how many of us will be heading up Mount K... and our very first full group shot!

Here are a few facts about Mount Kinabalu:
  • It is the tallest mountain in South-East Asia, standing 4,095m high
  • It is an eight-kilometre climb to the top and usually takes just two days to climb. You also don't need any previous experience at mountain climbing to get to the top (lucky for some!)
  • There is debate over where its name is derived from. Some argue it comes from the Kadazan words “aki” and “nabalu”, which together mean “the sacred place of the revered dead”. The Kadazans are the main indigenous people of Sabah, who believe that upon death, the spirits of their dead congregate at the top of the mountain. Others say that “Kinabalu” actually means “Cina Balu”, ie, “Chinese Widow”. This comes from the tale that a Chinese prince was rescued from a shipwreck by natives of a nearby village. He fell in love with a local woman and married her, but years later he was feeling homesick and returned to China to visit his parents, promising his wife he would return as soon as he could and then take her and their children back to China with him. Unfortunately his parents back in China disagreed, told him he was already betrothed to a princess of a neighbouring kingdom in China, and he obeyed.
    In the meantime his poor wife waited faithfully for him, climbing the mountain every day to see if she could see his ship returning. Sadly eventually her efforts took their toll and she fell ill and died at the top of the mountain. Touched by her loyalty, the spirits of the mountain decided to turn her into a stone, facing the South China Sea, to wait forever for her husband’s return.
Image courtesy of The Sabah Society
And finally, a nice quote for the soul:
"May your dreams be larger than mountains and may you have the courage to scale their summits.”
(Harley King, author)


Monday, 5 November 2012

Phase 2 allocations

So Phase 1 is now over and the Venturers are chomping at the bit to get started on their next projects. Without further ado then, here is where everyone has been allocated for Phase 2 of Expedition 12K.

Alpha 1
Kindergarten, Kampung Terian, with Jayne and Lisa
Ruben, Tom, Ciucci, Al, Anna, Dionne, Laura, Becky, Richard, Sarah and James

Alpha 2
Gravity water feed, Kampung Nuguh, with Erin, Simon and John
Jamie, Yie May, Theily, Noah, Veerle, Cosmo, Coral, Kitty, Lara and Ben

Alpha 3
Water tank construction, Danum Valley, with Keval, Angharad and Komal
Matt, Kenly, Stuart, Jon, Iona, Lucy, Steffi, Kate, Maddie and Malcolm
Alpha 4
Biodiversity survey, Pitas, with Emily, Annabel and Andrew
Jake, Hong Kai, Barnaby, Fred, Dewis, Annmarie, Hessel, Meghan, Serene, Dorien, Philippine and Annebel
Alpha 6
Trek/dive, Long Pasia/Mamutik, with Joe and Alex
Sam, Boudewien, Dom, Jelte, Laura, Theijs, Emma, Gemma, San, Wei Wei, James

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Changeover already?!

It feels like only yesterday that the Venturers arrived at KK airport and the Expedition 12K team all set off to Basecamp for the very first time, but three weeks in and we all set off on our way to gather there again. How time flies when you're busy trekking/ diving/ building kindergartens, water tanks and water feed systems and generally having fun!
Alpha 1 were the first to arrive back a day before just in case the roads decided to misbehave again and there was no one to rescue them! They enjoyed their first proper shower with running water in 18 days and their first night of not sleeping on a concrete floor for what seemed like ages.

Matt, Sam, Emma and Iona from Alpha 1 enjoy some down time
Hamed, Sally and Dan, aka the hard-working logs team...
The following morning the other Alpha groups began to return, and everyone was ecstatic to see each other again. After handing all their unbroken equipment and uneaten food back to the logistics team it was time for a well-earned catching up, showering and general lounging around for a few hours. The camp also turned into a veritable Chinese laundry as everyone took advantage of the running water and the sunshine to wash their damp and really rather stinky clothes.


Later that night, each Alpha group performed the skits they'd been asked to create while out on phase. Mainly involving re-enactments of life on phase, what the performances lacked in Oscar-winning calibre, they made up for with lots of singing, dancing, rapping and other interesting props.

Alpha 5 try to ignore Ruben's tummy rumbling while singing their ditty

Theily and Richard bring out their best voices and the rest of Alpha 3 can only bow in wonder

Alpha 6, demonstrating what happens if a camp fire is lit a bit too near the inside of a tarp

The Alpha 1 brigade reveal their best frog impressions....

Alpha 2 attempt to avert their eyes from Nat and Simon's clashing trousers disaster...
 The Fieldbase judging panel of Emily, Mac, Ruth and Hamed took their role extremely seriously and, when it emerged that Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 were the joint winners, they immediately called for a dance-off. After some seriously interesting team formations, Alpha 2 were deemed the overall winners, with their Lord of the Rings-esque tale of their Quest to find the Missing Waterpipe Coupling Ring, followed by the Alpha 2 anthem to the tune of We Will Rock You.

Mac dons his best Simon Cowell hat... although Hamed thinks he's more Craig Revel Horwood...

Alpha 2, the conquering skit heroes
 After a hopefully comfy night's sleep (of course we still got everyone up at 6am though, do they think they're on holiday or something?!) it was time for allocations and everyone to find out where they would be heading next - more on this very soon!
Straight afterwards it was time for everyone to join their new groups, and what better way to get to start new team bonding than by taking part in a Halloween special Raleigh Olympics, organised by the Fabulous Fieldbase team of Emily, Pip and Sally. The Venturers took part in apple bobbing, eating doughnuts with hands tied behind backs and searching for sweets in buckets of flour - all while having copious amounts of water thrown at them by the VMs.

This was followed by the ultimate obstacle course, involving eggs and spoons, a gigantic tarp and, of course, lots and lots of water. There was also a prize for the best Halloween costume, won by Coral and the Alpha 2 team.


Coral (in green) - Best in Show!
 The afternoon was then spent stocking up on wares from the Raleigh shop. Crisps, chocolate, cans, talcum powder and plasters appeared to be the most popular takings, but there were also lots of letters that were handed in that could be making their way to you.
Then it was time to start preparing for the 6am set off the next day before making the most of not having to cook their own dinner for the last time in a few weeks. All in all it was a great few days - extremely busy, but hopefully with some time for relaxing and spending time with new and old friends before starting on the next challenge of a lifetime.