Thursday, 14 March 2013

Alpha 1: Kindergarten - A Venturer's Account

James from Alpha One reflects on his time building a kindergarten and living in a small village in Sabah for Phase One of Raleigh Borneo 13C. 

Alpha One
Fresh and ready in our first week of our community phase, we made huge progress in establishing and installing the structure of the kindergarten. We dug the hols for the supporting posts in record time and got the initial structure up in no time. Unfortunately, due to a local supply shortage and certain health and safety requirements, our labour wasn't in quite as much as we'd have liked in the latter two weeks, but we kept ourselves busy by getting involved with the local community wherever possible.

Lucy and Belle hard at work
Digby carrying cement

As they were in need of a new toilet facility, we dug a new long drop for the village (a huge one) and cemented a canteen in the local school. These were things the local community had wanted to do for a while but never had the capacity so it was great that we were able to help out. Despite this, I think the biggest mark we left on the village was from the cultural interaction through sports and education - particularly with the children.
 
Belle, Digby and Hatty on the radio
Teaching the pre-school and middle school, we gradually saw their English and confidence in us improve. Using a wider range of vocabulary and calling us by our real names rather than Malay descriptions (as translated by our Malaysian Volunteers). By the last week we really felt like we'd left a positive print on their lives and although we were sad to leave, we know the next phase group will give them just as much as we have and like us will learn and gain from them in return.
 
Connor, Rob and James dancing at the farewell party
By James Bryer

11 comments:

John Bryer said...

To James Bryer
Hey James. Just read your blog giving summary of your 1st phase. Well written son! Great photo of you dancing - didn't know you could move like that!
It was fab talking to you on phone. I'm wondering what your next phase is?
Its snowing & sunny here - very confusing! Bella (the real one) misses you with her fake snarls!
Keep looking out for our Comments!
Love u loads. Dad xxx

Anonymous said...

Message for Bjorn van Dijkman,Alpha 6

Ha Bjorn,

Hoe is het? Wat een excitement zeg in de jungle. Nog bosjesmannen (inbreng Isa) of bloedzuigers tegengekomen? Ik hoorde van Yvonne al een beetje hoe het gaat. Het geluid van de apen in de jungle vond ik geweldig. Een en al levendigheid. Heb je lekker geslapen in je hangmat? Ziet er leuk uit je groep.Enjoy your stay!

Liefs Diana, Isa en Adriane xxx

Charlotte Jones said...

To James Bryer, 13C Alpha One.
Heyy Jamesy!!
Eeeeep!! I’ve just read to the blog you wrote about Phase one! It’s so well written- and sounds absolutely incredible... happyface!! and i’ve seen a photo of you dancing in front of the little kids at the farewell party! Eeeep I wish I could be there with you Jamesy!!
I cant stop thinking about our phone calls the other day! It was so so perfect to hear your voice again, and to hear about some of the things youve been getting up too, eeep! They’ve motivated me so so much to carry on trying my bestest, and to push through this last bit of college before the summer! (which is going to be ‘awesome possum’, and we’re going to have such an amazing time together doing so many amazing things and aaaaaaaaaaaaaahh I’m so so SOOOOO excited!!) I’ve told all my friends about the kindergarten you’ve been building, and teaching in the schools- and they’ve all said how amazing it has sounds, and that they are so happy to hear youre having such a good time!! :D
Still waiting to hear back from Rambert- should be hearing any time soon... aaaah nervous! And OOOOOO! We started our 15 hour textiles exam today..hahaaa I managed to dye my hands, forearms AND feet a lovely bluey/ green colour.. it looks like I’m turning into the incredible hulk or something hahaa!! We also had our mock- solo exam for dance at college yesterday! There were only a couple of things she picked up on for improvements (just a couple a placing’s for my feet that I need to work on), but she said apart from that I have nothing to worry about, and she seemed really happy with it! Eeep Jamesy I was so so happy!! :D The actual exam is near the end of April, eeeep hopefully it’ll all go okay!! :D
And eeeep! Your video has gone up to 945 views Jamesy!! I’m so so proud of you! Em was telling me about how her and George were face-timing the other day, singing your songs to each other...awwwh!! :D
Thinking of you constantly jamesy, and missing you so so soooo much <3
I love you with all the love in the world, your Char xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Y A M
Naveed
It was very good to hear your voice after such a long time I am very happy that you are enjoying on helping with the project. We are very proud of you and I'm looking forward to talking to you again soon everyone sends their love Take Care
DAD

Anonymous said...

For Emily Kelly Alpha 1
Hi Emily,
Great to hear from you and soooo glad trekking went well. Hope you've settled well into your next project and your embracing it with enthusiasm. Still cold here and it's even raining cold rain now so all is going well. Alice is off to Birmingham today as she has her cross country tomorrow. Lets hope she doesn't trip like last year. We're going to venture up there but not until tomorrow. She's insured on the car for a bit and whilst driving along Day Pootle's Lane I laughed all the way remembering when you saw Jim and propmtly drove into the hedge! Oh well, looking forward to your letter and now for some more decorating. How exciting! Lots of love, mum xxxxx

Anonymous said...

To Lou Hake Alpha 2

Hi Lou, Sorry for the silence this end...hope D & E have sent you messages. It was so lovely to hear your voice on Sunday, best Mother's Day pressie. We had nice lunch at Prezzo, with free prosecco (I'm used to the real stuff myself but we made do!). Have been thinking about you enjoying the luxuries at base camp, assuming you have now left. Margaret and Moira loved the pics and full of admiration for what you are doing. Chris House called and was pleased to hear all your news. It's been busy week, and cold, 2 days of snow, but now just wind !! Hope the parcel arrives ok. Thinking of you lots, love you lots too . Mum xxxxxxx

mum and dad said...

Ellen Peacock borneo
hi ellen
It was brilliant to talk to you last week.
We think we can get money to you and change flights but need to have a better idea what date you want to come back and be sure we can pick you up on that day.
cant wait for more news about what your upto. miss and love you lots mum dad tom and dan xxxxxxxx

David Lord said...

To Hatty Lord Alpha 5

It was great speaking to you last weekend - you sounded so happy and excited about the next phase. Shame that you have parted company with some good friends made in Alpha 1 but you will catch up with them again between phases and at the end. I have become an iPad widower as Mum spends most of her spare time looking at the Raleigh blog !
Building a bridge across a ravine sounds quite a challenge and a little risky - be careful won't you? I am really jealous of you diving in the next phase - my little girl experiencing one of the best dive spots in the world when I have got to be satisfied with the Red Sea at the beginning of April!! Love you loads and I am proud of you. Dad xxxxf

Lara said...

To Asher Spencer Alpha 2

Hey Ash,

How's it going?! So damn jealous. I'm just back from Cam, with two months hard work ahead before exams...yay. But, 21st soon! Hope everything's going well, mum said she'd spoken to you a few times and everyone sounds awesome - hopefully I'll catch you when you're back before I head off to Nepal in the summer :)
Looking forward to a whole holiday with sole monopoly over the Xbox.
Miss you bro, can't wait to swap travel stories,
La

Anonymous said...


Hi Naveed this is another message. I am sure you are doing very well. All the hard work you do there makes such a big difference to the people. We are very proud of you. Well done. Will Blog you later. Lots of Love Xxx Yasu Fui