Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Loop visit Alpha One

Sunset in Bonor Sook
We started with a comfortable journey down to Keningau on tarmac, but were then confronted with a long and winding road through the heart of palm oil plantations. After two hours of enjoyable off-roading under a sweltering sun we arrived at Kampong Bonor Sook, the home of Alpha 1. 

We jumped out of the car to be welcomed by a choir of schoolchildren, who announced our arrival in style with a traditional song, along with the Venturers and Project Managers Beth, Jude and Ian. It was a truly unexpected moment and one that will always remain with us.
Alpha 1 singing

After a rendition of “Guide thee my Great Redeemer” sung by Alpha 1 (with some unexpected harmonizing from Freddie, El, Corinth and Fiona) to welcome us further into the Community Hall, we snacked on popcorn and caramelised nuts whilst we were shown around the kindergarten building site. We had to walk all of two steps to arrive at the worksite from their sleeping quarters…. what luxury!

The school was really taking shape now: All the frame of the building had been completed, the roof was on, and the supports for the floor were ready and waiting for boards to be laid. Very impressive considering all the challenges that have been met (and overcome) so far.
Alpha 1 at the radio
To cool off after an extremely hot day driving the Bravo, we were escorted down to the river where we had the most enjoyable experience of washing off the dirt of the day, alongside absolutely manic kids from the village who found everything we did hilarious! Was great to play volleyball with Peter, Eva, Daniel, Elfira and the children. We definitely needed to chill out back at the community hall after all that mayhem though.

Bonor Sook is a delightful Kampung situated in the Keningau region of Sabah, with the Kampung (village) on small hills surrounding a football pitch, on which the locals play on a nightly basis. We had the pleasure of watching a local Derby that evening between the neighboring Kampong. However so many goals were scored we lost count!
Sleeping quarters

Dinner that evening consisted of a duo of pizzas, each meticulously made, followed by a beguiling combination of pineapple, peanuts and stir-fried rice.  It was a taste sensation Sabah style – all created by our two head chefs Caspar and Charlie, with help from Chelsea and the rest of Alpha 1.

Finally Nathan hosted a round of ‘Would I Lie to You’, with team captains Steven and Freddie. He did an excellent job of comparing what was a crazy affair, but one full of laughter and of course very full stomachs from all the meals that came before. We rolled into our sleeping bags soon after for a welcome nights sleep in a peaceful Bonor Sook.

Progress so far


Bryan Stokes said...

To Chelsea Simon Alpha 1
Just a quick HELLO from everyone here at Fairbridge. We have been following your adventure through the Raleigh Borneo updates. It all looks like an amazing experience and there is such a mix of people for you to get to know too! Hope you have a Happy Easter J and a little birdy told us it’s your birthday next week too, so Happy Birthday! Enjoy every moment and we can’t wait to see you when you return. Take care. Love Dianne and everyone here at Fairbridge xxxx
From all at Fairbridge Village.

It has been really encouraging to see the work you are doing over in Borneo. I really hope you’re having a lot of fun and making the most of the opportunity. It’s not often people get invited to things like this and even more lucky you were even sponsored through the generosity of people funding the trip for you.
A lot of the teachers coming in with the schools over the last month or so have all been asking where you are (because they all enjoyed you running the activities for them last year). They all want to hear the stories and have been really excited after I have told them where you have been going. Hope you can stick out the last few weeks and make the most of the opportunity you have. You probably will never get the opportunity again for a trip like this so enjoy it and make the most of it. I am sure the people you are supporting over in Borneo are really blessed having you there and are appreciating the effort you have been putting in to give them all these new facilities. Looking forward to all the stories you probably have when you get back at the end of April. From Scott

Wanda said...

For Caspar van Doremalen, Alpha 1

Hey handsome!<3

Eindelijk een post over alpha 1! Dat heeft lang geduurd, volgens mij ga je al weer bijna naar de changover. Wel fijn om weer eens iets te horen! :) Helaas geen goede foto van jou though. Ik zie wel dat je haar er nog steeds af is. *zucht* Daar zal ik erg aan moeten wennen haha! (ik heb je moeder overigens beloofd dat het weer normaal is als we je ouders weer zien in Vietnam. Dus. ;P)

Ik heb vandaag weer een brief op de post gedaan, van 4 kantjes! Goed he? :D Weet jij ook een beetje wat ik allemaal uitspook hier in Haarlem.

Vandaag (30 maart) zijn we trouwens 7 maandjes samen, ik vraag me af of je daar aan gedacht hebt. Probably not haha. Maar toch gefeliciteerd! <3


Guy van Doremalen said...

Message for Caspar, Alph 1

Hoi Cas,

Leuk om weer wat over jullie groep te lezen. We kijken hier iedere dag weer of er nieuwe foto's of berichten te zien zijn. Geweldig project, het bouwen van de school. Ziet er erg indrukwekkend uit! Lijkt mij een geweldige ervaring om op deze manier de dorpsbewoners te helpen. We kregen een paar dagen geleden je brief waarin je schreef over de dove man. Victor was helemaal enthousiast. Hier is het vandaag eerste paasdag. En het sneeuwt! je houdt het niet voor mogelijk. Jij zit dar in 25 graden en hier is het maar net boven nul! Maar het zal nu toch wel snel opknappen... De zomer staat al bijna voor de deur....
Jij gaat straks aan de trek beginnen en aan het duiken. Ik ben heel benieuwd. Heb je al veel foto's gemaakt? Zou leuk zijn om er een paar deze kant op te sturen.
Enfin, we zien wel.
Heel veel groeten en geniet volop!
Dag, papa.

Stephen Hodge said...

To Peter Hodge Alpha 1

I didn't know you could sing!

Daddy x

Stephen Hodge said...

For Peter Hodge Alpha 1

P.s. love the bog brush hair!

Daddy x

Bryan Stokes said...

Hey Chelsea,

I heard Bryan was getting some messages together for Easter for you so am delighted to be able to send you a message. We are all so proud of you being over there on this adventure and helping other people less fortunate than yourself at the same time. You are really brave to go on such a trip and I’m sure you are learning something new every day.
So how’s it going? I wondered if some days you got a bit scared or homesick as you are so far from home and that would be pretty natural I reckon. If you do feel a bit overwhelmed some days just try and think calm and take each day as it comes , one step at a time is all you need to do.

Bryan mentioned you are soon to go on your adventure trek and diving tour – that should be pretty amazing. When he mentioned the dive trip – I thought I wanted to share something with you that I remembered. When I did my PADI course a long while ago over on the Great Barrier Reef, my first proper dive was a bit of a nightmare – there was low visibility, it was very choppy and the dive guy had’nt checked my weights (which they usually do for the first one) so there weren’t enough weights on me so I kept popping up to the surface like a cork thinking “what am I doing back up here when I want to be down there!” One of the dive guy s called Buddy didn’t help much either (not a good name for him!!!)

I also wasn’t really using my BCD properly so just could not get back down to the seafloor when I wanted to and had no idea what I was doing!….anyway long story short, I was pretty disoriented and did not enjoy that that dive at all so really did’nt feel like carrying on with the course……but even worse for me I HATE to give up on anything! So I just did not know which way to go with it. Luckily the owner of the dive company thought I had it in me to carry on and he talked me into doing the next dive and that said he would be my dive buddy…I pleased that he talked me into carrying on with the course – you know what that dive was really awesome and I got my PADI course and have been diving lots of different places after that and seen some amazing things underwater. I was really pleased with myself afterwards that I just kept going. I just felt I wanted to share that with you as I bet sometimes over there on such a trip you have days where you are unsure what you are doing and doubt yourself. Remember on those days – that one step at a time, just keep going….and you’ll get there.

For what is worth I think you are a pretty amazing person and you are an inspiration to many people back here just for having the courage to go on your trip. I also think you will be a real help in the future to other young people to inspire them to overcome their fears and to keep going when they are unsure of what to do and prove to them that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.

Bryan says that it is also your birthday on April 8th so I hope you have an incredible day over there – this may be the only time you get to spend your birthday in such an amazing and unique place – I’m sure everyone there will make sure you have a good time.

Keep safe and look forward to seeing you when you get back in a few weeks – that time will fly so enjoy every minute!

Like that other lady said in her e mail …… GO GIRL!!

Carol said...

To PM's Beth (Alpha 1) & Nat (Alpha 9)

Happy Easter from what feels like the deep arctic and apparently the coldest winter in over 50 years – I wish I was there and not just because of the weather. I’m hooked and get my fix by reading the blogs twice a week and can’t wait to catch up with you both when you get home and to live it myself this time next year. Enjoy and make the most of the weeks you have left.

“Go team Whiskey” – best wishes to you both and all other volunteer managers and venturers, Carol.

Demi RIdder said...

To Liselot Bekendam ALPHA 1

Heeeee lieverd,
nu weet ik in welke alpha je zit dus kan ik je meteen een berichtje sturen want dan weet ik tenminste zeker dat die aan komt! Als je wisselt van alpha schrijf dat dan in je brief naar je ouders dan is het makkelijker voor mij om berichten te sturen! Ik vond het zoooo leuk dat je belde schat op me verjaardag! Was echt het top punt van me dag! Heel fijn om te horen dat het zo goed met je gaat! Geniet er nog even van, en knallen het 2e deel! Voor je het weet ben je weer hier! Me oom en tante uit mexico komen! Over 2 weken komt eerst me oom en me nichtje en dan in mei komen me tante en neefje! Helemaal leuk dus! waren naar woodstock en daarna chin, echt heel leuk! Met calvin is het helemaal leuk, die was er ook bij met de familie enzo dus meteen goed gekeurd. Zaterdag sliep ik als verrasiing in hotel van oranje met suus (vriendin van fabian). En toen zijn we gezellig uit eten geweest met fabian calf en suus en ik! Was heel gezellig, hij is zo lieffff lies echt! Denk dat jij hem ook heel leuk vind!! Dus als je terug bent mote je hem even snel leren kennen, krijg echt een lief kadootje, armbandje van tiffany en co! Leeeeeuk he?!En gister nog met zn ouders uiteten geweest ook echt hele lieve mensen! Kir en JEan waren ook op woodstock dus super gezellig, nou kleine update hoop dat je er wat aan hebt! Heeeeeele dikke kus, and miss you so much! Nog even knallen daar he! Deem