Friday, 8 February 2013

Allocations (Part3) The Adventure PM's

Selamat pagi! Good morning!

Today the Project Managers (PM’s) will start making their way back to Fieldbase from their various project sites and get on with writing up their essential reports ready for the official start of expedition next week. So before they return, here is a bit more information about Kris our final PM and the adventure phases.

Alpha’s 7 and 8 will be completing a physically demanding trek in the jungles around Long Pa Sia. The area is one of the richest plant diversity sites in Borneo and the people of the area have a rich and interesting history as fierce head hunters. As such this area will be a fascinating place to spend some time as well as being thick and untouched jungle.

The Alpha’s will also be involved in a six day diving programme on Mamutik Island which is in the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Marine Park. The island is mostly uninhabited apart from a few locals that live on the island and day visitors and so we are lucky enough to be able to camp on the island and use a full range of facilities including toilets and showers. Whilst on the island Borneo Divers will run a 3-4 day programme to enable the project teams to complete a certified PADI Open Water Diver course and then one or two days of conservation work. This conservation work will be in partnership with Sabah Parks and Borneo Divers, and will include collecting underwater waste and litter from selected areas within the Marine Park as well as a coral planting project.

Leading both Alphas 7 and 8 at during various phases is Kris.

  • Kris’s heroes are Carl Froch and Bruce Lee. He’s brought boxing gloves and pads with him on this trip for training during his time off and his greatest achievement was completing Royal Marines Training. He’d love to go to Tanzania or India.

Along with Kris, Fred, Sarah B, Sarah M, Sarah J, and Ian will be leading Alpha 7.

Sarah J, Sarah M, Sarah B, Fred, Kris and Ian

And Beth, Refat, Nat, Harriet and Michael will be leading Alpha 8.

Harriet, Michael, Nat, Refat, Kris and Beth

Alpha 9’s trekking will be split across two sites either side of the diving section with Borneo divers – which will follow the same format as Alphas 7 and 8. First of all the group will trek for five days along the Tudan Mengkaladom trail at an altitude of approximately 1500 meters through primary rainforest.

Following a six day diving course, the second trek will be seven days in the Kiulu valley in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu. This area has a great mix of jungle trekking and waterfalls mixed in with small settlements that can be passed en-route.

Leading Alpha 9 through the jungle and assisting on dive island will be Barry, Rachel, Natalie, Fred and Xenia.

Rachel, Barry, Fred, Xenia and Natalie

That takes us to the end of the project allocations. I will be updating you with more in-depth descriptions of the community and environmental projects over the next few days in the run up to the start of expedition so keep an eye open for updates - or sign up for email alerts on the right hand side toolbar.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Allocations (Part2) The Environmental PM's

The Project Manager’s (PM’s) are still out on their initial project sites and having a great time putting plans together with the locals. When they last checked in with us this morning via the radio we were pleased to hear that many groups had been sharing a meal or two with their new neighbours, meeting village officials or playing sports with the children and are all getting very excited about the forthcoming projects.

As I mentioned yesterday, today I will be revealing the PM’s for the three environmental phases and also including a few random facts about each of them to give you a little introduction. As each expedition is broken into three phases, some of the PM’s may have already been mentioned in the community allocations yesterday so don’t be confused if you see their name twice – there are only 26 of them.

Alpha 4 is a camp construction in the remote Danum Valley. This is an area of primary rainforest and we have been working with the rangers there for over 20 years on various projects to help protect the many unique species of flora and forna that live within it. The PM’s for this expedition's project will be Michael, Sarah M, Kate, Barry, Rachel and Kat.

Kat, Michael, Sarah M, Kate, Barry and Rachel

  • Michael secretly loves musicals, rock climbing, salt and vinegar crisps and his hero is Ranulph Fiennes.
  • Sarah M – AKA Major – loves drinking Clipper tea, eating lime pickle on cheddar and anything rugby orientated. Despite temperatures currently being in the 30s out here, Sarah’s luxury item on this trip is her woolly hat.
  • Kate considers the Casio calculator watch to be hands down the best invention in her lifetime. She would like the ability to read minds or to sing as she considers it a super power.
  • Barry is on his second Raleigh project and doesn't embarrass easily – or at least he forgets things fast. He loves his kindle and has brought it with him and if stuck on a desert island it’s all he would need – along with a solar charger.
  • Rachel loves Britain’s Got Talent, her hero is Stephen Fry and her luxury item on this trip is her hair moose (curly hair). She wants to see the world, particularly South America, New Zealand and the Galapagos Islands to name a few.

Alpha 5 is the Imbak Canyon suspension bridge build. This is another area of primary rainforest that Raleigh are lucky enough to work within and we are eager to help achieve better access to the area for researchers and scientists to enable the continuation of their important work there. The PM’s for this project will be Nat, John, Connor, Ali, Sarah J and Refat.

Connor, Sarah J, Nat, Refat, John and Ali

  • Nat adores Haribo and her hero is JK Rowling for giving the world Harry Potter. Her favourite country in is Egypt and she is proud to say she has been inside the pyramids.
  • Ali loves cheesy 70’s disco tunes! Her hero is Bob Dylan, Borneo is her dream travel destination – she is literally living the dream – and organising a green festival in Manchester to promote sustainability is her greatest far.
  • Sarah J – AKA Jacks since coming to Borneo – is heading to the Philippines after the expedition but in the meantime would like to have night vision so she could see her way to the long drop – our jungle training left quite an impression on her. 
  • Refat’s greatest achievement is becoming a Doctor and climbing Kilimanjaro. She loves deserts and Michael Jackson is her hero.

Alpha 6 is a bio-diversity survey in Pitas and this project offers the opportunity for groups to work closely with an Environmental Conservation Specialist to make a plan for better management and therefore better conservation of the area. The PM’s for this project will be Bec, Ian, Harriet, Refat, Kate, Fred and Xenia.

Harriet, Ian, Bec, Refat, Kate, Fred and Xenia

Bec, Ian, Refat, Kate and Xenia have already been mentioned on other projects but...
  • Fred would need a satellite phone if he was stuck on a desert island; he loves trampolining and would like to learn telekinesis. No Diggity by Blackstreet would be the soundtrack to a movie montage of his life. 
  • Harriet’s guilty pleasure is Stargate Atlantis and her greatest achievement so far was being a Games Maker in the London 2012 Olympics. She loves tennis and Raffa Nadal.

Tomorrow I will be revealing the PM's for the adventure phases and telling you some interesting facts about Kris - our last outstanding PM. In the meantime, don't forget to flick through our last few blog entries for more information about our sustainable projects here in Borneo, our fantastic team and what we have been getting up to in the run up to Expedition 13C.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Allocations (Part1) The Community PM's

The Project Manager’s (PM's) are now out on their initial project sites meeting the locals and planning what needs to be done, so I thought you might like to know which of our 26 PM’s will be managing each project.

Over the next three days I will be revealing the PM’s for each of the community, environmental and adventure phases and also including a few random facts about each of them to give you a little introduction. As there are three phases, sometimes the PM’s will be on different sites so don’t be confused if you see their name twice – there are only 26 of them.

Today we will be looking at the three community phases, where we will be working alongside local communities on sustainable projects that will make a huge impact on their daily lives.
(Please bear in mind that these photos were taken after a night in the jungle and a trek back to Basecamp for the allocations and they are still smiling!)

Alpha 1 is building a Kindergarten in the village of Bonor Sook. At present the children of this remote community are being taught in a church hall but there is no permanent facility for education in place. Working alongside the local community on this project will be Jude, Natalie, Alyrene, Ian, Beth and Sarah B.

Natalie, Jude, Ian, Alyrene, Beth and Sarah B
  • Jude would love to be able to fly – probably after her sky diving experience which she considers her greatest achievement. She loves dancing and considers hair mousse (Pantene and Herbal Essences to be precise) to be the greatest invention of her lifetime.
  • Natalie’s greatest achievement was being silent for five days and dreams of a meditation trip in the Himalayas and time travel.
  • Alyrene LOVES Walkers salt and vinegar crisps – they are her guilty pleasure, her luxury item on the trip, the best invention of her lifetime and unsurprisingly, her favourite flavour crisp. They no doubt also fuelled her climb to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro.
  • Ian’s luxury items on this trip are two roll mats and a pillow. He completed a part-time MBA over four years and he would love to go white water rafting or canoeing at the Grand Canyon.
  • Beth had been at Fieldbase for just two days before Loli’s banana fritters became her new guilty pleasure, which is good as she didn’t have enough room to fit any luxury items in her bag for this trip. She loves most sports – aside from horseracing, snooker and darts.
  • Sarah B dreams of mountains yet to climb and clear waters to dive in, sandy beaches to lie on and rivers to kayak down. Her hero is her wonderfully positive and charismatic friend Laurence Pollinger whose positivity and determination inspires her daily.

Alpha 2 is the Gravity Water Feed in the village of Bulud Batu. At present the community are relying on rain water collection and have no main water source available. Consequently, the aim of this project is to provide Bulud Batu with clean, drinkable water. Leading this life changing project will be Lou, Jonny, Connor and Bec.

Connor, Bec, Lou and Jonny
  • Lou apparently looks like Mick Hucknell and her worst job was working in a factory packing Mills and Boon books. If she could teleport she would go straight to Mozambique as it’s her dream travel destination.
  • Jonny’s hero is Ranulph Fiennes. If stuck on a desert island he would take a ‘How to build a raft kit’ and his luxury item on this trip is a travel pillow. He loves Formula One and Flaming Monster Munch is his favourite crisps.
  • Connor’s greatest achievement is being an awesome person; his hero is Buddha and would have the Rocky tune as the soundtrack to his life in a movie montage.
  • Bec’s greatest achievement was getting a bronze medallion to be a surf life saver. She would love to travel to Fiji and in a movie montage of her life; Round Here by the Counting Crows would be the soundtrack.

Alpha 3 is a repair, install and complete Gravity Water Feed project in the villages of Pinapak & Boribi. During the first phase we will be returning to a past project in Pinapak and repairing one of Raleigh's original gravity water feed systems and in phases two and three we will move on to Boribi and complete a big instillation of a new system as was started in the last expedition. The PM’s for this project will be Alison, Kat, Xenia, John and Alyrene.

Alyrene, John, Kat, Xenia and Alison
  • Alison’s superpower would be invisibility. She loves dancing, Richard Attenborough and thinks the internet was the best invention in her lifetime. She is really excited about being a PM with Raleigh and her upcoming travels in the year ahead.
  • Kat looks a bit like Kate Middleton mixed with Katy Perry, her guilty pleasure is having two lunches and the theme tune to her life would be Venga Boys, We like to party!
  • Xenia loves cheese (she already misses English, French and Spanish cheese); surfing; Doctor Who and if she had a superpower would make the lyrics of John Lennon’s Imagine come true.
  • John’s luxury item on this trip is Yorkshire tea – arguably the proper stuff, he considers the internet the best invention in his lifetime and loves football.
  • (I already talked about Alyrene in Alpha 1)

So that’s the community PM’s, check in tomorrow for the environmental projects.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Drum 'n' Basecamp

Selamat pagi! Good morning!

So we Volunteer Managers are back from our first weekend in the Borneo jungle. We had an action packed weekend leaving Fieldbase at 7am on Friday and returning yesterday (Sunday) at lunchtime and catching up on some sleep.

Basecamp is lovely. In my opinion it could be packaged up as a jungle retreat. With lots of bamboo, a picturesque river and stunning views on the drive down, there was something very calm about the green space. It was lovely and I think everyone enjoyed the new location for our training. 

Meet the Tango groups:

Tango 1: Sarah M, Sam, Kate, Fiona, Kris, Beth, Bec, Alison, Barry and Refat

Tango 2: Jonny, Ali, Kath, Alyrene, Josh, Harriet, Amanda, Connor, Natalie T, Lou, Fred and Sarah B

Tango 3: Kat, Jude, Jo, Ian, Helen, Nat J, Jodi, Mike, Xenia, John and Sarah J

In our three Tango groups we practiced our radio theory and got to grips with setting up and radioing in; received some great medical training from the medics; carried out safety planning exercises and a river crossing and discussed various emergency protocols. 
Raleigh Rations

With all this training it was essential to keep our bodies hydrated and fueled and so we cooked up a storm with our Raleigh rations on a trangia – I hope the new Venturers like porridge, crackers, noodles and pasta. 

Our pasta was followed by a samba band lesson and the 35 of us sounded quite good by the end of the session - we even mastered stopping all together at the same time. This was the perfect end to the day as everyone really got into it - if you want to have a little glimpse at our evening click the link below for a video clip.

Becoming a samba band in our longs

The bashas
After spending our first night in a row of bashas (jungle beds) with our mosquito nets around us, Saturday was another early start with breakfast at 7am and more medical training from 7.30am. We then received our jungle training from Floyd (Floyd can do anything from forming samba bands to jungle craft and trek guiding). 

He taught us how to use a parang (machete); how to make long drops; communal areas and most importantly our jungle beds – although whilst feeling quite confident with these techniques at the time, after a 2.5hr hike in the midday sun carrying our bags, rations, three bowls, sleeping equipment, radio and communal tarp on a roll (AKA sausage roll) up and down narrow and sometimes slippery terrain, my bed for one, was not quite as good as I’d have liked – and this first attempt definitely took longer than Floyd’s - but I like many, was proud that it stayed up all night and I didn't fall out!

Tango 1: In the jungle

Before bed Floyd gave us a little talk about cultural sensitivities in Borneo and about the Jungle Spirits. Great talk but a little bit scary right before bed as let me tell you the jungle at night is far from peaceful. With the rustling of trees; sounds of branches snapping and falling; birds and insects chattering and the nearby river, there were plenty of distractions but most of us got a few hours before our 5am start to pack it all back up, eat breakfast and hike back to Basecamp for the project allocations. We even made it back with time for a quick dip in the river – which provided much relief to our insect bites.

Tango 3: Post trek cooling off in the river

All in all this jungle training weekend was amazing! It was challenging, action packed and really educational. There’s no doubt about it, the Venturers on the 13C expedition really are in for some great times in Borneo with some absolutely fantastic Project Managers and a really strong Fieldbase team.

Tango 2: at jungle camp

I look forward to revealing the project allocations over the next few days as the PM’s complete their site visits.