Saturday, 23 February 2013

Raleigh Olympics 2013

Two events, two different winners, three Venturer accounts.

Welcome to 13C's Raleigh Olympics.  Held over two days with Delta’s 3,6 & 9 competing on Saturday 16th followed by Delta’s 1,2,4,5,7 and 8 on Sunday 17th

Starting off Raleigh Olympics 13C

Connor, Ireland (Delta 9)
With three full days of Raleigh induction nearly behind us, friendships formed and teams settled Saturday marked the day when things got competitive: it was time for the Raleigh Olympics...

Delta three
Three of the leanest, meanest, most athletic Delta teams in the history of Raleigh Borneo, stood poised at the starting line: Delta 9, Delta 6 and Delta 3. All that stood between us and that elusive finish line now was a pole, a few baskets of water and the team leaders. Needless to say, it was tense.
“Three! Two! One!” 
Beerend the Bear
Off we went. First ahead was Beerend the Bear of Delta 9. Beerend the Bear leading the way as fast as a bullet, racing on and then SPLASH! With Beerend’s spectacular slip to the ground, the attention quickly turned to Delta 6. Tom ‘the tree’ Beton was speeding ahead in the obstacle course. With 6’2ft of man power behind him, victory was in sight for Delta 6’s Tom until, SPLASH!!
Race to the finish
A tragic loss of balance knocked Tom to the watery ground, giving Delta 3 their chance to narrow the gap. SPLASH! So close, yet so far; Rosie splashed to the ground after being hit by two buckets of water. Delta 6 won the obstacle course for speed, Delta 9 for amount of water saved.

Next up was a bucket pouring challenge that was a victory for Delta 9 

Pass the bucket race
However, it was with the final challenge that things really came to a head. 
The challenge was to push Raleigh’s 4x4 vehicle (Bravo 3) along the road and across the finish line in a flash. The timings were so close it was nearly impossible to tell who won. Eventually it was determined that – with just half a second difference between them and Delta 9, Delta 6 had won the Bravo challenge.

Delta three pushing the Bravo
The crowd erupted into cheers, giving way to a water fight (started by PMs Barry and Ian). It was a fantastic Raleigh Olympics.”

Water fight
The next night (Sunday 17th) at 5pm, the second Raleigh Olympics with Delta's 1,2,4,5,7 & 8 was introduced by 13C’s very own Deputy Country Manager, Joseph (with support from comperes, Mike and Sarah B) 

PM Mike prepping for the Splashathon

Fran, from Jersey (Delta 7)

Delta seven

“Forget London 2012, it’s all about Raleigh 13C! You think Usain Bolt was impressive, imagine 10 18-23 year olds pushing one of the Raleigh Bravos (4x4 Land Rover),50m after a desperate sprint. Yes it really was that impressive! 

Delta eight Bravo push

The Raleigh Olympics has definitely been a highlight of our induction period, the camaraderie and teamwork we had strengthened over the past few days came into play immediately.
Prior to the Bravo run was a four legged race (yes you read that correctly!). 

five legged race
The pressure was constantly rising and as we entered the final stage of the competition, winning was on everyone’s minds. Being drenched as we attempted to run with cups of water after being spun around ten times really was as fun as it sounds, plus was a welcome cooling off from our usually ‘sweaty situation’. 

Now, it’s time to just sit tight and wait for the results – may the best team win... (Delta 7 obviously).”

Nathan, from Ascot (Delta 2)
Delta two
“It was 17:00 and time for the Raleigh Olympics. Everyone was super excited and my team, Delta 2, were ready to go. The first event was the five legged relay. After a lot of falls and a lot of cheering Delta 5 came in first and Delta 2 were nowhere to be seen, finishing in last place due to a wardrobe malfunction. 
Delta five
Picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off, we were ready for the next event; the Bravo Push. The event basically entailed each team pushing a 4x4 (called Bravo 3) 50m in the quickest time. 

Delta one
After Delta 1’s valiant effort, it was our turn. Because our last event went so badly, we really wanted to show what we were made of. We got onto the start line and then we were off, each team member sprinting as fast as we could. We got to the van quickly and started pushing as hard as we possibly could. With our legs burning and everyone sweating profusely, we made it to the finish line only a second too late!

Sprint finish
Not deterred, the next event was the splashathalon. Essentially this was each team running around a pole 10 times and then carrying water, being careful not to spill it, whilst the PMs threw water at us – in a relay fashion.

After a tense race, Delta 2 finally won through an imaginative approach to splashathon rules.
Delta eight
All in all everyone had an awesome time and got totally soaked - but that was the best bit as it is so hot here, you could melt.”

As you can probably tell from our Venturer accounts, the Raleigh Olympics (on both nights) has been a massive highlight of the Induction period, so I hope you enjoyed their reports.

And the winners were...

Delta 9

Delta nine

and Delta 4

Delta four
and finally the gamesmakers

PM gamesmakers

Congratulations all who took part and thanks for making it an excellent 13C Raleigh Olympics

Friday, 22 February 2013

Phase One Project Allocations!!!

Induction is over and the allocations for phase one have been arranged. The groups have said goodbye to their Delta groups and are now getting to know their new Alpha groups,  settling into their new homes and getting to grips with their projects.

Awaiting the allocations announcement
In true Raleigh fashion, the new groups quickly burst into rounds of name games to introduce one another and learn a little bit more about everyone. 

Enjoying a game of Evolution
This hour was then followed by sessions led by each groups Project Managers including: vital information about life on the project and cultural awareness; an introduction to the tools and equipment that each group will be taking with them to their new sites; bag packing; organising food and group kit; and an opportunity to look at the personal development journals that will chart the Vs and VMs journey through the various phases and projects.

In the evening, we had a talk from Floyd, one of our local guides, who gave everyone a fascinating insight into life in the local communities, malaysian customs and practices and more information about the culture and history of the Sabah. It was then an early night as the next morning everyone was up early (4.30 am) to have breakfast, load up the transport and depart from basecamp at 6am.

Food glorious food!! Rachel, Emma and Lucy getting
excited about Raleigh Rations!
It has been brilliant seeing how engaged and excited all the groups have been with their new allocations and already the barriers between people are coming down. The PM’s are excited, the Venturers are excited and it is all coming together, which is exactly what this introductory period has been all about.
The groups for phase one are as follows:
Alpha one: Kindegarten at Kampung Bonor Sook

Christi (Belle), Jia Hui Lee, Daniel H, James,
Lucy, Robert, Digby, Josefin, Hatty, Connor
and Beerend.
PM's Jude, Alyrene, Natalie and guest PM Jo (Comms)
Update: Alpha One have arrived in Kampung Bonor Sook where they were met and welcomed by the villagers. They have spent the last couple of days getting settled in to their new home and are now busy digging the holes for the foundations of the kindergarten
Alpha two: Gravity Water Feed at Kamung Bulud Batu
Vinnie, Andrew, Dwana, Alexandra, Caterina, Jacob,
 Sjoerd, Nicolien, Sabine, Sam  B and Hugh.
PM's Lou, Johnny and Connor
Update: Alpha two have arrived in Kampung Bulud Batu and have been busy preparing to start work on their gravity water feed. As well as making their accommodation homely they have been busy setting up their radio so they can keep in touch with field base and work is well underway on clearing a helicopter landing site just outside the village.
Alpha three: Gravity Water Feed at Kampung Pinapak

Jeremy, Naveed, Aaron, Rekvenlye, Josephine, Louis,
Rebecca, Joanna, Clara, Enrique and Holly.
PM's Kat, Ali and Xenia
Update: Alpha three have been busy with their Alpha group making the school hostel a real home from home. They have also met with their project partner the Asian Forestry Commission (AFC) and the head of the village (KK) to discuss their project. They are now getting down to work carrying in the piping and gravel essential for building the gravity water feed.

Alpha four: Rebuilding Raleigh Cabin in Danum Valley

Chelsea, Steven L, Alfred, Mitchell, Fenella, Jack,
 Jacob, Dido, Isobel, Yixin and Lewis.
PM's Mike, Kate and Sarah M
Alpha four have arrived in Danum Valley and have set to work clearing and setting up camp at Manjaris. As well as meeting the project partners to discuss the projects and plan the work for phase 1, they have also found time to do some trekking in the beautiful Danum rainforest.

Alpha five: Imbak Canyon Suspension Bridge build
Emma, Nigel, Rex, Duco, Rachel C, Liselot, Lucy, Anna,
 Peter, Max and Thomas.
  PM's Ali, Rachel P and John
Update: To date, Alpha five have mainly been based at Rangers camp in Imbak, getting to know the rangers and organising the first phase's work plan. They have however already trekked through to the BBC camp a number of times, taken in all of their group and personal kit and got their bashers set up asw they will be based there for the rest of the phase

Alpha six: Biodiversity research project in Coupe 1, Pitas region

Harry, Scott, Rolex, Elfira, Natasha, Isobel, Rosemary,
 Bjorn, Caspar, Freddie and Asher.
Ian, Bec and Harriet
Update: Alpha six have arrived in the Pitas region and have trekked their kit and food into their camp where they have quickly settled in. They have been briefed by their guides and have started training on trapping and monitoring of the wildlife in the area.

Alpha seven: Trek - Dive Mamutik Island and Long Pasia 

James, Jason, Corinth, Francesca, Eline, Emma, Joost,
Nathan, Salman and Christian.
PM's Sarah B and Fred
Update: After a busy day in the classroom Alpha seven took the boat over to Mamutik Island where they are taking their dive course. The group have completed their first round of dives and have been cooking up Italian meals from their Raleigh rations in the evening.

Alpha eight: Trek - Dive Long Pasia and Mamutik Island

Daniel B, Erwin, Sabrina, Carlijn, Zihan, Daan, Catriona,
 Emily, Thomas, Charles and Morgan.
PM's Kris, Beth and Refat
Update: Alpha eight travelled down to the very South of Sabah and have started their trek from the village of Long Pasia. They are putting into practice the jungle skills they learned at inductions, putting up basher’s, cooking their Raleigh rations on open fires and trekking.

Alpha nine: Trek - Dive - Trek Tudan Mengkaladom Trail, Mamutik Island and Kiulu Valley

Shai, Steven C, Shirley, Myra, Sam C, Nicky, Hendrik,
Ellen, Alex, Tom and Kathryn.
PM's Barry and Nat
Alpha nine have headed off to the Kinabalu mountain range to start on their adventure phase. Since they arrived they also have been busy putting their jungle skills training into action and are quickly getting to grips with setting up camp after a days trekking.

We are speaking to each of the groups twice daily on the radio and so will be posting regular updates on their progress, with photos whenever we can get hold of them!

As mentioned previously, before leaving basecamp everyone took part in the event of the year, Raleigh Olympics! More on that to follow...

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

13C Venturer Induction


Apologies for our brief absence, we've all been out of the office for the last few days at Base Camp completing the Venturer induction. I am pleased to confirm that the Venturers ALL arrived safe and sound in KK on Thursday and we have been keeping them very busy from the moment we met them at the airport.

Organising the group of 98 into Delta groups (the nine groups assigned for the induction training phase), we quickly ensured that everybody got to know each other with a series of name games and ice breakers. If that wasn’t enough, we also took everyone straight to Likas swimming pool for their swim assessment – and a chance for a refreshing dip following what for many was a long flight.
After the assessment and lunch we headed in convoy to Basecamp which is located an hour north of KK . Upon arrival we were welcomed by an amazing singing and cultural dance performance from the Host Country Venturers (HCVs) who had arrived at Basecamp the day before to get settled in and help the out with some last minute preparations. 

Our HCV's performing their welcome song and dance...

...watched by our International Venturers
It was a really great welcome to Borneo for the fresh faced Venturers. Conscious of the time, the Project Managers (PMs) and HCVs assisted the new group in setting up their bashas and mozzi nets before 'longs o’clock' - the mosquitoes come out in force at dusk so at 6pm every day so we put on long clothes and socks to prevent bites. As most of the Venturers were tired from their flights, dinner ande welcome speeches were followed by an early night and their first night at Basecamp.
The bashers
Setting up mossie nets
On Friday the Delta groups were all thrown into a full programme of activities with Delta’s one, four and seven the first to trek into the jungle. Before their trek, the groups were given sessions in packing appropriately, using trangias and jungle campcraft (a session which covers everything from how to dig a long drop and waste disposal, to making a basha using tarp, a hammock and LOTS of knots.



Whilst the first three groups went straight into the jungle, the other six delta groups were allotted one hour round robin training sessions throughout the day as we have a full programme of events to get through during the four day induction.
This full schedule starts every day with a porridge breakfast at 7am, followed by team building games; either an admin and ID photo session; medic sessions – one to ones; health and hygiene, basic life support and how to cope with a medical emergency and medical kit training; a comms session about the Endex pack (slideshow DVD, music video, magazine and expedition T-Shirt - as designed by one of the Venturers), Radio Raleigh and the blog; a navigation and tools session; river assessment and crossing sessions; and not forgetting the two very important radio training sessions where the Venturers learn how to put up a dipole and communicate with Fieldbase using the radios (something they will be doing twice a day, every day, whilst out on phase).

There has been a lot to get through and it may sound intense - as it has been - but it has also been broken up with lots of team building and games.

As I am lucky enough to have met and spoken with every single one of the venturers during my comms sessions, I have used the time to get their input for the next section of this blog entry. I assured them that their friends and family back home would be eager to hear how they are getting on so please do follow the instructions on the right and leave them a comment.

They are sweaty, VERY sweaty. On top of the heat some have also been feeling tired and jet lagged as they acclimatise to their new setting. Fortunately, the Venturers are enjoying their time at Basecamp with its chilled out and timeless charm. They have described it as a beautiful green space, with lots of trees, where you can really see the stars. They even said it was luxury compared to what they imagined, particularly the static bashas where the Delta groups are arranged in rows. However, the jungle noises –including the PMs and fellow Venturers’ snoring and sleeping habits – have been something to get used to, but despite all this everyone seems to be enjoying eating, sleeping and being part of a culturally diverse group of people.
They have described Borneo and their experiences of Raleigh so far as amazing. The weather has been described as incredible (particularly compared to the UK!) and they have enjoyed induction and playing crazy games to break the ice which have been a good laugh and fun.

Much like the Venturers’ attitudes towards porridge, the first trek had people divided in feeling. Many were excited about trekking and about living out of a bag, sleeping in a new camp everyday and being challenged; but for others the trek was something daunting and unknown that left them feeling a bit nervous. That said, as I write this on day four with most of the groups now back from their first night in the jungle, I can confirm that whilst it was a lot of hard work they generally all came back from their treks with smiles on their faces, chanting Delta specific songs and feeling a lot better having actually experienced it.

They are proud of themselves and each other for getting here after their hard work and fundraising and are making the most of being a team and learning to work with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. One Delta group in particular wanted you to know that the Venturers are taking responsibility for themselves and their group- washing up/three bowling, putting their mozzi nets up, electing a day leader every day, being punctual to sessions and they expressed a great sense of accomplishment in relation to this and the other challenges the training sessions presented. Furthermore, following the PM’s great project briefing presentations on both Friday and Saturday evenings there is a real feeling of excitement about the projects and upcoming allocations across the group as the projects were brought to life.

Induction has not just been busy for the Venturers but also the Volunteer Managers who have been delivering the sessions, assisting with jungle campcraft and generally being on hand day and night. The Volunteer Managers have been described by their Delta groups as energetic, welcoming, enthusiastic, positive, approachable, fun, motivating, smiley and funny. Knowing how much work has been put into training for this Expedition, it has been such a fantastic couple of days seeing everything coming together.

There has been another key element of the last few days induction (in addition to the grand opening of Helen’s Treat Emporium – the Basecamp shop set up by our Finance Queen, Helen) and that is the Raleigh Olympics! As this event has been absolutely outstanding this year, I felt it would be better explained by two of our Venturers. Keep an eye out for that post as much like the event, it is not one to be missed!
Also coming up soon... allocations!!!