Saturday, 16 March 2013

Phase Two Allocations

After a great couple of days at Base Camp for Change Over there was an air of excitement and anticipation in Bamboo Hut as the Venturers eagerly awaited to hear where they would be spending their second phase of Raleigh Borneo 13C.

As the PMs read out the names there were lots of cheers as the new groups formed. With over a hundred venturers some were reunited with friends and others greeted each other for the first time as they began the process of name games and project briefings in preparation for the next three weeks.

And now for the all important allocations:

Alpha One: Kindergarten

The following lucky people will continue with the construction of a kindergarten in the idyllic village of Bonor Sook. As well as the construction work they will be taking preschool and tutoring classes and really getting involved in community life.

Alpha One
Caspar v Doremalen, Charles Auterac, Chelsea Simon, Corinth Richard Lim Lim, Daniel Brenland, Elfira Madikol, Emily Kelly, Eva Hannema, Freddie Aitken, Nathan Gaskin, Peter Hodge, Steven Lit Eang Lo. (PMs: Jude, Ian and Beth.)

Alpha Two: Gravity Water Feed

Raleigh luxury is in store for Alpha Two with a sit down toilet, a beautiful  village and the kindness and hospitality of ‘Aunty’, head woman of Kampung Bulud Batu. As well as getting to know the community and being looked after by Aunty they will continue to pipe water into the village to give all of the villagers access to safe water. 

Alpha Two
Asher Spencer, Mitchell F Wodcke, Catriona Aldrich-Green, Davin Chandra, Eline Sistermans, Harry A Glatman, James M Paton, Morgan N Biggs, Rachel Cox, Sabrina Hoong, Salman Sheikh, Shirley Yun Shen Yeo. (PMs: Jonny, Lou and Helen)

Alpha Three:  Gravity Water Feed

Kampung Boribi will be home to Alpha Three for the next few weeks as they complete a gravity water feed project started by Raleigh last year. They will supply water to an extra 25 houses so all of the villagers have full access to water which is especially important during the dry season when the current rainwater tanks dry out. 

Alpha Three
Alex Williams, Daan v Doormaal, Yixin Bao (Vera), Emma Van Ravels, Erwin Sylvester Joseph, Fiona Bell, Francesca Siodlak, Isobel Robertson, Lewis Wyatt, Natasha O'Sullivan, Rex Francis, Steven M Clegg, Tom Beaton. (PMs: Kat, Alison and John.)

Alpha Four: Maliau Basin

There is an exciting new phase for Alpha Four in Maliau Basin, working on a variety of projects from creating new trails for the Centre's bird and wildlife walk to building gabions (large wire cages filled with rocks) to stabilise the nearby land and protect the laboratory which forms part of the Study Centre.  

Maliau Basin is a designated conservation area, managed by Yayasan Sabah. It is a virtually self contained eco-system consisting of 12 types of pristine forest. It is home to over 30 species of mammals, 270 species of bird and and 80 species of orchid. The Study Centre has been established  to provide facilities for environmental research and education as well as bringing opportunities for eco-tourism.

Alpha Four
Caterina Gregori, Christi Kelly, Digby Parsons, Hendrik Hagedoorn, Hugh Birley, Jason Scott Morison, Joanna Brown, Josephine I Van Steenhoven, Kathryn Barclay, Sam Griffin Beat, Shai Israel, Vynecia Tang. (PMs Mike and Rachel.)

Alpha Five:  Imbak Canyon

Imbak Canyon was the setting for ‘Expedition Borneo’ and a stunning place to live and work. The venturers will spend lots of time trekking through the rainforest as they work on building a suspension bridge. As well as lots of hard work they will have time to relax in the beautiful waterfall by their camp.

Alpha Five
Joost Weimar, Alexandra Cooper, Daniel Razlan Husni, Dwana Andrew, Hatty Lord, James Bryer, Naveed Rajan, Nicky Blom, Sam Church, Vincent Oconnor, Zihan Zhou. (PMs Ali T, Connor and Sarah Jacks.)

Alpha Six: Biodiversity

This is the perfect project for wildlife fans as the group will be monitoring and discovering the creatures living in the jungle surrounding them. With early morning treks to set the traps and night time frog monitoring they will see some of the most beautiful species in Borneo. There’s also a chance to get their hands dirty with a new construction project starting this phase.

Alpha Six
Andrew Lew, Christian Cassar, Ellen Peacock, Holly Carver, Jacob Bunday, Jeremy Legge, Jia Hui Lee, Josefien Nijholt, Robert Donat, Sjoerd W van As, Thomas Ashford. (PMs: Bec, Kate and Refat.)

Alpha Seven: Dive, Trek

Starting the phase on Mamutik Island Alpha Seven will learn to dive in the South China Sea. For those who already have a diving qualification they can take the next PADI course to improve their skills. After they have dived and relaxed on the island they will complete a challenging twelve day trek to the village of Long Pasia; carrying all of their kit and rations with them this really is an adventure.  

Alpha Seven
Anna George, Beerend Salomons, Daniel Lach, Fenella Knox, Jacob  Magalhaes, Lucy Twisleton, Max Sheldon, Bj√∂rn v Dijkman, Nicolien Kloppert, Rek, Will Welch. (PMs: Sarah M and Sarah B.)

Alpha Eight: Trek, Dive

Alpha Eight begin their phase trekking for eleven days through the jungle to the village of Long Pasia in the South of Sabah. They will be sleeping in the jungle in bashas as they set up camp every night putting their jungle skills to good use. As a reward at the end of the long trek they spend the end of the phase diving on Mamutik Island.

Alpha Eight
Aaron Tay, Alfred Lee, Andrew Tinkler, Emma Race, Isabel FitzGerald, Jack Robertson-Macleod, Jonathan Ham, Liselot Bekendam, Louis Coster, Lucy Shell, Rosemary Rich, Thomas Selby. (PMs: Kris and Harriet.)

Alpha Nine: Trek, Dive, Trek

A real mixture of trekking and diving for this adventure phase as Alpha Nine begin with a jungle trek in the Kinabalu mountain range. Mastering jungle skills including setting up camp, carrying their kit and cooking the Raleigh rations they will then spend a few days on Mamutik Island. Mamutik is referred to here as Dive Island as this is where they have the opportunity to dive in the South China Sea. Then it’s back to the jungle to continue using those jungle skills for the second half of the phase. 

Alpha Nine
Clara Rehder, Connor Hogan, Dido Visser, Duco O ten Haven, Enrique Perezyera, Guy Weatherhead, Nigel X Choy, Rebecca Reilly, Rolex Joseph, Sabine E van Ameyde, Sarah Greener. (PMs: Fred, Nat and Xenia.)

Everyone is settling in really well to Phase Two already and we’ll be sending lots of updates about their progress over the next few weeks.

This phase Fiona our photographer will be out visiting the three community projects and taking photos for the Endex magazine and end of expedition photo DVD. Similarly, I (Jo) will be visiting Imbak Canyon and Alpha three’s gravity water feed to collect information for the blog and magazine.  

Like the last phase there will also be a group from the Fieldbase team completing a loop of our static project sites in the second week. This is always a great opportunity to take the Venturers and PMs their post and blog comments so please do keep adding your comments to the posts as we will endeavor to get them to the named person ASAP – as they LOVE hearing from you. 

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

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Alpha 4: Danum Valley - Venturer accounts

Alpha 4 spent Phase One of Raleigh Borneo 13C in Danum Valley. Read their accounts of life in the jungle...

Trekking into the jungle
As a group we were challenged with many unseen troubles but every moment, every second, every slip and fall was ‘Type Two Fun’ that Alpha 4 will remember forever. Every step through the close jungle and every cup of Milo before curling up to the symphony of the forest - predominantly gibbons, elephants and Alfred snoring. 

There is almost nowhere in the world like Danum Valley and our group feels honoured for the time we were able to spend there. We all hope it never changes and that although we won't go back, that others will get to enjoy its beauty.

We were allowed to assist in a project much bigger than any of our shuttles may have suggested, re-constructing a scientific research cabin deep within primary rainforest untouched for ten years and will be essential for studies of biodiversity.

Ella and Dido in Danum Valley
The WWF estimated that there were approximately 10 rhinos in the area (from an aerial scan) and kindly moved the heaviest materials to Raleigh cabin for us. We were eternally grateful to WWF as we could not have done that alone.

Obviously Danum is part of a much bigger project - the group plan to open a protected 'corridor' between Danum Valley, Imbak Canyon and Maliau Basin to permit wildlife to roam freely between all the areas.

Helping the beginning of the re-construction of Raleigh cabin is essential in helping scientists gain the necessary evidence to support the new planned conservation 'corridor'. Although Alpha 4 weren't able to reach Kyala Buran (Raleigh Cabin) as originally planned, staying in an environment so remote and different from everyday life has really shown us the value of conservation in Sabah. Nowhere is as beautiful and our small step will hopefully have made a large difference for future volunteers, however the project changes over time.

Written by Jacob Mayalhaes:

The Danum Valley project has had its setbacks and its sets of amazing moments. The group was challenged with the task of shuttling supplies for the construction and repair of a scientific observation outpost.

Trekking materials into the valley
Alpha 4's preliminary expedition force was a group laden with hardy folk who's strong will led them 8km into the jungle. They faced wild boars who's only will was to deprive them of their malaria protection - luckily the group were able to help resupply the victims after this loss (and the Raleigh shop at changeover was a blessing).

The rangers that accompanied us were full spirited and extremely pleasant individuals who threw us a lovely karaoke night and cooked us a fry up.
Among the highlights was an amazing waterfall surrounded by the dense primary rainforest. It was this and the spirited camaraderie that made the daily treks and renovations so enjoyable.

Sarah M and Chelsea cooling their feet in the river
Despite having to leave early because of the military presence in Lahad Data, we accomplished more than originally planned and managed to trek all the materials up ‘Hell Hill’ - a 3km upward battle against unsteady footing, heavy packs and the tormenting leeches. Upon re-arriving at our initial camp we found that a group of pigmy elephants had ransacked our camp!

I felt through the best and worst moments that our team prospered and grew, whether it was sharing living quarters, food or the heavy load of our rucksacks.

Raleigh for me was always something I wanted to do to help shape my persona and instil me with better habits and personality traits. After phase one's completion I look back on what I've learnt, the most evident and influential being the appreciation I will retain upon returning to civilisation of many things, the most important being technology, food, communication and sanitation. The zen attitude I developed for eating; ensuring maximum taste and duration of my meals put me in a much better mood.

I look forward to the learning that is still to come but until then, I'll just enjoy the sounds and sights of this beautiful waterfall and the pleasant company and card games with my new close friends.

Hard at work in Danum Valley

The daily routine in Danum Valley - By Lewi Wyatt

The group at work in the jungle

Alfred's alarm would sound at 5.15am and slowly people would emerge for the daily porridge breakfast. Alpha 4 would then pack our rucksacks with the equipment needed to rebuild Raleigh Cabin.

We set out at 7.15am with full packs and the aluminium roofing. Progress up ‘Hell Hill’ was slow and the leeches became just background annoyance.

With iced gems eaten, we unload at the halfway point and make a speedy return to camp for lunch and biscuits.
Admiring the view
A well earned afternoon in the waterfall was a great way to relax and cool off whilst enjoying the most wild landscape I have ever seen.

Dinner at 6.30pm was always looked forward to followed by a mug of Milo before heading to bed at 9.30pm. The remoteness and scenery of Danum Valley will be very missed by Alpha 4.

Quick update from changover

Alpha 10 in Raleigh Olympics

Rosie and Natasha in Raleigh Olympics
The Venturers and PMs are currently on their way to the project sites and treks for Phase Two of Raleigh Borneo 13C.
An extended change over at Base Camp gave everyone time to relax, catch up with friends, do their laundry and get ready for their next adventures.
There was time for lots of fun too with a second Raleigh Olympics, swimming in the river, performing the Phase One Skits and practicing our dance moves.

We’ll be in touch soon with Phase One accounts from the Venturers and will reveal the all important Phase Two allocations.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Raleigh Radio

Whilst we are at Basecamp for changeover and without internet access, Sam from our logistics team thought it would be a good opportunity to tell you a bit more about life at Fieldbase and a big part of that is operating the Raleigh Radio.

Fieldbase radio
Every member of the Fieldbase team takes a 24 hour shift which involves sleeping in the radio room and being on hand during this shift to take calls on the radio and in case of any emergencies. Every Alpha group radios in twice a day; static sites have a radio check in the afternoon and send a situation report (sitrep) in the morning. Trek groups have a sit rep in the afternoon and a radio check when they arrive at their camp following a hard days trek. I really enjoy my turn as this is our only means of communication to the groups out on project and it’s lovely to hear what they have all been up to. 

Josh taking his shift on radio duty

Last week we have been running mock casevas – casualty evacuations.  Not only has this been worthwhile for the Venturers to practice but it has been worthwhile for us at Fieldbase and has kept us very busy during the first few weeks of expedition. 

We have all practiced the various roles required at Fieldbase to receive the casevac calls and the response needed.  All of us at Fieldbase have found this training extremely valuable and feel very capable should an emergency take place. 

We also host a radio show every Sunday at 4pm for 20 minutes which is a lot of fun.  Our show includes; News headlines, sport, celebrity gossip, riddle of the week, dad joke of the week, medic tip of the week, followed by an update from each Alpha group on what they have been up to during the week.

Radio Raleigh team: Sarah H, Sam, Jodi, Kath, Ellie, Josh, Amanda, Jodi and Sarah J