Saturday, 6 April 2013

A Venturers Account of Phase 2 on the Kindergarten Project

by Nathan Ascot

When we arrived in Bonor Sook after a five hour drive from Basecamp we were all taken aback by the beauty of the simple village. The creek that we lived next too was brilliant – particularly water fights with the local children; there was a lush green football pitch where we played football and volleyball with the local children; and even the houses were incredible, mainly because of their simplicity and the skill of the villagers in building them. It really was unlike anything else I had ever seen or experienced.

We were delighted to be living in a community hall and sleeping on a floor after weeks in hammocks and bashas. We even have a gas hob to cook on. Wasting no time we started work on the kindergarten from day two and within a week and a half we had already set up the water tank, concreted the ground and put half of the flooring in.

The local community were so welcoming and loved providing us with extra food, topping up our Raleigh Rations with doughnuts. They also had fantastic football skills and they never tired of playing. Even Freddie and Dan (the football players in the group) were shown up by them. We began to wonder if generously supplying us with extra food was their tactic.

The group shared a love of singing. Every Sunday we went to church and sang with the locals and absolutely loved it –and so did the local community. The locals also love singing and so it wasn’t long before we were all singing karaoke together. Our resident dance teacher Dan also taught the local children how to dance which was really fun to watch.

One thing we hadn’t been expecting was the beautiful view over the valley. Towards the end of our phase Jude our PM took us on a half hour walk to the top of a hill to see the sunset. We saw not only the whole of Bonor Sook, but the surrounding area that went on for miles. The whole group were speechless, and seeing our new home from a new location just days before we were due to leave really brought the group together and reminded us how lucky we were to be here.

We left the project with the walls, floor, stairs and water tank finished and it is fair to say that between feasts, work and having fun with the community we have really left our mark on Bonor Sook.

Friday, 5 April 2013

World Water Day in Bulud Batu

On the 22nd March 2013, Alpha 2 celebrated World Water Day in Kampung Bulud Batu, Montuyon. For many of us this year was the first time we’d celebrated World Water Day but had the opportunity to mark the occasion in a very special way.

A team of Venturers lead by 3 VMs have been working for the last 5 weeks on constructing a gravity water feed. The project will supply much needed clean running water to 150 people. All 150 people in the village currently rely on rain water and collection and a small tap installed by the head lady herself.

The theme for this year’s World Water Day is water cooperation. By this we mean the cooperation between everyone involved in water management at a local and international scale. For example, bringing water from a river to irrigate farmland requires regional cooperation. Additionally, rivers cross political boundaries and so international cooperation is needed to support everyone’s needs, claims and cultures. Consequently, if any of the people involved in water management do not cooperate, the ‘cooperation chain’ is broken and water resources may not be managed efficiently, causing lives and economies to suffer.

When water resources are cooperatively shared and managed, peace, prosperity and sustainable development are more likely to be achieved. As such, this year’s theme is particularly meaningful to those of us in Kampung Bulud Batu Montuyon as we have been working collaboratively with the villagers throughout the gravity water feed project.

We are currently about half way through the project and have constructed a weir at the water source, installed four header tanks and laid about half of the pipe network (1250m). Although the system is not yet connected, we decided to mark the day with a ceremony at the weir.

The Raleigh team gathered with the villagers for a ceremony which included speeches from the VMs introducing this year’s theme; followed by the Venturers’ reflections and experiences of working and living in village. Finally, the head lady, Aunty Rodiah spoke about the importance of our presence and the life changing impact of the gravity water feed on those in the village. It was an extremely emotionally charged speech particularly as we had all spent the morning distributing the pipe outside her house. For all of us, seeing her reaction to the pipe going into place really brought to life the significance of the project.

Following the speeches, the weir was opened. A ribbon was cut and the divert that had been diverting the water away so that we could construct the weir was removed allowing water to build up for the first time. Although there is still a lot to do before we are able to turn on all 17 taps, it was a hugely significant milestone which means we are on our way to providing the village with the water they have waited so long for.

Facts and figures

  • 85% of the world’s population live in the driest half of the planet.
  • 783 million people do not have access to clean water.
  • Almost 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation. 
  • Most population growth will occur in developing countries increasing the pressure on areas that already have limited access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.
  • Almost two in three people do not have access to safe drinking water
  • One in three people survive on less than $1 a day.
  • Without an immediate acceleration in progress, the world will not achieve even half the Millennium Development Goal target for sanitation by 2015.
  • Up to 90% of waste water in developing countries flows untreated into rivers, lakes and coastal zones. This threatens health, food security and access to safe drinking and bathing water. 
  • Over 80% of sewage worldwide is not collected or treated.
  • 1.4 million children die every year from diarrhoea related diseases. 
  • Child mortality can be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources. 
With Phase 3 now underway, the Alpha 2 team are working towards connecting the full pipe network and installing all 17 taps.

For everyone who has worked in or been to visit this very special village, this year’s World Water Day has made a huge impression as one that will stay with us all for many more World Water Days to come.

Photos from Phase 2 (pt3)

Whilst the groups are out on phase it is sometimes difficult to get out to take photos of the projects as they develop so I thought it might be nice to provide you with some of the photos we collected at changeover from phase 2.

Here are the Adventure phase highlights.

Alpha 7 - Dive, Trek

(unfortunately this group were a little camera shy in phase 2, but here are a few from their homestay in Long Pasia after their long trek)

Alpha 8 - Trek, Dive

Alpha 9 - Trek, Dive, Trek

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Photos From Phase 2 (pt2)

Whilst the groups are out on phase it is sometimes difficult to get out to take photos of the projects as they develop so I thought it might be nice to provide you with some of the photos we collected at changeover from phase 2.

Here are the Environmental phase highlights.

Alpha 4 - Maliau Basin

Alpha 5 - Imbak Canyon

Alpha 6 - Bio Diversity, Coupe 1

Keep an eye out for the photo updates for the Adventure groups over the next few days.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Photos From Phase 2 (pt1)

Whilst the groups are out on phase it is sometimes difficult to get out to take photos of the projects as they develop so I thought it might be nice to provide you with some of the photos we collected at changeover from phase 2.

Here are the Community phase highlights.

Alpha 1 - Kindergarten

Alpha 2 - Gravity Water Feed

Alpha 3 - Gravity Water Feed

Keep an eye out for the photo updates for the Environmental and Adventure groups over the next few days.

Changeover and Final Phase Allocations!!

Our new Alpha teams have now all radioed in from their new locations and the third phase has officially commenced.

This changeover flew by with the Alpha groups returning throughout the day on Sunday and an evening of traditional Raleigh Skits – where the Venturers compete to entertain us the most with a summary/performance of their phase – after dinner in the evening. There was a fantastic atmosphere and the groups were buzzing. Bright and early on Monday morning the groups gathered for a surprise, Easter inspired hunt to find out their new project allocations. With clues taking them all over Basecamp, there was much excitement as the new groups formed and then spent the day bonding and planning their next phases ready for deployment at 6am yesterday.

The new allocations are as follows:

Alpha 1: Kindergarten in Kampung Bonor Sook – 

The foundations, roofing, flooring and staircase are all complete but this phase the group will be finishing the construction work, painting and getting everything ready for the opening ceremony on the Monday 15th April.

A1 - Alfred, Jason, Lise, Christian, Lucy, Duco, Rob, Kathryn, Ellen and
PMs Jude, Beth, Sarah and special visitor Sam (Logs)

Alpha 2: Gravity water feed completion in Kampung Bulud Batu – 

The project steamed ahead in phase 2 they managed to turn on their first tap on World Water Day (22nd March). However, the new group still have 700m of pipe to lay in order to connect the remaining taps to the houses ready for the opening on Wednesday 17th April.

A2 - Nigel, Emma, Joost, Nicky, Max, Rosie, Will, Jacob, Guy, Vynecia
and PMs Lou, Jonny and Josh

Alpha 3: Gravity water feed completion in Kampung Boribi – 

With just two phases to complete a whole gravity water feed, the phase 2 team worked super hard, digging and cementing the damn which has now been completed. This phase the new group will be getting the header tanks into position to collect the water and running the pipes down the hill to the village in time for the opening ceremony on Thursday 18th April.

A3 - Shai, Sam, Isabel, Dido, Bjorn, Tom, Anna, Sarah, Rolex
and PMs John, Ali and Alyrene (not pictured)

Alpha 4: Maliau Basin conservation project – 

 Settling quickly into the beautiful Maliau Basin, the phase 2 team made a gabion wall and fixed the skywalk. As the end of phase trek exploring their new surroundings was such a success, this phase will be an exploratory one delving deeper and deeper into the conservation area and completing mini conservation projects along the way.

A4 - Eline, Emily, Erwin, Clara, Catriona, Tom, Dan, Corinth, Enrique, Louis and Jimmy (not pictured)
and PMs Barry, Sarah and Kat

Alpha 5: Imbak Canyon suspension bridge project – 

In phase 2 the trees began to swing across the valley as work continues on the suspension bridge. With a bit of a delay due to the broken winch the team, the phase 2 team were hard at work making camp improvements so it is now very ready for the new team who will have plenty of work to keep them busy in this final phase.
A5 - Rek, Nicki, Becki, Dan, Lucy, Alex, Sal, J, Connor, Sabrina, Daan
and PMs Ali, (Connor, Refat and special guest Kath (Admin) not pictured)

Alpha 6: Bio Diversity Survey in Coupe 1 in Pitas –

The survey is rapidly increasing in size and with each new phase more birds, mammals and frogs are caught, recorded and set free. This phase however, in addition to the regular trap and net checks, the group will be making a start on a construction project, building a research centre on the lower level of the camp.

A6 - Aaron, Beerend, Charlie, Emma, Morgan, Nathan, Andrew, Steve, Sabine, Shirley, Davin
and PMs Bec, Fred and Xenia

Alpha 7 and 8: Dive, Trek and Trek, Dive in Long Pasia – 

A7 - Fiona, Eva, Jacob, Hugh, Caspar, Nav, Mitchell, Elle, Lee, Rachel, Steven, Lewis (not pictured)
and PMs Kris, Ian and Sarah
The groups will be embarking on a 12 day trek through the jungle and spending 6 days on Dive Island completing their PADI certificates with Borneo Divers or generally relaxing and having a great time. Alpha 7 will be starting on KK’s Dive Island (Mamutik Island) and Alpha 8 will be starting with the trek in Long Pasia.

A8 - Hatty, Tash, Freddie, Daniel, Rex, Catm Belle, Asher, Sjoerd, Jeremy, Josie
 and PMs Mike and Harriet

Alpha 9: Trek, Dive, Trek in the Kiulu Valley –

This group will spend 5 days trekking along the Tudan Mengkaladom trail before their 6 days on dive island (also completing their PADI certificates, relaxing and enjoying themselves) before a final 8 day trek in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu into Basecamp where they will be welcomed back with a BBQ that is always eagerly anticipated.

A9 - Peter, Digby, Jo, Harry, James, Andrew, Dwana, Izzie, Josefien, Alex, Holly
and PMs Kate, Natalie and Rachel

This final phase has come around so quickly and both Venturers and PM’s are already looking forward to reuniting again at Endex to celebrate what I’m sure will continue to be a fantastic Expedition. I look forward to regularly updating you with how the groups get on throughout the phase and will be uploading guest entries from phase 2 over the next few days as the Alphas settle into their new surroundings and routine.

As always the Venturers and PMs really look forward to receiving your comments so please keep leaving them. Instructions on how to do this are on the right hand side of this page. Comments will be taken to the groups during the static sites during the Loop and as the adventure groups arrive at the Harbour to go across to dive island.