Welcome to the official blog for Raleigh India 12I | July - August 2012

Welcome to the Official Blog for Raleigh India 12J September - December 2012.

Sunday 30 March 2008

Groups Deploy for Final Phase

On Saturday morning the groups set off once more, but with a small difference this time: this phase will be their final phase before they all return to Fieldbase on Wednesday 16th April!

We've already had word that all the groups arrived safely yesterday and are settled into their new sites. Alpha One are having a day-off and getting used to their new surroundings today; Alpha Two were planning a trip to the trenches to plan the following week of work and Alpha Three have already started trekking, leaving their first campsite at Chattamunnar early this morning.

The groups are as follows:

Alpha One - Hosekerasunda Community Project

Hana Manthorpe - Project Manager
Claire Morris - Project Manager


Alpha Two - Nagarhole National Park Environmental Project

Dominic Short - Project Manager
Jason Bolton - Project Manager and Medic


Alpha Three - Chattamunnar Trekking Project

Kate Morton - Project Manager
Sally Jupp - Project Manager
Jenny Newman - Project Manager and Medic


As always, we'll be keeping you updated as often as possible with news and updates as they arrive in to us here at Fieldbase, and there'll be more loop trips this phase out to see the groups where we can take any messages to them and come back with lots of photographs and information!

Friday 28 March 2008

Pirates of the Caribbean Changeover

By Thomasin Lockwood

Thomasin with DPM, Tim

The three alpha groups arrived at Fieldbase on Wednesday after a trip into Mysore. We were reunited with friends and exchanged stories, gossip and advice about the phases.

Alpha Three return on the "party bus"

The evening’s entertainment had been set, the theme: PIRATES!

A banquet had been prepared for dinner – a barbeque of chicken, sausages and all the trimmings.

Each alpha group had once again created another skit, but as we’d such a high standard at the first changeover, we had high expectations.

Each alpha team were unique and clever with their ideas, all received numerous chuckles from the captive audience and the judging panel.

Alpha Two

Alpha One

Alpha Three

Unbelievably, alpha two managed to win again in the skit competition, although the group was different members this time…

To round off the skits, bags of coloured powder were produced. We all looked on in bewilderment as they were placed in front of us in the quad and we were instructed to empty the contents over one another.

Within seconds there was a mass of multi-coloured people ducking and diving and trying to avoid yet another handful of powder.

This was in fact part of an Indian festival celebrated here recently called Holi Day and is a sign of friendship.

The music was cranked up and we danced the night away: a heaving mass of colours!

Unfortunately, this is where I end my adventure with Raleigh and return to cold, wet England; back to normality and routine. I have shared the most amazing experiences and challenges with a fantastic group of people, who I will miss greatly. I hope their time on Raleigh was as awesome and continues to be as awesome as mine was and would like to say a special thank you to Phase Two Alpha Three, who helped keep me motivated to the very end of the trek while having the most amazing time.

Wednesday 26 March 2008

Hosekerasunda School

By Miranda Corti

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend a week teaching in the primary school in Hosakersunda. The school is small with two teachers, one of whom is only part time. There are 18 children who range in ages from 6 to 11. Our brief was to teach English which is seen by the Karnataka state government as an important enabler here in India as it opens the door to further education and therefore potential upward mobility. It was clear at the outset that the Head teacher was supportive of our involvement and we were given a free rein to structure lessons and activities as we chose.

We all had a fabulous time with every venturer and every PM’s in Alpha 1 taking a turn in the classroom. Monnie and Charlie did a great job teaching about Spring. Matt got the older children in class to tackle Speedy Tables and Shrikanth, Kerala and Graham worked wonders getting the children to do origami. We sang plenty of songs accompanied by makeshift bamboo instruments and the clear favorite was definitely Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

One of the highlights of the week was the games activities organized by Will. These were so popular that we decided to put on a sports day for the children on Easter Saturday. The children arrived full of beans and ready to undertake all the obstacles the team had set up. Unfortunately, true to form for sports day, the heavens opened and we got absolutely soaked to the skin. This did not deter the children who carried on with the races despite the rain. Eventually, soaking wet and shivering, we had to stop as the rain became truly torrential – however a lot of fun was had by all.

We finished our stay in school by presenting all the children with a certificate congratulating them on their achievements in English.

Monday 24 March 2008

Quick Easter News Updates

All groups will soon be heading back to Mysore Fieldbase. Phase Two seems to have flown by and we'll be expecting all our Venturers and PMs back this Wednesday for Changeover.

We'll have the usual challenges, events and parties prepared for them, before announcing the new, and final, groups for Phase Three, which will begin on Saturday 29th March when the Alpha Groups will set out to their final project sites!

I'll be asking for more photos and news from the teams once they have returned and unpacked on Wednesday, so will update the blog as soon as possible after that.

Happy Easter!

Alpha One

Alpha One are close to completing the ten eco-sanitation units for this phase in the village of Hosekerasunda. All the structural work was finished on Friday and the group are now plastering stuck-in to the final task of plastering the outer walls.

Their Easter celebrations included 'Looking After An Egg Day' where they had to each protect a fresh egg from damage until evening and making special chocolate crispy cakes for all the school children with Miranda, our Finance Manager, who has spent the last week teaching in Hosekerasunda school. More details to follow.

Alpha Two

Alpha Two have been busy working on the elephant-proof trenches and were pleased to report on Friday that they had just completed a massive 8-post trench!

In their spare time they have been busy on the garden around the Inspection Bungalow and yesterday were brightening up the fence posts there with a fresh coat of paint.

Today, after some more physical work on another trench, they will be preparing for a party for the rangers, which is planned for this evening.

Alpha Three

Alpha Three are very close to the end of their adventure in Kerala. After eleven days of trekking through tea plantations and up mountains; two days of cycling; (mainly uphill) and two days of kayaking through the backwaters of Kerala, today is their third and final day of kayaking and therefore the final day of their trek. They will be arriving at the last campsite later today, which is located on a stunning beach and here they can relax a little and celebrate the end of their trek!

Thursday 20 March 2008

Loop Trip

Road trip to A1 & A2: Brian, Sally, Deepak & Miranda
17th to 19th March
By Logs Assistant Manager, Sally!

After leaving a sunny fieldbase early one sunny afternoon, we arrived at Hosekerasunda at just the right time: dinnertime. The meal was provided by the village and tasted delicious, as usual. We joined the group for their evening meeting after the meal, and joined in with their review game: Fortunately, Unfortunately, where you have to say one good thing and one bad thing that has happened to you during the day. After a good day, Graham handed over Day Leader duties to his deputy: Karim, who was looking forward to the responsibilities. Once the meeting was finished, PM Sally read out a story (complete with sound effects and voices) Graham had written. It was a horror story about a couple living in an old house meeting a grizzly end, and Graham promises that it was purely coincidence that the victim’s name was Sally, it was nothing personal! No one wanted to go to bed straight away after the story; everyone was afraid of having nightmares, but after the amount of chocolate, fizzy drinks, sweets and crisps eaten from the loop shop everyone was wide awake and buzzing for another couple of hours at least.

The next morning, after a breakfast of porridge (again!) we joined half of the group relaxing by the reservoir whilst the other half worked on the toilets. When they swapped over after a couple of hours we had a tour of the toilets built during the first phase, and of the toilets being built in this phase. The toilets are coming along really well; the group has done a fantastic job of the construction and they are on target to have them finished and ready to be used by the middle of next week, when they leave. Everyone appears to have a really good tan but most of it actually washes off at the end of the day. Everyone is having great fun and all are really proud of what they have achieved; taking great pleasure in showing us the bits they actually built themselves. The villagers are also enjoying having them there and take every opportunity to dress the girls in saris; some more than once, and provide hot, sweet tea on a half-hourly basis.

Christina and Victoria

For the afternoon they were visiting the MYRADA office a few kilometres away. Myrada is one of the project partners of Raleigh International in India, and pointed us in the direction of the project initially. Everyone was really looking forward to the visit; if only for the chance of hot showers, proper beds and pillows!

We left at lunch time, leaving our Finance Manager, Miranda behind as she is staying for a week to help in the school in the village.

Miranda in Hosekerasunda School

The eco-sanitation unit taking shape

Time for a cup of tea

Sally and Deepak Arrive at Alpha Two

Deepak and I then drove to Metikuppe, via his childhood home, where I met millions of his family members and drank lots of tea. Here we found Alpha Two at the Inspection Bungalow, who had been busy at work on the elephant-proof trenches. After a disturbed night’s sleep, caused by the resident grumpy male elephant crashing around nearby, the group spent the following morning back in the trenches again: digging away, posing for silly photos for Brian the photographer, who we had dropped off the day before. Deepak showed great promise as the bucket carrying boy. The activity planned for that afternoon of visiting the local school was unfortunately cancelled due to the children having to sit exams, so the group continued with the garden they are making, preparing the ground for the planting of lots of flower seeds.

Deepak and Sally working hard

Alpha Two

Sathyajith working in the elephant-proof trench

Shiju, Sarah and V

Finished for the day...

I was also lucky enough to join the group on their safari during my visit. We drove to a nearby National Park, through villages and coffee plantations and stopped off at a waterfall where everyone took the opportunity to dive in and have a good wash! We saw lots of Samber deer, peacocks (the national bird of India), wild bears who played peek-a-boo around trees with us, spotted deer, snakes, bison, wild elephants and elephants that had been captured from the wild and were being tamed. The icing on the cake was seeing a wild tiger which was en route to a zoo. They are just the most awesome animal; so big yet so soft looking, until he yawned and you saw his teeth. We returned to the bungalow very sleepy after a long, hot but truly awesome trip, and enjoyed a dinner of rice, cabbage, tomato and sandwich spread stew, followed by chocolate brownies and custard.

Alpha Two were all in great spirits, and still talking about their Bungalow Olympics, which had taken place the previous morning, and whether the PMs actually won on merit or by cheating. The general consensus was that they cheated horrendously, and as we left them to return to fieldbase a heated discussion was taking place as to how they should be punished!

Bruno Tossing the Caber at the Bungalow Olympics

Aaron in the Jerry Can Relay

Wednesday 19 March 2008

Note from Fieldbase

Three members of Fieldbase staff: Brian, Sally and Deepak are currently out on a loop trip to Alpha One and Two and will be returning later today. I'll be putting up all their news and photos here on the blog as soon as I can pin them down for an update from the two groups!

For now, read on for an update from Tim, our DPM, who has spent the first part of Phase Two with our trekkers down in Kerala standing in for PM and Medic Jason. Now that Jason has returned from the UK, Tim has come back to work in the 'hub' of Fieldbase again, armed with plenty of news and photographs from the group's adventures so far...

Tuesday 18 March 2008

Alpha Three Trek

Our DPM, Tim Berriman has just returned from Alpha Three with all the latest news on how they are getting on in Kerala...

The team celebrate reaching the top of the mountain

Life as the Deputy Programme Manager can mean a lot of time stuck at Fieldbase in Mysore, so I leapt at the chance of standing in as a trek leader for the mighty Alpha 3 for the first 9 days of their adventures in the Western Ghats. Since returning this morning I have been bullied into telling of our exploits for the blog....

Tim with PM Hana

After the controlled chaos of sorting the food and equipment resupply drops, personal stuff, maps, route cards and one hundred other jobs that need to be completed before deployment the 12 hour bus ride to Kerala was a welcome relief and time for some well earned snoozing. But as we entered the Western Ghats all eyes stared in awe at the breathtaking scenery and the size of the mountains. It seemed the tales told by the previous trek group of hours of toiling up never ending hills were not lies. Talk around the campfire that night was full concerns of blisters, rucksack weight and the impending 0400 wake-up call.
The first day did not disappoint, starting with a vicious climb up the winding roads of the Chattamunnar Tea Estate and then into the near vertical jungle above; surely at some point it would level out? Aching legs were quickly forgotten when we stopped for our first long break and had a chance to look out over the valley we had climbed out of, giving everyone a first real taste of the scale of the peaks we intended to climb over the next few days.

Thankfully the afternoon was a little easier as we meandered through the small communities of tea estate workers. Our arrival into each village was always greeted with shouts of ‘What is your name?’ and ‘Where are you from?’ from the local children, while the adults simply stared in amazement at the sight of trekking. As our guide, Shabeeb, said ‘they think we are mad, Keralan just people don’t do this!’.

Cooking "Trek" style: Arya makes some tea

Just as legs started to refuse to climb another hill and lifting rucksacks onto backs became almost impossible we caught sight of our first camp, the first arrivals greeting each member of the team with cheers as they collapsed onto the grass. Day One was over, but another 10 beckoned; could we repeat the performance tomorrow?

Day two quickly rolled into day three, the big one! Our task was to climb Meesapulimala at 2650m (or almost 9,000 ft), no easy feat with a small rucksack but with full packs it was going to take some doing. Alpha 3 were starting to motor at this point and fuelled by coconut sweets and peanut crunch we summitted at lunchtime in the mist, meaning a rest and a lunch of cold rice could be enjoyed knowing the afternoon was all downhill and our hardest day was almost complete. Unfortunately the weather gods had other ideas and unseasonal rain swept in causing a damp descent through the highest tea estate in the world. Still Alpha 3 made camp in high spirits and were greeted by welcome sight of piping hot tea from the campsite staff.

Olivia (The camel) and Bella

Still smiling - Olivia, Bella, Flora, Thomasin, Josie and Maud

So with fitness improving and routines becoming established the days then flew by, each one had its highlights. Dawn boat rides across lakes; stunning sunrises following a night of watching thunderstorms over the mountains and lunches spent swimming in deserted waterfalls in the jungle. All too soon the Raleigh vehicle arrived to drop Jason with the group whisk me back to Fieldbase. In 9 days we had pushed ourselves harder than many thought was possible and still reached the end of each day smiling.


The girls take a quick rest en route - Josie, Flora and Maud

James - could be sleeping...

I can only thank Bella, Qathab, James, Josie, Thomasin, Maud, Arya, Laurie, Ali, Olivia, Georgina and Flora, as well as my fellow PMs, Hana and Claire for making it an unforgettable part of the expedition.