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

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

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Update from the Echos

Echo 5 and 6 are in Ramaranai at the moment working on the gravity water feed for the local village. Some of the field base team went out to visit both the project sites to give a bit of a helping hand, bring them some chocolate and see how they are getting on. The project site, camp sites and local people are amazing. It really is the experience of a life time. Here are some blog updates directly from Echo 5 and 6…

Becca Hammond reports back from Echo 5
Our project phase is going SO well. We’ve nearly completed the check dam at the top of the gravity water feed and are in the process of finishing the water tank. We’re all putting in maximum effort and have developed a good relationship with the villagers (they even give us chai!). Almost a quarter of the pipe-laying work has been completed which will eventually meet the work that Echo 6 are doing.
Above: the kitchen at Echo 5

During the past few days we’ve decorated our campsite by building a table out of bamboo (which sadly collapsed after being sat on by three heavy guys). We’ve made the best long drop ever and had campfire nights and morning group exercise classes and had group lunches and dinners. We’ve been teaching and playing with the local children and we’ve learnt a lot from them in return. We’ve learnt a number of Tamil phrases such as vanakam (hello).
We’ve seen elephants, deer and butterflies as big as birds! We’re working from the top of the hill and the view is incredible it makes the steep climb every morning worthwhile.

Above: the water run

We’re all looking forward to going on our safari (tomorrow), which is being led by the local forestry commission and to all the fun days and nights ahead of us in Ramaranai.

Echo 5 hard at work at the top of the hill!

Echo 5 by Laura Morgan and Becca Hammond
We are the fantastic Echo 5
Eating rice to stay alive
Be it sun or be it rain
We’re up the hill, we wont complain

Slippery rocks, potential falls
Building lots of concrete walls,
Digging trenches and scooping dirt,
Lets just hope no one gets hurt

The stars are out the fire’s on
In India what could go wrong!?

And just a stones throw away Emily Hakin and Rosie Crocker at Echo 6 let us know how they are getting on...
It’s 6am and the alarm bell rings, the yoga junkies jump out their bashers, grab their roll mats and perform salutations as they watch the sun rise over the mountains.

6:30am and there is a low grumble, no, not the calling of the elephants, but the sounds of Echo 6’s man force falling out of their bashers ready to start the day.

Above: Echo 6's bashers

6:45am, the infamous water run. We march through the village and up to the water pump which is in elephant and viper territory, outside the safety of the electric fence. We march back with 25kg on our shoulders to the echoing of our rumbling bellies with only one thought on our minds…porridge.

Above: L-R Jackie, Emily, Lotte, Rosie, Will, Claire and Victoria on the water run We dig, we snack, we pole, we sweat, we snack. We dig, we sweat, we snack, we trench some more, we pole some more, we collapse! Thank god it’s 12pm and then we lunch.

Above: back row L-R: Siva, Rich, Rosie, Will, Victoria, Jackie, Liam, Vijay. Front row LR-R: Nicholas, Alice, Emily, Claire, Louise, Jonny and Lotte

It’s 8:20 and its high ho off to work we go time. Slap on the suncream for our seven hours of strenuous manual labour. Stretching us to our limits, the only thing that keeps us going is the thought of our favourite new snack…peanut crunch.

We keep our heads high as we are shouted at in Indian that we are not strong enough. We laugh it off, we trench. Its 4pm and the thought of showering alone in the forest where there isn’t even a fig leaf lifts our sweaty mood as we complete the final push for the day.

We arrive here to the camp to the sweet aroma of our dinner cooking. We chill.
Above: Echo 6's menu ideas

We review the day over a cup of teas our bodies close down for the day.

It’s 9:30pm, the sun has gone down and we fall asleep in our bashers underneath the stars listening to the sound of elephants. They are 100 yards away calling to each other as they stamp through the forest. We start again tomorrow at 6am, we are Echo 6.

The best of Echo 6…so far, some of Echo 6’s top moments by Jackie Mustoe

Above: Jackie skipping with the local children

Work is physical but the demands are overcome by rewards. The Western ghats surround our camp providing the most stunning views at work.

Our food - the amazing satisfaction the peanut crunch provides and devouring delicacies made up of either rice, noodles or pasta complimented by tuna, sweetcorn or baked beans.

Our camp, Rich and Nick’s innovative park bench poohole as the best outdoor toilet ever and bashers, sleeping in style and absolute comfort. Pumping water from the well and building up those guns of steel, then getting back to nature and showering with buckets of fresh cold water.

Standing in silence at night, peering through the electric fence, hoping for a glimpse of an Indian elephant…

That's all from the Echo groups check back soon for some messages for home.


  1. For Laura and Alice Frost.
    Wow guys, you sound like you're having a blast! I'm well jealous! Miss you guys lots, and i didn't realise that you were so poetic Loza! I hope you got a photo of that elephant by the way! Love you lots like jelly tots. Sacha xxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Well done Rich on building the innovative "best ever outdoor poohole"!! See your priorities haven't changed!!!! Sounds as though you are having a great time. So good to hear news through the blog. Take care! Mumxx

  3. For Rosie Crocker
    Hi Pose, we are so excited to hear how your getting on i have just got back from a festival in knebworth where i have been waiting to get back home to see how you are getting on. It sounds amazing and an experience that you will remember forever. keep on battling on and i can't wait to see you when you get back. We are all thrilled to read your blog. love you lots. sam xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  4. hey Poppy hope your having a great time and being good lol, miss you so much, i will try my hardest to send a letter on time lol, cant wait till your back! :) Hope my hoodie, walking boots, and ipod are keeping you company :D love you lots Lauren xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  5. For Emily and friends....Glad to hear you are all working so hard!! And sounds like you are having a wonderful time too...Missing you...Love to you all and keep up the good work...Deborah and Andrew xxx

  6. Wendy and Ray Ward.5 August 2009 at 03:13

    Hi Emily,
    we have been looking at your activities through the day--gosh,we were tired just reading it!!Up at 6am and lots of hard graft,fantastic.Bet you will all be very fit when you get home!
    Those bashers probably seem as comfortable as your bed at home after a hard days work.
    Thomas is cycling from Lands End to John of Groats in a couple of weeks to raise funds for Water Aid,you are all very busy this summer!
    Hope our mail gets to you soon Em,we are all following the blog and hoping you are having an amazing time.Have'nt spotted you in any Echo6 photos yet.(are you sure you and Rose are there?ha ha!)
    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Granny and Grandad xxxxx Auntie Jane,Chris and Auntie Beryl also send their love xxx

  7. Hi Rose
    It was so good to read your blog - whoever would have thought that one day you would be sleeping in a basher and showering in a forest with a bucket of cold water!!Everyone is following the blog and really excited for you it sounds like you are all doing a grand job - perhaps it will make us all a bit more thoughtful how we take water for granted! We are all keen to hear about the villagers and how they live - bet the children are cute! Before you know it you will be leaving for Kerala - we can't believe how quick it is all going. Just to put your mind at rest, Dad is doing really well and he had a check up a few days ago and everything seems to be good. Have fun, work hard and take care. All our love Ma and Pa XXXXXXXX

  8. Hi Will
    This blog is just great! We can clearly picture the scene and monitor the projects. India has now jumped to the top of a list of places we would love to visit...Intriguing photo of you inspecting your leg! Was it a leach? tick? bite? or morsel of spilt porridge? At last we have a sunny day here, so its outside work for us and a BBQ tonight.This is sent with love -and a touch of envy. Mum xxxxx
    Hi Will,
    Up at 6.30 for a day's manual work. I must remember that! It looks amazing. Third test drawn. Love Dad

  9. hello Alice and Laura
    I look forward to seeing those buns of steel when you get back - will this be the beginning of a new exercise regime after all that hard work that you are doing? Sounds like you are doing something really worthwhile and can't wait to hear all about it. Lots of love, Mum, Dad, Tom and Harry xxx

  10. This is a message for: Becca Hammond and Claire Melly in Echo 5 and Echo 6.

    HI GIRLS!!!! I hope you are having an amazing time, it looks amazing from the blog. I hope you are both enjoying such an incredible experience and taking care of each other!

    Can't wait to hear about all your travels.

    Australia is all good Becca - everything is going well and the weather is gorgeous!

    Lots of Love to you both,

    Jo xxxxxxxx

  11. To Laura and Alice,
    Love this blog, can see all that you are up too - Laura is that you cooking in the picture? What new skills you are learning - you'll be ironing next :-)
    Alice loved your dancing in the circle! you're looking good - feel very proud of both of you both and can't wait to see you both - Oh Qui
    Love Mum/Tish xxx

  12. Alright Will.

    Hows the transparent skin comming on?
    I'm sure your getting stuck right into every oportunity that comes along.
    Todays brotherly advice...."Bones mend, cuts heal and chicks dig scars"....not big ones accross your face though. Always try to protect the face...
    Have fun

  13. Hi Rosie, really loved reading about your adventures. The snakes and elephants sound 'interesting'! We really envy you having this once in a lifetime experience and imagine that at the end of the day you are exhausted but happy to be doing such a great job. Spoke to your Mum and Dad today, hence the blog! Take care of yourself, loads of love Aunty Jenny and Uncle Rob xxx

  14. Hi Richard, We are so proud of all of you, obviously doing a great job, and having a great time doing it. How does the food compare with your favourite sausage & chips?! I'm sure I recognise you on one of the pictures tonight. I find this daily blog amazing! You should come back with huge muscles, and fighting fit! Keep well and enjoy every minute. Love Grannie & Auntie Valerie.

  15. To Richard Peters
    Delighted To read all the news and see your picture on the blog. I hope you continue to have a great time. Much love, Auntie Valerie

  16. Wendy and Ray Ward.8 August 2009 at 02:55

    Hi Emily,we have just finished a barbi in the garden and it did'nt rain!!miracles!!Mummy,Andrew,auntie Jane,Chris and auntie Beryl all here and we showed them the blog.They all think it is great what you are all doing.
    There is another letter on the way Ems,hope the post out to you is not as bad as to south africa.We see that when the team is visited by the Raleigh staff you are given supplies and also some treats like chocolate---bet they are pounced on as soon as they arrive!!
    Looking forward to all the news and pictures to keep up with all the fantastic things you are all doing.
    Lots of love from granny and grandad.XXXXXXXX

  17. Hey rose, soooo.... finally i fink i found the right page. Ive been on it loads but cudn find ur blog thing. I did write on it but i fink i wrote on the front page of the expedition so doubt u wud of got it. I haven4got bout ya babe, finkin bout u constantly. Im so jealous readin ur blog looks amazin wot ur doin bet its such hard work tho, im sure ur doin brilliant! Hows the tan?? Jus got bk from germany, long week worked stupid hours monday worked from 5pm till 10am nex day!! all gud tho, hopefully il hav earned enough to take us on hols wen ur bk,im lookin for sumit rite now! ul prob need it after this!! Keep up the hard work, oh hav u got the letter yet?? Hopefully hear sumit from ya soon. Love you n miss u heaps.20 days 2go :) mwah xxxx (say hey to emily)

  18. To Jackie Mustoe,
    HEY! I came across this blog by accident! Was just checking the raleigh website to see if there had been any pictures of your trip and found the blog so I thought I would post a message from home. Your looking very tanned I must say(even more than usual :P) Hope all is well and your having an awesome time. Thanks for the text the other week, I hope you got my reply. I managed to get the job too :) which has brightened things up a bit! The only bit of bad news is that I scratched my eyeball with a bit of cable!(OK now though) The weather hasnt treated us very well over here lately, wish I was somewhere exotic! Im leaving for Fort William in 2 weeks which will be ace. Missing you lots, stay safe and come back in one piece. Keep up the good work, lots o' love Josh XXXX

  19. Hello Claire M, We are having a lovely time here in Portugal and have just seen the basher you are sleeping in - our beds are a bit more luxurious! Sounds like you are being kept very busy - hope those elephants keep their distance.
    Love Mum, Dad and Alice XXXX

  20. Wendy and Ray Ward.10 August 2009 at 04:00

    Hello Emily,another day gone-we cant believe how fast the time of your trip is going.we expect that by now you will all be as fit as anything with all the project work you are doing.
    Today we went on a boat trip around plymouth sound and up the river yealm,it was lovely and sunny.
    We look at the update on all the teams and you are all having an incredible time as well as working hard,you will all probably sleep for ages when you get home.Not many 6am starts then!!Thinking of you Droops.Lots of love from granny and Grandad.XXXx

  21. Hi Becca, Just seen your news and photos from 4th August. Looks amazing and I love the poem!!
    Have managed to change your flight, 10th Sept, same times and flight details, so will meet you at Heathrow as planned but 2 weeks later. Will keep an eye on the Blogs now we're home. Love you loads XXXX


    Hi Rose,
    it looks and sounds like you are having a fantastic time!... Have a great time and we'll see you in a few weeks!
    Love Adam & Hannah X

  23. Dear Rosie May,

    The elephants and deers as big as birds sound interesting, feed the little fellas some peanut crunch for us.

    Take care of yourself and we look forward to seeing you in the very near future.

    Love Sam & Joe.

    X X

  24. For Emily Hakin and Friends...
    Hi Emily, Well, I finally managed to navigate the website (sad but true), I hate being a technaphobe!!
    Missing you lots darling, and can't imagine you being that filthy, lots of long hot baths when you get home, I suspect? But looks like you are all having a fabulous time. thank you for your other message, and just to let you know we have all written a little bit and will be posting out a very traditional letter tomorrow, just hope it arrives before you get home!!
    So, peanut crunch and porridge, a lovely treat each day??
    Take care darling, looking forward to you coming home, but also glad you are having such a fab time there.
    The firework competition is on tonight, so I will think of you while we watch...
    Goodnight, love you,
    Mummy and Andrew

  25. Hi Emily. Looks like you are having a good time. Reminds me of when Thomas did the World Challenge in Peru. Looking forward to seeing lots of photos. University will be a doddle after all this hard work. Lots of love Diane and David x

  26. For Claire Melly (Ming!) and Becca Hammond (Bernie!)

    I MISS YOU BOTH SOOOOOO MUCH! The blogs and photos are great and so good to hear how amazing an exeprience you must be having out there! I cannot wait for you to both come home, I'm so lonely without you guys...I am in great need of some becca and claire time! I hope you're having a great time, so jealous and I look so forward to you coming home!

    LOVE YOU BOTH SO MUCH! =D Love from Mong/Eddie! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx