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

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

Wednesday 30 September 2009

A cultural and sweaty start

Project Manager David and Medic Amy are greeted by Country Director Mark

The rest of the staff members have now arrived and it's been all go ever since. After the advanced and permanent staff excitedly pounced on the tired travellers as they got off the bus, they were shown around their new home (complete with welcome banner and flowers) and were plunged straight into training. There will be a group photo as soon as we can get everyone in the same place at the same time! But it wasn't all work work work as we also got to witness Puja, a Hindu ritual whereby all our work tools at fieldbase were blessed to keep them functional and safe. Our computers, phones and even the cars were decorated in a colourful ceremony that we were all lucky enough to witness and gave the new team members an extra special cultural start to their expedition.

Mark blesses the office and above, the cars and bikes all dressed up for the ritual

Mysore craziness

In another break from the intensive training we took a trip into central Mysore to try and catch the elephant parade as part of the Dasara festival. However, thousands of Indian tourists and locals had the same idea and we ended up in the middle of what can only be described as Mysore craziness. Some of the group did manage to jump above the heads of the ever increasing crowd and see part of the parade but unfortunately,  most of us just saw the heads...

The hill

Trek training was also on our schedule this week. We split into two groups and trudged happily off from field base with all our equipment on our backs. Luckily the weather was perfect for trekking; cloudy, dry and breezy which we were grateful for as although we had many interesting sweat patches, we were all aware they could have been worse. We reached our campsite, on the other side of Chamundi Hill for lunchtime. Medical training and general camp craft were next on the agenda and after our superbly cooked evening meal of noodles, we sat around the campfire swapping trek stories and finished the day with a quiz. In the morning we still had to conquer the hill so with weary legs we decamped and set off up the steps for another few hours of trekking before returning to fieldbase.

 Project Manager Neil shows the rest of the staff how to construct a basha


All of us here at Raleigh India would like to wish one of our medics, Mili, a very happy birthday! It's probably the sweatiest one yet!

During the expedition we will be publishing some comments from the staff and venturers to our loved ones back home and, Charlotte, our team coach, would like kick off by saying congratulations to Louise, Gareth and Leah on the announcement of Louise's pregnancy.

Thursday 24 September 2009

Welcome back!

We have now welcomed two more staff members to the team. Neil (above), project manager, and Ali (right) who will be the photographer, are both staying on from previous expeditions after a quick jaunt to Sri Lanka to sort out their visas.

This week has been a mixture of comparing insect bites, working, finding our feet in Mysore and lots of fun with a trip to the circus (interesting and scary in equal parts), an Austrian cafe (delicious) and various games (Vijay will be getting all the new staff to play Jungle Speed at some point!).

Birthday celebrations

Also, in honour of Neil’s birthday, this morning we went next door to the Olive Garden restaurant to have a fancy breakfast and tonight we plan to throw some cheesy moves at a local nightclub after a meal out.

In feline news, the mother cat did keep returning to the logs room with her kittens but have once again been rehomed outside of field base.

The induction programme for the project managers has now been sorted and we’re all very excited about welcoming them. I’ll be updating the blog after they arrive and we can introduce the team fully. Not long now!

Sunday 20 September 2009

The beginning and lots and lots of curry

The advanced staff team have made it to field base and have made ourselves at home. After an exciting drive to Mysore - passing cows in shops and various large packages on motorbikes - we arrived at field base rather jet lagged but intrigued to know what our roles would be like. We were helped through our day by curry for breakfast, curry for lunch and curry for dinner, and venturers and the remaining staff members (not to mention parents) will probably be reassured to know that field base (above) is feeling very much like a home from home already.

The team so far...

It’s already clear we’re well suited to our roles. Finance officer Claire is tackling spreadsheets “In my life, if it’s not on a spreadsheet it doesn’t get done”, medic Frankie “ooooh this anti-biotic is magic!” is sorting through the medical kits and logistics managers Andrea “I can not work in a messy area” and Mike (aka Mutley due to his laugh) are going through the kit and food in the logistics room but also rehoming a mother cat and her very new-born kittens who had nested in there. Whereas I (Alison) am telling everyone what we’re up to!

We’ve all settled in well, taking time to create a fitness regime into our busy schedules. After a quick explore around the base yesterday morning, Andrea and Frankie set up a circuit involving skipping, press-ups, sit-ups and lunges and then we had a yoga break a bit later. Then this morning we tackled the nearby Chamudi Hill and its 1,000 steps...

There’s currently a festival on in Mysore called Dasara which celebrates Hindu goddess Durga slaying a demon and therefore the triumph of good over evil. The events include elephants being dressed up, painted and paraded throughout the city (according to 60/60, one of Raleigh’s drivers, the elephants love having their make-up done!), and there’s various yoga, drama and music events. The elephants are due to parade on the 28th so the next lot of staff members can see them too. The city is heaving with locals and tourists who have flocked to the area so going into Mysore could be a bit of a baptism of fire...

Above, from top, Claire, Frankie, Mutley and Andrea, and Alison

Getting to work

In the meantime, we’re busy preparing for the next lot of staff members, who are due to arrive on Saturday 26th, and then the venturers, who arrive a couple of weeks later. There’s lots to do!

Do feel free to comment on this blog as we’re going along. Once the projects are underway, if the person you’re trying to contact is out on one of the sites, the messages will still get passed on and will be most welcome. And if there’s anything in particular you would like to know about the projects and how they’re getting on, do ask, I shall try and keep you updated as much as I can. Welcome to the beginning of our Raleigh adventures and stay tuned for the next blog in the next few days.