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 25 November 2009

Here we go for one more time!

An old fashioned game of sardines kicked started allocations for phase 3 as venturers scrambled to find their well hidden PMs for the final phase. Groups found, everyone set about the task of packing group kit, tools and food for the next three weeks. This is no easy task and although the team are becoming old hands at this, it still involves many hours of counting, allocating, checking and re-checking. A special treat of chilli con carne cooked by our very own Amanda, another spectacular slide show by the Comms team Ali and Alison and some inspiring words of wisdom by Mark and we were ready to deploy.

FB team do our best to trick venturers into staying with us

Kate appearing from a barrel for not the first time on exped

Members of the new Charlie 3 find Leti and Claire hidden in the Bravo vehicle

In order to make it down to Kerala in daylight hours, the trekkers have to head off at 6am, and there were huge hugs, well wishes and even some tears as we sent them on their way. A more relaxed start for the other groups who left us by 9am.  I think these photos taken by Ali, our fantastic photographer, really show how much this team means to each other and how much they care for each other.  As a staff member it is truly a wonderful moment to share with everyone.

So heading off as part of Charlie 1 to finish the school in Mutilmoola are PMs David, Kate and Mili with Lee, Baz, Emma, Mathew, Beth, James Eyles, Chloe, Pik, Dan, Shamnad and Prajeesh.  The group will work to finish the school, toilets and choolas in time for the opening ceremony on December 12. 

Kit, Shamnad and Baz say goodbye

PMs Kate and Mili share a moment

Meanwhile, undertaking a brand new sustainable agricultural project in Hosaheggudilu (yes it's quite the tongue twister!) Charlie 3 will be led by PMs Helen, Claire and Leti with Maddy, Rahman, Claire, Amy, Holly, Bill, Adam, Ben, Colin and Vinay. The group will stay in a school in this small village and work alongside our project partner Mykaps on a sustainable agricultural project designed to boost the livlihoods of local farmers.

Double trouble - Leti and Helen

The brilliant Bill bids us farewell

and goodbye from Vinay

Echo 4 heading off to the forest  to finish off theChowdhalli Ranger Station and Elephant Proof Trench will be led by the lovely Jeff and Frankie with Alain, James Guerney, Toby, John Paul, David Hildreth, Tina, Aravind, Pip, Nanette and Laura. The group has a big task ahead of them to finish the walls and floors of the building before it is officially opened on December 13.

Pip showing her support for the trekkers

Beaming smiles from Frankie and Toby
Tango 6 will begin their adventure with a two-day rafting trip before heading off on their 200km trek through the beautiful Kerala. They will be led by the brilliant Dr Dave and Katie with Charles, Tony, Morten, Louis, Cristina, Chris, Sam, John Emmerson, Georgie Page, Shyam and Mikey. 

Miriam our FB medic tries to sneak off with the Tango 6 girls Katie and Dave

Breakfast on the run for Chris

Tango 6 - ready to roll Indian style and below Mikey with the prized team mascot

And last but not for a second least is Tango 7 who have the privilege of being joined by the self named 'King of India' Adam, and led by Charlie and Amy. The lucky team members are Luke, Jamie Green, Anthony, Tor, Georgie Webb, Thomas, Avaneesh, Nicola, John Springate and Boops. These guys will start trekking tomorrow and continue for the next couple of weeks before ending on the rafts.

"I'm the king of India!" ... if you say so Adam      And huge smiles from Jamie, John, Luke and Thomas

So that's where we are at folks - and as we head rapidly towards the conclusion of expedition our message to venturers and staff is to remember every day to wake up and make the absolute most of every opportunity that presents itself.  The following reading really conveys this message, we shared it with the venturers last night and I thought it would be nice to share it with you now.

The Station
Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spands the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the window we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village hails.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there, so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restless we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering - waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.
"When we reach the station that will be it!" we cry. "When I'm 18" "When I buy a new 450SI Mercedes Benz!" "When we put the last kid through college" "When I have paid off the mortgage" "When I get promoted" "When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!"

Sooner or later we must realise that there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

"Relish the moment" is a good motto. It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more icecream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.
By Robert J Hastings

Don't forget if you have been inspired by reading this blog there is no reason you yourself can't "Get Out Here" with us, India would love to have you!
Country Expedition Manager

Do we have talent - yes, yes we do!

Judging by the blog messages it sounds like you guys were just as excited as we were by our attempt to discover the hidden talents of 09J - and discover we did.From Matt and Amy's classic tango to Tor playing the spoons, to Baz and Pik's ventriloquist act and Mark's impression of Simon Cowell, what was very clear is that we have an incredibly talented bunch of people here in India.

The judges headed by our very special guest The King of India (aka Adam from head office) deliberated for what seemed like hours, before finally deciding on Charlie 2 and their Indian themed epic which in true Bollywood style covered perhaps ten different genres and just as many themes. Alain was the true star playing his role perfectly supported by Jamie Green in his debut role as a goat.

In close second was Charlie 1 with the most impressive medley of song and dance that either myself or Mark has seen in any Raleigh expedition.

The night capped another fantastic changeover for 09J, as frantic and busy as they are they are certainly my favourite time here as it chance for us to hear the most incredible stories which each and every person has to share.

But before you know it they have headed out again and even as I write this I am fielding SITREPS from each of the teams as they settle into their new group and new project.  We will of course be updating you on their progress and letting you know as often as we possibly can about their adventures.  Until then our very best wishes from everyone on 09J.

Friday 20 November 2009

Winding Down and Dressing Up

The Field Base team are currently preparing for the return of all the groups this coming Monday.  It's hard to believe that second phase has nearly finished already but we have got some fantastic excitement to look forward to in the form of a 'Britain's Got Talent' style competition on Monday night.  After hearing about the extensive rehearsals that are going on in each of the groups we should be in for a good night!

Alison and Claire left two days ago to go down and join Tango 7 who, after being rained on for most of their trek, have today gone to get even wetter rafting down the Periyar River.  We will be able to bring you news, messages and photos of their trip after the weekend.

In the other groups Charlie One have been building toilets next to the houses and digging holes for the septic tanks.  The school roof is finished and they spent yesterday with Mr Ranganathen from the CTRD Trust visiting another village where Raleigh hopes to carry out some similar projects in the future.

Charlie 2 also had a day trip yesterday to a village called Kalaianahalla where Raleigh built 45 eco-sanitation units earlier in 2009.  The group got the opportunity to carry out some monitoring and evaluation and see the long term benefits of the work that Raleigh does.  Back in Halsur they have completed one vermi-compost unit and are working on a second and have built two water tanks.  When Field Base visited earlier in the week, it was obvious how much the group have become part of the community.  Work was routinely interupted by villagers bringing out chai for the group and the girls enjoyed being dressed in traditonal sarees and jewellery by one of the ladies in the village. 

Left to right: Aravind, John, Chris, Mike, Nicky and Tina

Left to Right: Nicky, Mili, Christina and Tina

In Chowdhalli, Echo 4 have finished plastering the inside and outside of the Ranger Station and continue to make excellent progress on widening and deepening the Elephant Proof Trench.  Echo 4 are due to pay a visit to the village of Ramaranai this weekend on route back to Field Base to see how the water gravity system built on the last expedition is benefitting the community there.

Finally Echo 5 spent yesterday at Kabini dam celebrating Charles' birthday.  Their work at the Anti-Poaching Camp has been hindered by the unpredictable weather which has affected their route into the forest meaning they have not always been able to go to work.  They have however remained immensely cheerful and have still made amazing progress on the Elephant Proof Trench and started clearing firelines around the camp.  They have also dug the hole for a toilet block behind the APC.  In response to his many birthday messages Charles has asked us to send the following message to the Lockharts:

Thanks very much for all the messages.  Had a brilliant birthday - most amazing ever!  Went swimming near a dam and got a special birthday meal.  Truely having the time of my life here in Echo 5.  Quit your jibba jabba and about the letter I've already sent three but keep hearing English postal system is in a mess.  Hope you receive them soon.  I've got all your letters to date, including the card and birthday present was amazing!!!  It was great to show Indian Tony a bit about where I live.  Missing you all loads, including everyone who sent me a message (it took a while to read them to me over the radio!)  Lots of love Charles P.S. Please, please, please don't send anything to so with Swarbrick, for the love of God.  P.P.S. The jam was amazing.

That's all from Field Base for now but stay tuned for news from Tango 7, third phase allocations and of course the highlights from Raleigh's Got Talent!

Right: Davina's tickets for Monday's show hot off the press! 

Sunday 15 November 2009

Digging and the rain

Echo 4 in the forest

Moycey and I have just got back from visiting E4, E5 and C1 and there's been a great deal of digging going on in each group, but there's also been a fair bit of torrential rain to disrupt the proceedings. Fortunately the rain calmed down while we were there so the groups got a bit of a break from the wet and Moycey was able to get some good photos.

Pik and Avaneesh get sifting

E4 are working really hard on the ranger station and the plastering on the inside has now been completed. They've also been sifting sand for the cement through a giant, and quite flimsy, sieve and digging a hole for the septic tank.

We were treated to some fabulous food as the group decided to mark our arrival by having a cook off between two teams. One team made a couple of very impressive pizzas (they'd bought some fresh ingredients while on their day off the day before), using the facilities created by the previous Echo 4 group. I'm sure the ex Echo 4 lot will be pleased to know their oven is being put to good use! The second team made a gorgeous curry with some delicious rice and chappatis made from scratch. Although both teams' efforts were excellent, Team Curry won by a small margin after also being able to produce a pudding with left over chappatis and bananas. Ten out of ten for creativity!

Team Curry's creative efforts!

The next day we set off to Echo 5's site. The amount of rain had rendered the road too difficult for the jeep on previous days but we must have brought the sunshine as we managed to catch the group on a full day's work. They were digging a hole for the toilet block which meant soil had to be transferred from the hole to the other side of the elephant proof trench. The whole team had to set up a chain that involved some people (Ben, Charles and Holly) standing in the trench to pass the heavy buckets and then after they'd been emptied on the other side they were flung back over to the diggers, often covering everyone in the middle with mud!

Charles ready to catch the soil from Chloe

Ben and Shamnad watch the elephant

Our journey out of the forest that evening was filled with excitement as a lone bull elephant was standing by a waterhole near the road. There was no danger of being trampled so we were able to get out of the jeep and watch it for some time. Although the Echo groups see elephants fairly regularly, it makes a nice change to be able to see one so close and without any trees for it to hide behind. And it was certainly a special treat for us fieldbase staff.

That evening we were also treated to an amazing meal - a veggie version of an English breakfast - thanks to camp crafters of the day, Beth and Tony.

As it was Maddy's 19th birthday the next day they'd arranged a trip into Mysore to take a tour the silk factory, and as they left their camp, we also set off for our last group of the loop, Charlie 1.

The school in Multimoola is now covered in scaffolding - Indian-style - and the cement is drying on the roof, so while that is happening there has been lots of transporting stones and gravel, sifting sand, brick laying and unsurprisingly, lots more digging!

Luke puts the finishing touches to his mural

Luke has also put his creative talent to good use by painting one of the sides of the houses with a brilliant and colourful mural which really brightens up the village.

Charlie 1

The group's hard work was rewarded that evening as the village teacher invited us all round for pre-dinner snacks of hot plantain, boiled eggs and a selection of Indian sweets served with chai. The group were also able to catch up on some sports news as he treated us to a bit of TV! So it seems all groups are eating well and fieldbase staff are keen to get out to each group again. As that's our only loop trip this phase to the Echo groups and Charlie 1, we're hoping the trip to Charlie 2's tomorrow in Halsur will also live up to the our now very high food standards!

Here's some messages from the groups:
From Pik:

Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes (including comments on the blog, SMS and birthday card by post, I received and read them all ready.) I had a great birthday here. I am now in Team Echo 4 and working in an environmental project which we have to renovate a 101 year old house to be a ranger station. I am camping in the project site which is located in a jungle and I had chance to see wild deer just in front of me! (May go to see elephant tomorrow if it is sunny). I got my new glasses finally so everything is fine now. Oh right now I really realise that I have no chance to lose weight here even though I am working really hard today, coz I eat way too much…. Miss you all!
To gangs in Nine Lives: I can’t stop laughing when reading the birthday card, thank you so much, whoever reads this please help me to pass this message to the others and please also help me to wish Queenie having a good show.
For Sammi Concert with all my regards thanks!!!

Hi Dad, Nat & Alice,
Got your messages, sound like you’re having a wonderful time. It’s finally stopped raining in the forest which is good! Am still having a lovely time, but am looking forward to Goa more and more! I can’t believe Alice is sitting up already, she’s going to be huge when I see her next! Can’t wait! What was the name of the town we stayed in Goa? Calangute? I’m becoming a little dubious about my lack of planning, but oh well, will just see what happens. Also got what I’ve assumed is a birthday card from you but am saving it for the 19th so thank you for that too!
Anyway love you all and see you in December
India xxx

Are you ignoring me?!
Not cool woman!
Hope you’re ok,
Love you India

Hi Mum, Dad, Matt, Jodie, Ben & J-Dogg,
In the middle of Bandipur forest I have yet to see an elephant or tiger however I have plans to attract them to the campsite. Its been raining lots here however we finally have sun, time to get some washing done! Got stung by caterpillar of death but alls well. I also got Granny’s letter, parents you seem to be slacking in this department. Having a great time, hope you’re all well.

Matt, Jodie, Ben & James,
I’m alive and miss you a little but then the thought passes as I turn my attention to ants or butterflys.
See you in December
Love Emma xxx

From Ben
Daddio, Mumbly, Danger Dan & Monkey, Gregor, Calco, Nannybears, Colleen & Yvan, Barbara & Co, Valerie & Grandad, David & Liz
All good here – writing this from my “basha” – hand-made from bamboo, string and material. Yep, Echo 5 now. We are in Bandipur National Park digging an elephant proof trench around an anti-poaching camp. We take a jeep in everyday that takes about half an hour passing deer and occasionally elephants in the distance. Today we got out the jeep to take a good look at one a few hundred metres away. Hope you had a good birthday Dan and enjoyed Glasgow. Dad! Rowing lessons – nice one – anything to do with Colin per chance? Mum – glad the bangers and mash was tasty – we ate an Indian dish cooked by the Indian guys (Shamnad and Tony) that had the consistency of mash. Cal – internship sounds like its going well – hope so, hit me with it on my return. Greg – hope all’s good beastman.
Love to all
Ben x
PS Mum, those tiny scissors are tosh but the sarong is sterling

From James:

The Gurneys
We are having an amazing time in Mutilmoola – helping to build a school and toilet facilities for the tribal community. Some of the digging, carrying and sieving has been quite tiresome but seeing the impact we are making is really rewarding. We have also enjoyed days out to Sultan Bathery, the CTRD Trust and a tea factory. The weather has been quite moist but escapades like a massive mud fight have kept spirits high. Happy Birthday to Tom, Dad & Lucy. Thank you for your letters – I received the ones from you and granny today.
Lots of Love
James x

The Crocketts
M,D & S
Big hello from Mutilmoola! We are having an amazing time helping to build a school, which involves a lot of hole digging, sifting sand & moving bricks. The community is brilliant (especially the kids!). Hope you are all ok, miss you lots.
Love from Philipa xxx

To James
Here is your own personal blog! Got your letter today which was nice, thank you. Its been very rainy the last few days, we’ve had mud fights, hair washing sessions in the rain, our house was flooded! But luckily the rain went yesterday. The children here are adorable, I love seeing them all the time and they help us with the work which is cute. Hope you’re having enough days off, Mum said you’re working too hard.
Love you loads
Georgie Page xxxx

To Mum, Dad, Charlie & Abbie,
I got the package today which was amazing, thank you so much. Please also thank Nikki for her package and say hi to Alice & Joy and the Canadian Pages thank you. The kids here are awesome, they are always so happy and love spending time with us. Arun (10 years old) was looking at a pic of us three and thought Abbre was me! Says we are “double Georgie”! Glad Rome was great, over half way now, is going so quick.
Lots of love to you all and everyone at home who reads this.
Georgie Page xxxxx

Dear Hamiltons (and Malcolmsons!)
Thank you thank you for my package! I got very excited when I received it – all the way out here is our little village Mutilmoola. Very sad that I missed you (Liz & Dave) at fieldbase if that’s where you dropped the package off. Hope you are enjoying India. I love it. Hi to Rors, Ali & the dogs too. Looking forward to seeing you at Christmas, lots of love
Amy xx

Dad, Mothership & Sara B,
Hope you are all good. Its great here. I’m playing loads of cricket with the kids and learning loads about Indian culture. Letters on their way to Goftdown and Jagerslaan, hope you get them! First 20/20 today, I wonder how the boys did… my hopes aren’t high. Makhayas on fire!!! Let me know about how the trials are going & if Ferds hears anything about Middlesex.
Lots of love, can’t wait to see you all!
Tor xxx

Hej Allesammen
Elsker det stadig herude, er paa community phase. Bygger skole og leger med boernene. Massere af regn men stadig massere af sjou. Besoegte en the fabrik forleden. Haaber i har faaet mit breu fra phase 1. Jeg kan chekke internet paa mandag nok saa sender lige en mal.
Savner jer alle meget, haaber i har det godt!
KH Morten

Hi Mam
Got your letter and postcards on the loop. The photo of us all was great and all the villagers were fascinated by it. Having a great time this phase, different to the jungle, the work’s just as hard though, but just as rewarding. Time’s going so quick, can’t believe we’re half way through already. Hope everything’s ok your end and work’s fine. Marie – great to hear from you. The beards still coming along nicely and even letting the hair get longer. Work sounds stressful but at least you’ve got a nice trip to Oz coming up. Haven’t heard from Dad for a while so let him know I’m still alive when you see him. Wedding plans sound all good – looking forward to hearing all about it when I’m home.
Love to all of you.
Luke x

From Neil:
Lots of jungle love to my Dad for November 18th, happy birthday! x

The Magnificent (Tango) 7

The rain hasn't stopped PMs Frankie, Dave and Andrea from looking happy

Hello, it’s stand in logistics manager Kate here. I’ve just returned from an epic 1000km road trip down to Kerala with 60-60 to drop food for Tango 7. Although they are battling some pretty atrocious weather conditions they are flying through their kilometres. I joined them for a night and was hugely impressed by their high spirits. Jamie and Amy did a great job of organising all the food whilst PM Dave dug trenches (with a spatula!) around the tents to stop them flooding.

Matt and Bill

David H led a great group review as day leader. Toby and Jamie cooked a fantastic dinner whilst everybody dried out over the fire, Matt’s method of drying his boxer shorts provoking particular amusement. The loop shop sold out of chocolate in short order with Nanette and Laura being just two of the many who stocked up for the next week.

Frankie created a fantastic quiz which was won by Matt, Amy, Andrea and myself and Bill narrated several nail-biting games of mafia with Claire proving particularly adept at avoiding detection. The morning finally brought sunshine and every trekker’s favourite breakfast, porridge, the joys of which Prajeesh and Rahman are slowly being converted to! There’ll be another food drop on Wednesday so if you have any messages then please leave them for us to take down, they all really appreciate your words of support and encouragement.

Prajeesh and Rahman

Here's some messages from the group:

Hi Mum, Dad, Tom and everyone else,

I am having a brilliant time in Kerala trekking despite the freak weather – it has hardly stopped raining since we got here. My group is really nice and is staying positive through the challenge of the weather – which is reminding me of Dartmoor D of E. The scenery is stunning here and the food is amazing. Hope you are all well, especially Auntie Gillian and that life is not too quiet without me.
Lots of love Amy xxx
PS I’ve already had two leech bites and am expecting more – and they don’t even bother me anymore! See you in 5 weeks.

A vous tous!
Suis an plein trek ds le Kerala, il drache an permanence, on marche +/- 15km /jour depuis le 3, pas encore eu l’occaz de prendre une douche hmh! Toutes mas affaires sont trempées y compris les tentes et mon sac de couhage dur d’enfiler des chaussures & chaussettes novillees a 5 am! Paysages magnifiques & villages charmants. Sangsues par-tout, meme sur mon menton! San mentionner les blattes. Je vous embrasse tous très fort et hb a ade! (13/11)
xxx Claire

Hello Anne, Tom , Ceri, Pat, Ken, Maya, Sam, Mum and everyone else!
We’re on the trek – we’ve done about 60km so far in five days. The weather isn’t too bad – it’s only rained continuously for five of them. We got to the top of the highest mountain in Southern India and slid down the other side in hysterics. We were surrounded by wild elephants in our camp one night. We’ve eaten wonderful food from street vendors in villages. We’ve all been blood sucked by leeches – my personal count so far is five. The landscape is beautiful – sometimes it looks like north Wales if you ignore the tropical trees. Just enjoyed delicious lime tea made with limes from a tree next to our tent.
David xx

Hi Dan,
How are you, I’m missing you more than ever. I’m on trek and we’re getting rained on really really badly. I got a leech on my face too! We summited the second highest mountain in southern India which was amazing. I’m longing for a hot bath, a duvet and a real fire in the lounge!
Love you, Frankie xxx

Hi Mum & Dad,
Could you put a word in upstairs for the rain to stop please? We’re getting monsooned through Kerala and the trek is tougher than ever for everyone. We’re wet and covered in leeches but still standing. When Tango 7 complete this it will be a huge achievement and I’m looking forward to the day! Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
Love Frances xxx

I am Rahman, now I am trekking in Kerala. It is going well, this is our fifth day. We are in Chathunangapara. It here heavy rain going on. We got lots of leeches. We are all happy with the trek. This is the best part is own life. Happy to all Raleigh family.
By Rahman, Kondotty, Kerala

Hey Mum & Dad,
The trekking is really hard but enjoyable at the same time. It has been constantly raining (monsoon?!) for five days now so the tent is soaked completely. It is a lot drier to sleep in the shelter when there is one at the campsite. That said I still have some dry clothes left so it is not all bad. These Primark tackie are holding are holding up really well. I do have a massive blister on my right little toe which is affecting the way I walk. Remind me to complain to Berghaus when I get back as my boots should not be in the state that they are in under a year. At least they are waterproof so my feet are dry if the socks are not.
Love Jammy Dodger xxx

Hey Holly,
I’m not sure if you got my reply on the blog or the letter for that matter! If you read this I have been trekking for a while now in constant rain le monsoon so the tents are soaked through. I’ve been carrying a 26-28 kilo bag depending on how wet it is. I’m perfectly fine apart from a couple of blisters especially on my little toe its is affecting the way I’m walking. I feel like I’m putting weight on during the trek just due to demolishing all the snacks that I can find. I also managed to successfully start my fishing career earlier today with a basic stick and line and caught a fish within five minutes. My hair is growing quickly though not that much at the sides. Thinking of you loads and I believe that it is fine you to stay on the 17th.
Love you lots xxxxxxxx
Jamie Eyles
PS I haven’t got your letter yet.

Monday 9 November 2009

Halsur holes and frisbee fun

Charlie 2 outside Halsur school

Ex-environmental project venturers who are now in Charlie 2 have been able to put their elephant proof trench digging skills to good use this week. We went out to see the group in Halsur and were surprised by how much they'd been able to do in just a few days. They've started on the vermi-compost unit, the holes for the water storage tanks are coming on well and soon they'll be starting on the bunds in the fields.

The vermi compost unit underway

Shyam shifts bricks for the vermi compost unit in a villager's back garden

They're currently sleeping in the school (the village children are using another building for the time being), which is looking very homely, and are being catered for with plenty of breaks for hot sweet chai! Which means the group also gets time to play with the many village children, help them with their English and take lots of photos.

The children are happy to pose for Christina

Alain has a break for frisbee

The loop vehicle is to set off to the environmental groups and Charlie 1 soon so on our return we'll be able to tell you how those groups are getting on. But some messages from Charlie 2 first...

To Libby and Mum, cheers for all the blog messages, doing well on the community project, it's really good. Missing all, Crimbo. Rwarries x

To Lorraine and Gwenny, Alain and Tina here. Just to let you know we are having a fantastic time in Charlie 2! We have already done lots of work and love playing with the children here. Thanks for the messages on the blog mum. Alain is missing his shower and his bed but he can finally eat with his hands so all is well! Lots of love Tina and Alain.

Hey everyone, thanks for the messages! Great to hear from you. I'm still having an amazing time, it's going so quick. Had a day trip out yesterday to a buddhist colony which was awesome. Keep me updated about any news. Speak to you soon, Love Christina x PS. G - new year?

Hey everyone, I'm doing great and had a fantastic birthday. We went to a buddhist temple and then went swimming. Charlie 2 threw a great party in the evening with balloons, cake and body paint. Glad to hear about the Yankees; sadly no one else cares. Also very happy to hear about the CELTA. I miss you all so much! Love Jaime Green.

Hey guys, Halsur is really good - went to a buddhist temple.. in south India. Had some 60ft statues at Buddha. Also went to a wildlife park. Mum, your camera's given up the ghost but loads of people are taking good pictures - I'll just get them to send them to me. Hope everything's going well at home. Lots of love, Mike.

Hey Darndy (For 12th November), Hope you're having an awesome time in London - email me about how it goes.  Have agreat day!  And Mum - please tell Darndy this message is here ;o).  Lots of love, Mike x