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 31 March 2010

It's raining....... Hallelujah!!!!!

I know back in England, Ireland and Europe, the sound of rain has been a little too constant of late, here in India however, that very sound has not been heard since January.  So you can imagine our surprise and delight to wake to the patter of rain on the roof this morning!

The rain has not been restricted to Fieldbase, all six of our groups have had their first taste of what it is like to be here during monsoon and I am quietly confident all 6 groups are pretty pleased that rain is unlikely to be an everyday occurence.

A quick swoop around the groups -

Charlie 2 has settled in nicely to life in Kudimery where they are busily preparing their 4 allocated houses for some major makeovers.  This super keen group have already formed their own jogging club and have planned a number of 'educational' days out.  These crazy kids are also having some pretty interesting conversations.  Wells and where in fact the water comes from being the highlight so far.  Kripa's birthday was celebrated in style and included party games with the local kids - as well as a silent disco - except not everyone had earphones so they used speakers as well - a sort of silent sort of quiet disco shall we say.

The well which is a well not a bore hole because it has a structure or apron if you will

Now we all know that Charlie 4 are not too far from Fieldbase, some of us slightly underestimated just how far they are. In our minds they were 15 kms – in actual fact they are 25kms, a fact that Claire and I discovered this morning when we ran out to drop off their post.  It was a nice idea it just took a little longer then expected, but with the help of our driver (ok we cheated on the last 5 kms but don’t tell the group! ) we made it.

We are supposed to be doing C4 with our hands - it was a struggle for some of us

Charlie 4 with their adoring fans
Charlie 4 have a lovely base at the school, and have really made themselves at home. They were treated like rock stars when they arrived, literally mobbed by the kids and have now begun daily games with them. Although there are some pillars in place, there is a lot of work to be done on the classroom as the roof has been completely removed.  I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Over in Echo 4 they had the chance to put their bachas to the test – the rain test that is! All but two stood up to the task admirably. One fell down and one had no roof - the group were somewhat silent on whose exactly! They have begun de silting the dam in an effort to bring it back to full capacity – rather fitting than the rain has begun.  By all accounts they are delighted by their idyllic surroundings - gosh I wish I was there.

Sam is back for more rock action in Echo 4

Fetching water is a daily chore and 1 km walk to the well - I don't think Echo 4 members will ever take their taps for granted again

Echo 5 are well and truly living the dream – Geoff described it as like a scene from “The Beach”  Sadly no Leo! The group have made good progress on the Elephant Proof Trench which will surround the Anti Poaching Camp– should you ever be asked the dimensions of an Elephant Proof Trench in a pub quiz they are as follows – 3 metres across at the top, 2 metres deep and 1 metre wide at the bottom so that it resembles a wedge of cheese. Digging this by hand is no easy task, we will keep you posted on their progress.  Logs Manager Tom is just back after deploying with the group so we have a couple of cheeky photos for you, as well as a couple taken by Claire earlier in the expedition.

View from the work site - not too shabby!

The ginger menace looking even rosier than normal - sorry Kev we couldn't resist!

The trek in - it's hot out there!

But this makes it worth while

Tango 6 are today enjoying a day of survival skills where they will put their chicken preparing and shelter building skills to the test. The group yesterday climbed Misapulimala, the second highest peak in India outside the Himalayas. I spoke to Lauren last night on comms and she sounded brilliant!!!  Everyone is in top form and quite literally on top of the world - well higher then we are anyway.

No wonder they call Kerala "God's own country"
Tango 7 have completed a couple of long days and will take a rest either tomorrow or the next day. They are fast learning the reputation as the biggest losers in that they have so far managed to lose a tent and their route card. Their spirits remain high however and a fairly spectacular storm on their first night served to bring everybody closer together!

The perotha and chai stop - prepare yourselves you will hear a lot more about the joy of this daily snack!
So that is all folks for another day here in India - at Fieldbase Helen is busily cooking up another project while James is getting his head around logs and Claire continues to edit and take more brilliant photos. 

Trusting that you are all very well - check out the comments section for messages from some of the venturers!

More about this blogging business

Hi everyone I just wanted to take this opportunity to explain about the blog and how we operate it.  Your messages are published -unless they contain sensitive information.  Our vehicles visit each group at least once during phase.  On the day the vehicle is leaving, everything that has been posted is printed out and taken for the group to read.  The blog messages are then printed again for changeover and everyone has the chance to see the blog messages when they access the internet.  For important messages - eg flight changes, baby arrivals etc we pass the message on during comms check in the morning or evening.
 Tomorrow the vehicle will go down to the two treks in Kerala, this is a two day journey so it will be there on the weekend, another vehicle will go to Charlie 2.  Trips to Echo 4 and Echo 5 are planned for next week, and a vehicle will take the blog to Charlie 4 at some point in between.  When posting messages it is always best to post them on the most recent blog so they don't disappear on us.  We work very hard to share the stories of 10C with everyone and we want it to be as interactive as possible but please understand that the project sites are remote and we have our limitations. 
I am very proud of the blog and the effort that has been put into it by our wonderful team of volunteers and I love how much it means to everyone.  There are great stories happening here on a daily basis and I promise that we do our best to share them with you as they happen.

Sunday 28 March 2010

Triumphant return, 2 crazy days and they're off again!

I sit here tonight absolutely exhausted but elated after a crazily busy 2 day change over. The groups all arrived in on Friday full of stories from their first phase which all were desperate to share.

After the buses were unloaded, tents repitched, kit returned and trips to Mysore complete the first on our group agenda was the highly anticipated skits.  The groups did not disappoint and there was an eclestic mixture of themes, genres and styles with each group strutting their stuff in an effort to secure the prize of an English fry up and access to hot showers.

It was a tough decision for our judges who debated vigoursly before awarding the prize to Charlie 3.

Charlie 3enjoys there prize

We were joined by 8 new venturers, Tass, Hannah, Rachel, Rachel, Alice, Euen, James and Lara who have all settled in with ease.  Sadly for us we said goodbye to some brilliant young people, Chris, Jo, Hugo and Jack, who are returning home or travelling on.  They will be missed!!!

On Saturday there was time for some football, clothes washing, letter writing and general catch up before our new project allocations. 

A treat for our hard working PM team, breakfast on the roof terrace
As usual the team led by Kev and Dr Tom came up with a fun way for everyone to discover their new group. PM's were padlocked together and venturers were given clues to find which group and which PM they belonged to. General chaos ensured of course but I am happy to report that everyone eventually found the right people!

So where have they gone????
First is our brand new project Charlie 2 led by Sophie Cragg ( our finance wizard, who is now turning her hand to become a Project Manager) Rita and Kripa.

This project group will work in partnership with the Centre for Tribal and Rural Development Trust in the mountainous Nilgiri district, Tamil Nadu.  They will live alongside and work with the 40 inhabitants of the Kudimery hamlet, a remote forest community belonging to the Paniya indigenous tribal group to refurbish the simple homes for the 12 families. Living conditions are very basic and their substandard housing is the cause of much hardship and contributes to poor health. The group will repair roofing, plaster and create new pits for disused toilets. This work will facilitate a healthier standard of living whilst enabling them to retain their tribal customs and cultural identity.

Charlie 2

Sophie Cragg
Rita Cripps
Kripa Shah
Liselotte van Westerveld
Katie Radford
Rahul Prasad
Louise Carter
Hannah Mendoza
Lauren Pegg
Kate McKeon
Lucianna Stefanou
Matthew Hairsnape
Layla Testi
George Mills
Jack Bell
Owen White
George Wills

We also have a new Charlie 4. This project group is at Madapura, a hamlet, which is part of Kallambalu Panchayat Panchayat in H.D.Kote Taluk. The village is situated 20 kms away from the Taluk headquarters and 65kms from Mysore. On the road to Gaddige, 1 km outside the village lies the Morarji Desai Boarding School.This is a Government residential school that is actively supported by MYKAPS as it provides middle school education for children from scheduled tribes from over 40 villages in the H D Kote Taluk.

The school currently has only two classrooms for 180 pupils and 15 teachers and they have to share the use of four toilets.  The project group will complete an additional single storey classroom and a smaller computer training room. Also the group will build 6 new toilets (3 boys / 3 girls) and renovate two further toilets. On completion the school will have an improved basic infra-structure to be better able to accommodate and teach the 180 students.

Charlie 4

Julia Robinson
Dave Rendle
Sammy Radstone
Theo Boyce
Richard Miranda
Satheesh Mohan
Paula Brocki
Pien van der Heijden
Cat Cameron
Guy Newton
Sophie Hatcher
Josef Burgess
Laura Pye
Alice Mathews
Katharine Thomas
Philip Hudd
Sarah Wilson

The Echo groups are continuing the amazing work that has been carried out in the first phase.

Sam Dash continues where he left off last phase at Echo 4 but this time takes Priya Shah and Clive Harrison with him.  The group will complete the journey to this remote paradise in two legs, first by bus before they are dropped to trek the last 9km.  In addition to continuing work on the Elephant Proof Trench, they will also focus on desilting adams on the edge of the forest.  This is one of a limited number of water sources for local wildlife and increasing its capacity is essential. 

Echo 4

Sam Dash
Priya Shah
Clive Harrison
Merel Loonstra
Tom Saville
John Campbell
Duncan Sanders
David Smith
Hattie Parker
Christina Sales
Julie Egdell
Rachel Hard
Rach Tate
Louise Kinniburgh

Echo 5

Echo 5 will be led by Kevin Walker, Tom Blincoe and Rosie Edwards. Kev spent the first phase helping out here at field base and our loss at field base is definitely Echo 5's gain! The Scottish, Ginger Menace (his mother's words not ours)  is a drummer in a band, has a degree in Applied Sports Sciences and is a constant source of fun and entertainment.  Dr Tom is also heading out after a memorable time in fieldbase where he kept us all enthralled with his ridiculous knowledge levels about everything and entertained with his multi talents including the production of our very own Bond film. 

Tom Blincoe

Kevin Williams
Rosie Edwards
Geoff Wells
Eleanor Hayward
Chiara Raine
Jake Hanson
Sasi Kumar
Lara Montijn
Tassilo von Hirsch
Joyce Lau
Catriona Rizzuto
Neelima Unnithan

Ruth de Sainte Croix
Alistair Muir

Dave Mahoney

And finally the trekkers! They are both going to God's own country, Kerala. New "survival" days have been incorporated when the groups will build jungle baschas as well as put their new 'chicken' skills to the test. Joing the group is Jo our comms officer who stayed up to write this blog and ensure you were all kept in the loop.   She will be back mid phase with photos and tales to tell.  We will of course do our best to fill her shoes and keep you up to date as the phase unfolds.

Tango 6

Joanna Ryan
Dave Liddiard
Harriet Jones
Lauren Mcdonald
Sam Downes
Anna Jeffery
Euan Edwards
Rosie Mellor
Alan Smithies
Henry Britton
Claire Traylor
Euan Miller
Kat Mammone
Amy Broughton
Dhwani Soni

Tango 7
Benn Hitchen
Luct Travis
Alice Maclennan
Lowenna Carlson
Harriet Way
James Hutchinson
Girish Kumar
Bella Plumptre
Sathish Kumar
Annie Raff
Harry Swinton
Neven Guberina
James Brown
Charles Salmon
Juliet Cameron-Wilson
Nick Finegan

Our fieldbase team has also changed.  Helen has stepped into fieldbase medic and has already made many many plans on other tasks she will set her mind to and no doubt achieve, there is no stopping this woman!  James also comes into to help us out on Logs following a very successful stint on Charlie 1. 

I have just completed our comms for the evening and every group has checked in.  Again I am amazed by these guys, who despite being absolutely exhausted after long journeys and intense days were as upbeat as ever. 

I can't tell you how priveledged I feel to be part of something so amazing.  As Mark said in his farewell speech last night, it is hard to believe that just 4 short weeks ago we were strangers, now we definetly feel like a family and one that I am very happy to be part of.

I love this job!