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

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

Monday 29 November 2010

Raleigh India 10K Fun Run!

During final wash up Field base will be organising a 5K and a 10K Fun Run for the Venturers and PMs to raise money for Raleigh India projects.

They will of had 9 weeks out on Phase to get fit. The Adventure Phase saw them tackling arduous treks, challenging cycle routes and extreme rafting. The Environmental Phase was hard core digging, giving them a full body work out. While the Community Phase involved hard manual labour carrying heavy bricks building up their muscles ... But now it's time to see what they're really made of.

So on Thursday 16th December it will be every man for himself, as we cast off the Raleigh ethos of team work and pit them head to head up against each other. Those signed up so far are:

Caroline, Hannah W, Kat, Raghu, Natalie

Olly, Dr Phil, Rach, Hannah L, George, Simon, Coen, Michiel, Iain, Erdinch, Jen, Anniek, Arthur, Kim, Jonny, Owen, Jack, Hubertus, David, Ryan, Sam, Olivia, Sarah, Polly C, Anna, Dr Josse

Importantly though, they will all be raising money for Raleigh India projects, so we're asking Venturer & PM friends and family to sponsor them at http://www.justgiving.com/raleigh-india-fun-run/.

Fundraising money from venturers to join a Raleigh expedition covers the cost of their experience and of running our permanent field bases. However, it only goes some of the way of covering the costs of building materials and local labour for our projects which support marginalised communities and environments in India.

India witnesses a huge disparity between the urbanised wealthy and the rural poor. Although government initiatives are targeting this and attempting to redress the balance; changing an embedded culture in a sub-continent as huge as India is not a fast process.

By partnering with both local grass roots NGOs, government agencies and international NGOs, Raleigh has been able to access and address some core issues here in India.

The Community projects focus on a targeted areas, building relationships, friendships and exchanging culture, educating them in the importance of education for their children, community health, and giving them the means to sustain a their livelihood in an environmentally friendly way.

Our Environmental projects in India focus on educating communities and youth in reducing the human impact upon habitats to preserve the natural biodiversity. The projects concentrate measures on reducing the interaction between wild animals and people and the resultant negative impact on people or their resources, or wild animals or their habitat.

To learn more about the Raleigh India community and environmental project strategies please link here http://www.raleighinternational.org/countries/india

Although Raleigh expeditions are relatively small groups, the message we send in our presence and activities here has a huge multiplying effect. Through concentrated and sustained efforts our project groups have begun to make a tangible difference in the areas Raleigh India has focused. But we always need more money, as there is so much more we can do. So please dig deep and donate now.

All text by Polly Carpenter and photos by Polly Baldwin http://www.dynamicpictures.co.uk/ (unless stated otherwise).

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - we raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Phase Three: Join the the dance

On Tuesday the venturers arrived back at field base eager to catch up with their friends from Phase One, to share big hugs and swap tales. It was great to see them all reunited and see all the new friendships that had formed throughout Phase Two.

Changeover was a hive of actvity but had a lovely chilled vibe. On skit night the bar had most definetly been raised with some funny, some musical and some darn right surreal! The Charlie Two girls all looked gorgeous in their new saris but it was Echo Three who scooped the prize with an awesome The Good, the Bad & the Ugly take off.

Wednesday was handed over to the Graduates to run the show, as they took the reigns of the schedule, activities, food and entertainment. A trip to local village Jayapura in the morning was a lot of fun. The group were split into teams and given a scavenger hunt to complete. The children in the village were particularly excited to have us invade!

A delicous bbq feast was prepared by them for lunch. We then bid a fond farewell to Irena and Shaun ...

The afternoons was chill out time with optional henna painting

and then an Indian Ball in the evening, complete with an Indian drumming band.

It was also a double celebration as it was Anu's birthday.
Onto Friday and at last, Phase three allocations. It's all change again as the groups get mixed up for the final time. Alan Watts, the American Writer, once said: "The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." So to announce allocations this time, the PMs each started their own conga line picking up their venturers as they danced across the floor. With hillarious results ...

The groups are as folllows:

Charlie One
Off to finish the five tribal houses in Uluvadu are:

Eira Evans
Liam Gallacher
Caroline Millar

Sean Edlin
Kirsten Elliot
Arthur Fane
Laura Hulley
Michiel Kruize
Samuel Mason
Jennifer Rimmer
Denise Stoelzel
Justine Stuart

Charlie Two
Heading to Hagarahalli to build twelve more eco-sanatation units for the scheduled caste community are:

Rachel Allan
Charlotte Parbery-Clark
Susan Pollock

Coen de Mol van Otterloo
Lucy Flint
Iain Hood
James Mcintosh
Jessica Norgrove
Jack Phillips
Katharine Studley
Sarah Ward
Isabelle Wijsmuller
Jonny Womack

Echo Three
Trench digging bound, to live in a homemade campsite outside the village of Basava Pura are:

Phil Dart
Bethan Jones
Hannah Lobban & Hannah White (job share)

Anniek Akerboom
Owen Duffin
Robert Dwyer
Olivia Ferrari
Kane Grennan
Katie Macnaughton
Kat Ulichnowska
Elisabeth van der Zee
Aimee Welch
Erdinch Yigitce

Tango Five
The Missapulimala trek is going to be tackled by the following:

Christina Ambrose
Laura Burnet
Sterling Grey

David Frattinger
Amy Gannon
Ryan Heeley
Simon Majtlis
Tessa Nooteboom
James Rowantree
Kavita Shah
Anupama Varghese

Tango Six
The Demon Mountain trek is going to be taken on by:

Oliver Whittle
Lynne Cooper
Luke Jones

Fiona Marchbank
Natalie Gordon
Shanelle Ward
Kimberley Delamare
Hubertus Kramer
George Miller
Philip Smith
Rosie Ward

Field base medic this phase will be the lovely Dr Josse Emanuel and Hannah & Hannah, who not only share the same name, will also be sharing the Mointoring & Evaluation role at field base and also PMing at Echo Three.

 And then suddnelly Changeover was all over and Phase Three had begun as off they went bright and early on Friday, when we also said goodbye to Ros and Raja.

The Loop is planning to visit Charlie Two on Tuesday so get your messages on the blog by Monday evening for us to pass on.

N.B. Don't forget to tell us who the message is for including their full name and project group. Then select name/URL from the dropdown menu to tell us who it's from (URL can be left blank). Please be aware that we might not be able to publish all personal messages but we will make sure they are all distributed.

All text by Polly Carpenter and photos by Polly Baldwin http://www.dynamicpictures.co.uk/ (unless stated otherwise).

Monday 22 November 2010

Phase Two: Over and out

So here we are again, on the eve of Changeover two eagerly awaiting the return of the venturers back at Field base. This time we have them here for two days before packing them off for the final phase of their Raleigh India 10K expedition.

As always, Field base has been working hard in anticipation and preparation of the Venturers return: Myself and Polly B have been pulling together the expedition magazine, a long hard slog but hopefully well worth it for a great memento of everyone's time out here. Doug over in logistics has been his usual calmly organised self, everything raring to go with enough tins of tuna, porridge and noodles ready to fuel the venturers in Phase Three. Christina has done a brilliant job organising the loop shop (always a welcome sight for the sugar and e-number starved venturers) and creating the Raleigh India 10K t-shirt. Phil's been the reassuring voice on the end of the phone for all medical queries and entertained himself by writing, directing and editing our 'comedy' skit video ready for the venturers return. Whilst Anna has been masterminding the operation and Del has been a hive of organisation both ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

Out on phase they've been telling us what an amazing time they've been having. The projects are really taking shape and each group are able to tangibly see the difference they are making out here, both on site and to themselves.
Charlie One have now completed all brick work on the five houses, two roofs are up and they've finished plastering on one. Tonight is a closing ceremony with the village, no doubt a joyous but emotional affair.

Charlie Two completed all 12 eco-sanitation toilets. Today they had a sports day with the community and a leaving celebration tonight.

Echo Three have worked tiresly on the trench and made fantastic progress. They had a leaving ceremony yesterday where they enjoyed a big feast.

Echo Four have had a a slightly challenging phase due to weather conditions but have been resourceful finding other ways they can support the community and certainly made the most of their time out there.

Tango Five are jubilant after completing the trek yesterday! They're now making their weary way back to Field base on the day and a half journey up from Kerala.

We can't wait for them all to descend and tell us all their stories ...

Catching up with Echo Four

Visiting Echo Four as part of our Loop tour, Carolyn and I (Doug) spent Sunday afternoon relaxing by the reservoir with the team. Everyone was in high spirits as we tucked into a lovely lunch and enjoyed cinnamon cafe lattes expertly made by trained barista Jenniffer Rimmer. Who knew you could make instant coffee taste so amazing! As we left the group they were starting to prepare for the up coming change over and working on their eagerly anticipated team skit.

All post and blog messages were most grately received, and the following replies have been sent

From Rosie W - To Ma
Hi Ma! Thanks so much for your letters! So far I have got 1,3,4 and have one with Happy Birthday on it which I am saving for the day. I will be on trek at that time walking up to 10k a day with a 14-20kg backpack! Gonna die but will give it my best. Don't have the space to tell you all about this phase so will write you. Love you lots and have a great day on the 2nd xxx

From Rosie W - To Dad
Hi Dad, writing you a letter today, tell you all about this second phase. We pack up tomorrow to head back to field base before last phase - trek! Aaaargh! The graduates are organising a fun day when we get back - I am teaching yoga classes (smily face) I got Grannies letter today please let her know was so nice. Will reply but post is so random here. Lots of love

From Rosie W  - To Shannon
Hello Boo! Thank you so much for your letter and your blog message. I just got your letter but maybe one from Hazel or Kate is on the way, the post is not good here. Looking forward to being back for Christmas and seeing you all. Big love, be good xxx

From Rosie W - To Kate
Hey Sis, I get in at 1:15pm on December 18th at Heathrow from Bangalore, is that all the info you need? Can't wait to see you xxx

From Isabelle Wijsmuller - To Bonnie
Lieve Bonnie, ile heb de blog nog niet gecien dus net is super grapping om te horen van de foto! Geef ledereen een. Oliekke lius!

From Ryan Heeley - To Charlie and Family
Hello everyone. Still having a brilliant time, been next to a massive resevoir this phase, been swimming a lot and catching some rays on the hammock..and doing a bit of work as well! Charlie that is amazing, I am so proud of you - get learning Italian!! How have things been in Scarborough. I am doing treking last phase. I can't wait to see you, love you loads Ryan xxx
P.S. Have you received a letter yet Charlie, I sent it to my home address so Mum can you forward it on if it arrives before I get back. I will be ringing this Tuesday so try to be at home please!! xxx

Guest blog by Doug Meehan

A day in the life of Echo Three - Blog messages from the team

Over the weekend Carolyn and I (Doug) joined Echo Three to spend a day and a night at Basava Pura on a Loop visit. Joining them just as lunch was being served, perfect timing, we had time to catch up with the group and enjoy some lovely home baked chocolate/mars bar cake. And in the afternoon we were entertained as we split into three teams for a fun and informative 'pub quiz' run by Arthur Fane. After a night sleeping in the bashers we all awoke to start work at 6:30 on the very impressive trench at the site. Later in the day we left the group preparing for their exgerly anticipated homestays in the local community.

All post and blog messages were very gratefully received by the group and the following replies have been passed to us.

From Iain Hood - To the Hood Family  
Hi Mum and Jonny, hope things are well at home. Nearly finished my Echo project now, over 100m of six foot trench dug. My stomach is holding up well. Lots of love Iain

From Arthur Fane - To Family and friends
Hi everyone! Wow this is awesome! Final day of digging tomorrow - it's really tough but I'm boosting my man points for when I return - it feels so rewarding at the end of the day. The locals are all awesome so they come and help out all the time as well! Just done a pub quiz and received your amazing package Mum and Dad! Lots of love Arth

From James Rowantree - To Rowantree Family
I am having a great time and missing you lots and hope Gary you are good and Lisa also Mum & Dad. I am on treking last phase, be home soon, Lots of love James

From Coen de Mol van Otterloo - To Dad and Mum
Hey Mam, Het is leuk hier hard werkin, kun jeetn elucht de 25 degrees regelen (december) Zolaat mogelyk, die dag anders later. Bevestig dit quode blog a.u.b. Coen

From Kate Studley - To Studley Family and friends
Hello everyone! Thanks very much for my letters they were fab, I have sent replies. I am having a great time on Echo Three, digging gets you fit! I hope you all are well. Gaz, thanks for the book! Lots of love from Kate x

From Lucy Flint - To Flint Family and friends
Hello everyone! Thank you for my lovely letters and the flight details. I have cancelled the hostel, thank you for trying though Dad. I have a niggling feeling I gave library books to someone to return, I hope this has been done? I am terrible I know, sorry. Having an amazing time don't worry Mum I am no longer pale. I look forward to telling you all my Raleigh stories and seeing you over a delicious home cooked Christmas dinner. Lots of love Lucy xxx

Guest blog by Doug Meehan

Sunday 21 November 2010

Party time with Charlie One

On Thursday morning Carolyn, Anna, Doug and myself (Christina) headed to Uluvadu to visit Charlie One. The mood in the village was brilliant, the group are all very close and welcomed us with open arms, eager to show us the houses they have been building and introduce the local families they have been living beside. It was Katie's 19th Birthday so we were lucky enough to celebrate with them and the locals with some drum and flute music (provided by the locals) and dancing (led mainly by all the girls!)

Katie & Amy
The birthday girl

Venturer Kim has written a description of their time so far.

Guest Blog – Kim Delamare – Charlie 1

Kim with a few of the locals

Charlie 1.2 arrived in Uluvadu armed with safety hats, goggles and gloves. Our challenge on this part of the phase is to complete the brickwork, roofing and hardcore flooring of five tribal houses. The village is tiered due to its position in this densely green Nilgiri Hills. The steep inclines and regular showers provide us with a daily challenge. The slippery dance the team has developed to move around the site is proof of Darwinian evolution at its finest.

The climate has however left us with some memorable moments. Amy slipping in the infamous long drop *(don’t worry - just up to thigh level!)* and showering in the rain with the locals are just a small insight into the daily episodes we have come to love.

The villagers are of Tribal decent. Their fun loving and quietly accepting nature has made us feel part of Uluvadu. Cricket has become a regular street activity, smiling eager faces await the boys as they appear with a cricket bat. Celebrations in the evening are a cultural exchange of musical instruments, songs and games. This interaction with the residents of Uluvadu makes the hard work more than worthwhile.

A trip to CTRD headquarters helped us to understand the importance of our work. A truly amazing charity, run by equally inspirational people. Their efforts to support and integrate tribal communities have helped not only their living conditions but health, sanitation and education. Our contribution is the first stepping stone to making Uluvadu a self sufficient and developing model village. Our hard work in moving two elephants worth of concrete blocks, three elephants worth of sand and four elephants worth of rock up through our village to the five plot sites, and seeing the houses grow over our time here is really quite moving; especially when they stand next to their current mud brick houses.
Caroline, Kavita & Hubertus having a quick rest 
Kim, Anniek and Katie 
Completing the 2nd roof 

The heart-warming moment of seeing the three-thousand roof tiles that had made their way up a Raleigh chain, become actual waterproof ceilings for the people and their happy faces, was so inspiring. Again, the contrast from their current tarp/banana leaf roofs was stark.

We have been truly spoilt here in Uluvadu. The experiences we have gained, the astounding scenery and our spectacular chef Rama, who makes basic Indian food taste like the best Indian food, have all contributed to our community phase. Katie and Robbie’s birthdays were celebrated in style with sugary treats and cake.

Our visitors from Raleigh field base have given us an excuse to show off our village and work making us realise how far we have come from our rainy arrival all those weeks ago. Uluvadu is a special place with special people. It gives us great pleasure to have worked on this project and to connect with a community that has excepted our presence with no fuss.

Phase three are in for a treat!

Phase 2's Charlie One

The newly completed roof became useful pretty quickly...

Messages from Charlie 1:

From: Amy Gannon
To: Family and Friends

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your messages! Hearing my name sung to the A-Team tune was brilliant. Glad you’re well. I’m just ending 3 weeks in a tiny tribal village of 25ish people, building houses and carrying bricks and sand up lots of slippery hills! The surroundings are amazing and I am happy. Looking forward to TREKKING next for THREE WEEKS!

Love to you all xxx

From: Kim Delamare
To: Home

Sean! Wow that went fast, happy anniversary-ish too!
Daddy and Mummy, I love you and miss you. Love to the family!
Izzy, Steph, Harry, Thank you!

Love always, Kim xx

From: Kavita Shah
To: Mum, Dad, Deep

Hey all!

I am in a tribal village in the Nigiri Hills at the moment building houses would you believe it! The drive here was like our drive to Mussori when we went last time – round and round and round and up! We are very high up! I am having a good time – going to a tea plantation tomorrow. Hope all is well, miss you! Pass my regards to everyone. Lots of love, Kavita xxx

From: Caroline
To: Andrea

BON JOVI!!! GET IN!! So excited about it. Hope you are well and in the festive spirit. Feels a bit strange here that I havent heard any Christmas songs. Love you loads, Caroline xxx

From: Caroline
To: Ben

Hey Sweetheart, hope all is well out there. I’m counting down the day to your R+R.

I love you.

Caroline xxx

From: Anniek Akerboom
To: Thuis

lieve familie, fyn om te horen dat jullie nog aan me denken ;) ik heb een geweldige tyd hier in Uluvadu. Nooit gedacht dat ik een huis kou bouwen. Hopelyk komen er snel meer foto's op de blog. over een paar dagen zyn we weer in mysore dus dan kan ik weer emailen.

maarten, zou jy myn kamernet emails kunnen verwyderen? nog maar 4 weken in India, dus jullie hoeven my niet zo lang meer te missen en ik jullie. maar het is een super ervaring hier.

dikke kussen. hou van jullie!!!

To: Nick
From: Eira

Hey Nick, Thanks for a blog message – lovely surprise! The houses are going well, all walls complete and we have two roofs on!!! Speak to you in a few days – love Eira xxx

To: Danielle Frattinger
From : David

Hey Tootsie girl, its fantastic to hear about your volleyball and a little bit of publicity never hurt anyone. I am well and will get a phone call this coming Tuesday.

Food aka the enemy is fine, although shockingly i have pretty well become a forced vegetarian with chicken 3 times and tuna from a can 5 times in the whole six weeks.. on that note yes i have lost weight and have been eating all I can to ensure i don’t lose anymore, but it’s been fantastic and the stories with plenty of photos will abound. Good luck with your endeavours till I return home. David

All Photos by Christina Ambrose

Saturday 20 November 2010

Charlie Two: Time for Tea?

The Loop consisting of Polly B, Polly C, Christina, Del & Carolyn swooped into Hagarnahalli for an overnight visit to Charlie Two earlier this week.

The Loop being given a tour of the village by Erdinch & Katya
Hagarahalli is a medium sized village with around 180 families. Charlie Two are living right in the heart of the community, sleeping in the primary school and working side by side with the villagers to build eco sanitation units for twenty four families (twelve to be completed this phase, twelve next phase).

Charlie Two's day house

The group work hard days, in groups of three teaming up with the local masons who've taught them how to brick lay, roof and plaster the units. Despite the language barrier there's great banter and laughs between them all.

The second part of Charlie Two's work in Hagaranahalli is to educate the villagers about the importance of health and hygiene. The group have regular lesson slots in the three schools in the village. It's been a great experience for the Venturers to get to know the local children and ensure that they're work here is sustained after Raleigh leaves.

The  hospitality of the community in Hagarahalli has been unbelivable. The group are invited in for chai most evenings into family houses all across the village.

Charlie One told us how welcoming the whole village have been. I caught up with Fiona who described how they celebrated Diwalli on their arrival:
"They dressed us up in sari's and they were all so excited rushing around to get each of the us an outfit. We then walked round the village to celebrate and drink chai in all the houses. It was such an amazing day, like Christmas Day! Everyone was so excited about it and that we were involved in it. It was really unusal for them to have us their to celebrate it with them."

The group are having a opening ceremony woth the village on Monday to celebrate opening the twelve toilets. We're looking forward to hearing the stories.

All text by Polly Carpenter and photos by Polly Baldwin http://www.dynamicpictures.co.uk/ (unless stated otherwise). 

Messages from Charlie Two:

From: Shanelle Ward
To: Margaret Ward
Thank you for the huge message - it was brilliant. Good to hear Jazz is being her usual self & it's nice to hear about home. Try not to worry too much & remember I love you lots & lots & will see you soon xxx