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

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

Friday 25 February 2011

A whole lotta love and new teams announced...

The whirlwind two days that was changeover is now over and the teams have all been shuffled around, packed up again and at sunrise yesterday they started boarding the buses to head out to their new project sites or the start of their treks.

So before we get onto the HUNDREDS of messages from the guys to you lot wherever you may be, here are the new teams for phase two...

Charlie 1 – Community phase building bio-gas units in Vellary
Project Managers – Ros and Dave

Back row L-R - Dave (PM), Philip, Ellie, Rob, Hugh, Sarah, Georgia, Emily
Front row L-R Ros (PM), Karla, Elliott, Ameze, Caz, Clare
Martyn Parry is also in this team but was otherwise engaged during the photo shoot.

Charlie 2 – Community phase building eco-sanitation units in Boredevaramunti
Project managers - Mona and Kat

Back row L-R - Andy, Alex, Jonny, Sachin, James, Kieran
Middle row L-R - Mona (PM), Georgi, Lauren, Ellie, Bryony, Simone, Maddie, Georgia
Front row L-R - Alice, Lisa, Kat (PM), Anna.

Echo 3 – Environmental phase building solar fences and elephant trenches in Huskurhadi
Project managers – Eeva, Susan and Una

Back row - Philip, Daan, James, Guy, Richard, Lottie, Louis
Middle row L-R - Eeva (PM), Jess, Thatte, Sophie
Front row L-R - Laura, Susan (PM), Sheena, Karen, Una (PM)

Echo 4 – Environmental phase also building solar fences and elephant trenches in Basava Pura
Project managers – Kate and Stuart

Back row L-R - Andy, Ben, George, George, Alex, Philip
Middle row - L-R - Stuart (PM), Kate (PM), Binika, Clare, Lucy
Front row L-R - Genevieve, Danielle, Rachel, Fieke

Tango 5 – Trekking phase in Kerala
Project managers – Dan and Eleri

Back row L-R - Book, Dan (PM), David, Felix, Sophie, Sunil, Kannan, Nic, Ross, Eleri (PM)
Front row L-R - Daphne, Flo, Katy, Becky, Louisa, Laura.

Tango 6 – also a trekking phase in Kerala
Project managers – Stuart, Naomi and Polly

Back row L-R - Chloe, Rachel, Emily, Anne-Romee, Sam, Holly, Sean, Ed, Lauren, Chris, Wieger, Sian
Front row L-R - Scott, Naomi (PM), Stuart (PM), Polly (PM)

Before they headed off with their new friends, we showed them this slideshow below put together from all the photographs we'd collected from the teams as well as some of Kathryn's as a little reminder of what they got up to over the last three weeks, and to let them see a little more of what they could expect over the next three weeks...

I've just spoken to all the teams tonight during their updates and they're all well and happy in their new sites despite some of them getting a bit of rain which has been a bit of a shock to the system after not seeing a single cloud since arriving in India. So we've packed up any waterproofs that were left behind and sent them out on the first loop where Becca will catch up with Charlie 1 in the morning and then head out to see Tango 6 at their camp tomorrow night.

Now that you all know where they've headed, here's an update on what they thought of Phase 1 in their own words many people provided me with messages for you all back home. Apologies that some of these are now out of date as you may have had a chance to catch up with them over changeover, but it took a fair while to get all these typed up, I hope I've got names right and typed up the Dutch messages without too many mistakes!

From – Samantha Anderson
To – Mummy
Happy Birthday for Thursday! Hope you have an amazing day and get lots of lovely things. Thinking of you all. Love you millions and missing you x x x x x x
PS. I’m on TREK!!

From - Sam Anderson
To – Mum, Dad, Tanya and Shelby
Can’t believe you’ve bought another jukebox! Well I can, and looking forward to seeing it, but seriously dad you need to stop! Good luck to Shelby! Why was the date changed? Phase 1 is nearly over
L have loved it here. Glad you got my post-card! Thank you for cleaning my car J Dad – what’s it worth now? What colour is the new smart? Missing you and love you loads x x x

From – Sam Anderson
To Nan and Grandad
Love you both! Glad you’re keeping up to date with everything I’m doing! You can send me longer messages if you want! Say hi to everyone for me, can’t wait to come and see you! Miss and love you loads. Munchkin x x x

From - Sam Anderson
To – Alex Dima
Alex, sweetie you’ll be pleased to know that I have very much tickled your hippy side today, I had a shower outside! Completely starkers within our tarpaulin shower held up by trees, with the sun and sky above me. Thought of your message instantly and it made me chuckle!
J Love you, puffa x x x

From Sam Anderson
To – Everyone
There’s now a queue for the blog book so it’s another general one! We’ve virtually finished the bio-gas unit and built the house, just need to paint them now. Am becoming at one with nature - baths in the river and everything! Hope your weather improves at home and wishing sun for all of you.
Ellie, miss you! Hope you’re alright and haven’t replaced me yet! Glad you’re having fun you need to quit smoking – it’s not good for you! Didn’t understand the bit about you and jack, what’s going on there?
Jess, glad you’re keeping updated and don’t worry about the fake tan! I’ll amuse me to see the comparison.
Keri – yes, got it after your birthday – hope you enjoyed yourself and got my blog message.
Jason – hope ninja is ok, glad you didn’t call it Sam!
Sam, thanks for your message – was lovely to hear from you.
Can someone let me know how Phil is and what he’s doing – and get him to message me! Hope you’re all ok and managing without me! Miss you all and can’t wait to catch up when I get back! Just over 2 months left guys and girls!
Love to all of you x x x

From Scott Rae
To – Dad
Hi Dad, so nice o hear from you. Apparently there’s been a problem with the blog so your most recent post if the first I’ve received! Glad everyone is well at home. Having such an amazing time here.  Completed community project and heading out on trek tomorrow, I’ve also posted a long letter home. Keep in touch, Scott.

From - Kate Stacey
To – Everyone
Thanks you all for your lovely messages, having an amazing time...incredible India it is! Five weeks seems like five months with so many adventures and experiences but still haven’t mastered the head wobble! The mini espresso chai’s are a welcome treat – detoxing well! Built 15 toilets and now off to dig 2 metre deep, 500m long elephant trenches with solar panel fences, now known as Echo 4. Keep sending the messages, they are loved.
Lots of love
Kate x x

From Wieger Van Rinkhuyzen
To – Home
Message 1 – Lieve Mam, Pap en David
Zit nu in bassava Pura O.I.D GPS N 11-55-308, E 076-20-375 Basha city is klaar, myn basha heet sandtmannlaan India. Project is gwewldig en zit in een hele leuke groep!! 21 Feb gaan we terug en in de middag naar mysore ik skype jullie dan! Heel veel liefs, Wieger

Message 2 – Lieve 3, vandaag brief gepost! Is geweldig hier, contact met locale bevolking is het leukst! Hoed was een grap, alleen heb ik myn bril gebroken. Lenzen niet toegestaan... Raleigh regelt iets tydens changeover! Project vordert goed helaas byna over ... kyk uit naar mysore! Grote kans dat het vroeg in morgen hier is de 21 Feb, 9:30 ofzo. Skype is onzeker. Ik bel ik wel op redelyker tydstip voor jullie! Lezen jullie deze berichten? Laat even weten! Smakken en veel liefs! Ik word trouwens achtervolgd door vlinders! Hartelyk dank voor valentyns bericht! Laatste nacht hier slapen we by locale bevolking velen hebben tv + mobile maar geen wc :) mis het auto-ryden haha. Trip gehad naar golden temple and zoo achtervolgd door apen to en ik snoepje opened ;)
Liefs en dike knuffel, Wieger

Message 3 – Dear Mum, Dad and David, I’ve got new glasses! All set for next phase – trekking! Thanks for all your blog messages! Parcels are very welcome but not needed.
Lots of Love!

From – Lauren Smith
To – Jo
Message 1 – Thanks for the message! All is good here, I’m developing a nice t-shirt tan as we speak! In ten weeks all I’ll need is a can of Stella. On Monday I can email you some pics. Nice to hear from you!
Loads of love
Lauren x x x

Message 2 - Hey Jo, Yeah I am a massive douche! Everyone was taking the mick out of me for days lol! Thailand sounds amazing, will you go to the full moon party? I’ve heard it’s brilliant! Have fun.
Lots of Love
Lauren x

From - Lauren Smith
To  - Dad
Message 1 – That sucks about the kitchen, hope it gets sorted soon. All is good here – it gets hotter everyday! Backpack is fine so far. I haven’t had to do much walking – I’m just digging trenches at the moment. I’ll be able to email next week. Stay well and hope all is good.
Lots of love
Lauren x x x

Message 2 - Hey Dad, Tell Tawnie she is a sulky sausage and massive hug from me! I tried to email everyone yesterday but had five mins in the internet cafe! I’ll probably email properly after Raleigh, Am on the case with the foreign exchange and I’ll ring when I get it. Tell Tara I said good luck with Scotland!
Loads of Love
Lauren x
PS – can you give Jenny the blog site so I can know when she has the baby?

From - Lauren Smith
To – Tar
Hey Tar, How’s it going?? Not sure what the deal with dad’s birthday is! If you email me soon I can reply next week. How’s Tawnie and Bacon? Hope all is well with the move! Hope you’re all good in sunny old Brighton
Loads of love, hugs and kisses
Lauren x

From – Holly Peel
To – Mum
Dear Mum, Glad you got my message I was quite surprised when I received my first blog message from you, didn’t think your computer skills extended quite so far! I’m hoping to be on trek next, while environment has been fun I haven’t found it challenging which I assumed it would be.
Hopefully trek will be harder. Look forward to seeing you all in London. Received a package from Grandma today so will you thank her for me when you get a chance. Toothbrush is useful as I must have lost my original one when we went to the local school to teach the children how to brush their teeth. Give my love to Eds and Kate when you next speak to her.
Lots of love
Holly x x x

From Kieran Armour
To – Jan
Message 1 - Hi Jan, we are having a great time. I saw elephants yesterday and we are digging trenches to stop the elephants eating the farmer’s crops. I go down to the local village every day to have a cup of Indian tea with the locals. Tell everyone I said ‘Hi’. Have you got my postcard yet?
Speak soon
Love Kieran x

Message 2 – Hi Jan, can you mum know I’m having a great time, the work is hard in the heat. We are nearly finished the first phase, digging elephant trenches and solar fencing, I will be doing trekking or a community phase next for three weeks. The locals have taught me some Indian and tell everyone I was asking for them.
Stay in touch
Love Kieran x

From – Katy Star
To - Aunty Sue
Hey Sue, Thanks for the messages! Very hot as you’ve probably gathered... Toothpaste has completely melted, didn’t realise that was possible! Digging lots of trenches but haven’t seen any elephants yet
L Eating lots of curry...
Lots of love,
Katy x x x

From – Katy Star
To – All my flangetastic friends! Eg Bobs, etc
Hiya boys! The highly organised person that I am, as you well know, I have forgotten to bring your addresses...Oops. Please blog them on here if you want to receive awesome mail from me or even better, send me a letter and include your address! Please tell other Bob that don’t check the t’interbob often. Hope you’re not having too much fun without me! Love you Bobs x x x
PS. Send my fondest regards to Cohn Treborbe!

From – Katy Star
To – Dommer
Message 1 - Happy Valentine’s day lover! Cook me a romantic meal when I get back yeah? As long as it’s not curry! Love you loads x x x
PS. Please take pics of the daffodils and tulips etc when they bloom! Sad to be missing our new gardens first spring... Get thinking of some summer plants!

Message 2 – Thanks for the letter hurray! Hope you receive some of my post soon! Love to bob and brian... if they get too annoying just lock the cat-flap with them outside! Love you loads x x x
PS Please could you contact the bobs to make sure they’ve read the blog messages I left for them, especially Jane! Thanks xxx

From Katy Star
To Janio Mooobrain Laurie
Alroit Moo! Please can you leave me a message on here letting me know of the dat/time/number of your flights (both of them please) and I’ll start looking at the lonely planet for joyous things to do, yaay! Dead excited mate! Love you x x x
PS. I’m asking you this early because I’m trying to be organised for a change... hahahaha!
PPS. Brain?

From – Louise Mohsen
To – Mum and Ben
Message 1 - Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m pretty glad I’ve missed celebrating the momentous day in England... I’ve been on a treasure hunt instead! I’ve been ill these past few days but not to worry as I’m on the mend now! I was adamant I had the strongest stomach ever but apparently not. Some of the other girls came down with it too. We leave this camp on Monday for changeover, It’s all gone so fast!! Looking forward to your letter, starting to miss home and all its comforts now... please send me some Lidl dates and chocolate!! Hope Ben enjoys Valentine’s with his gf!! x x x
PS. I now hate curry.

Message 2 – Field base delivered your letter today. I haven’t written before because I was waiting for it! Loved Ben’s valentine’s card. That’s nice R and G cooked you two a meal, I can’t believe you all get so tearful, very sweet. That’s nice so many people are asking after me, send my love to Nan too. My ipod has broken – very upset! And camera has run out of battery... very annoying as I was dressed in a sari last night! Will tell all in the letter I shall start writing to you tonight. Pass this link to Chiara please as I haven’t heard anything from her yet! Keep writing!
Love and miss you x x x

From Louise Mohsen
To Aunty Geraldine
That’s so touching that Alex likes to check it daily before bedtime. Fieldbase come about once a week to deliver blog posts/post/tuckshop and collect photos and collect photos/info from us. I saw some of the photos they put up on the blog of us and I found them very strange to look at as I’m not used to looking at myself anymore! Last night we wnjoyed a street party in the village, I had an amazing time. They dressed us up in Saris and gave us bindis. It was all so surreal. We are currently working on a music video and we’ve just finished filming some of it in the waterand I’m just drying off. Looking forward to your letter.
lots of love x x x

From Louise Mohsen
To – Benjo
Hello Ricky martin, I miss you very much. Mum has told me you’ve been sleeping in my bed, I hope you’ve been keeping it tidy! Thank you for my Valentine, I was very happy to receive it. Hope Lucy has been singing your goodnight song to you anc you’re not missing me too much.
Love you sooo much x x x

From – Louise Mohsen
To – Lucy
Message1 - Happy Valentine’s Day hubby! Having a fab time, wish you were here so we could have our bedtime talks. I regularly look at your letter and it cracks me up every time... ‘Baaaaberrrr’! I’m very pleased you wrote me it. Please write to me and send some Green and blacks chocolate and perhaps spray some Allure on it to... I miss the smell of us!! Please also pass this blog link to the Chiara as I don’t think she has it. Hope you’ve been checking out the photos, you’ll notice I have a ‘food baby’ everyday... good old crackers! I am currently on a no biscuits diet as there are copious amounts being offered (and eaten) everyday!  I need you to do me a favour – please make my tagged photos private on my facebook! Thanks beautiful Lucypoo!
Lots of Valentine’s love x x x

Message 2 – Who’s party are you going to? Lol about Nichola, who the hell would have taken her invitation back? Send my love to Nic and Sin please! We had a party of our own last night. Spent the evening dancing in saris with the kids in the street to some great Indian music... I’m going to have to introduce you to some ‘choons’ when I return. Your taste has obviously taken a turn for the worst since I’ve been gone (mamma mia!). My ipod broke last night, not happy. Finished the elephant trenches now, we’re moving onto solar fencing tomorrow. I actually really enjoy digging, so much exposure to the sun is making my skin very dry though (picturing your face right now...). Hope the politics gathering satisfies the drama queen in you... can’t wait to hear about it! Take care big spoon x x x
PS JOKER for texting my mum...

From - Georgia Zervudachi
To – Granny
Thanks you very much for your message, it really made me smile. Yes there is a bug going round. I’m very lucky to be here so I’m taking everything in my stride and making the most of it. Tonnes of love as always x x x
From Georgia Zervudachi
To Mum
Glad your presentation went ok and well done! I’m loving the cooking and the digging of course! No solar fencing yet... everything is done Indian time! Got your parcels... you really don’t need to send them weekly, calm down! What’s going on in the world!?! Lots of love x x x

From Georgia Zervudachi
To Alex
Yes, I got ill but no I didn’t do what Nathan did! I’m having an amazing time (I sent you a postcard) last night the village threw us a street party and we all wore saris! I love you tonnes and have an amazing time snowboarding, I’ll be thinking of you, lots of love x x x
From Georgia Zervudachi
To Dad
Evaristo poli pour ton petit note – j’ai vous envoyer un postcard (a Geneve!) loving the kitchen, the digging and the whole experience . Gros bisous as always x x x

From Georgia Zervudachi
To Aunty Kate
It’s incredible! Thank you so much for your message! It’s great to hear from you. I hope you’re feeling better. Everyone’s lovely. The work is hard but I’m having so much fun! Fingers crossed for Egypt working out. Tonnes of love to everyone x x x

From Georgia Zervudachi
To Jamie
No skips but there is the fanta that would be illegally orange and sweet in England. I look forward to it 
J Love Georgia x

From – James Bell
To – Rachel
Happy Valentine’s Day! I am still going really well having avoided a bug that is going around camp (whoop) and am thinking of you lots and lots so I hope you are all okay! Miss you, lots of love James x x x

From – Lauren Bell
To – Mum, Dad, Robs, Ems and Amber
Missing you all! In my last 5 days of my first phase – cemented two solar powered poles into the ground today you ll would be so impressed by my manual labour skills! Can’t believe Emma is stretching her 9-4 working house! She must be exhausted, is she in bed by 8 nowadays instead of 9
J Well done Rob with driving hope you’re looking after MY car as well as I did! The afro is blossoming and Emma would be so disappointed with my hygiene skills! Hope you aren’t working too hard mum and dad and aren’t missing your favourite daughter too much! Keep writing and will be able to call you on the 21st Feb.
Lots of love
Lauren x

From - Becky Barnes
To – Mum
Hi Mum, Thank you so much for another parcel, what a lovely surprise, it’s such a luxury to receive new items and treats when everything I own is covered in mud! I hope you are well, we have changeover on the 21st and 22 Feb so I will try and be in touch then. It’s weird not being able to text or to skype. I am really happy – definitely facing challenges now and then but that’s what it’s all about. I’ve sent some letters and hope they arrive soon. Glad you like the necklaces.
Love you loads, Bec x x x

From - Becky Barnes
To – Ruth
Thanks for the blog message. I can’t believe you’ve been to Pai – I’m so glad you’ve visited it and love it too. Sounds like you’re having an immense time – I wish i could join you! Keep having an amazing time, I’ll email you soon.
Love you loads
Bec x x x

From - Elliot Leishman
To – Mum and Dad
Have just sent you a post card but will take a while to arrive. Hope you two had a good valentine’s day and very jealous you’re going to see penguin cafe orchestra!  Don’t forget you can send parcels some sweets that don’t melt would be nice, like mentos!
Talk to you soon,
Elliott x

From – Dan O’Flynn
To – Collette
HI Lettuce! Glad to hear your new job is already taking you to exciting places! Nearly finished in Basa Pura, we cemented in poles today, then I got back to camp and had a message from you – thank you so much! Miss you and love you lots x x x

From – Dan O’Flynn
To – Ma and Pa
Thanks you for your message, hope you both had fun birthdays! I look forward to seeing the cruise photos! Have fun at the party in Liverpool.
Lots of love
Dan x x x
Ps. Love to Molly!

From - Sean Cullinane
To – Everyone
Hi, I’m doing great and having a good time. Although it’s hard work doing the digging. Hope everything’s ok at home. We have had a couple of great days off though and please don’t worry if we don’t manage to reply to your blog posts straight away, we only get the change every week or so.
From Sean

From – Binika Liu
To – everyone
Thanks Mam, Briony and Tanita for the blog messages, definitely made my day! Only just got them all now! Thinking of you all! I’m having an amazing time, just finished my first trekking phase going to my community or environmental soon so continue your messages. Weather is sooo hot – so hopefully have a tan! Miss you all.
Love yas,
Binika x x x

From – Binika Liu
Hey baby! Thanks for all my messages, can’t believe you found the blog! LOL. Just got them all now! Can’t believe you’ve lost weight – is that before or after the promenade in Tenerife?! LOL. Hope you had a brilliant valentine’s day without me
J We had loads of games around the camp fire – obviously not as good as your company! Definitely missed you on that day baby! I have a GREAT group, don’t know how the next group will shape up?! The crack is sooo good! I’ll tell you all about it though when I call. I love you so much sweety, can’t wait to see you! Wish you were here, I’m having such a great time! Hardest few weeks of my life – I better have abs of steel and the perkiest behind ever after this! You will be proud! Weather is fab! Soooo hot – yes I have a t-shirt, tights tan – very attractive! Miss you!
Love you lots,
Binika x x x

From – Ameze Simbo
To – friends and family
Hey Ya!
Last few days have been hectic and the days go so quickly, we wake up around 6am every morning and eat porridge under the stars LOL. We trekked up two of the highest mountains in the Western Ghats this week, never thought I would be climbing mountains so big! The one we did today was around 2000m above sea level and took us around 3 hours to complete. Pretty amazing especially as we live on cold rice bags (I hate cold rice!) and parle-g biscuits (most addictive biscuits ever!) when we got to the summit the view was breath-taking – we were standing above the clouds! I took some videos because my camera is still dead
L we had another day of cycling this week, much easier than the last one! I can’t describe how amazing the views are so when I get a chance I will upload photos on facebook or something. I go back to field base soon so really sad to be ending this phase but also excited about doing something new. My group have been great (Tango 6 originals!) and the banter is awesome and I have a new love for bananas (mum, you will be proud!).

Oh and Kim – Thanks so much for your messages, they rally cheered me up today, you haven’t forgotten me! Yay! LOL, can’t wait to see you guys, seems like so far away got my tan on though so you guys need to catch up by April LOL! Kim, I’ve lost so much weight already my shorts keep falling down! G, I told you to behave while I’m away LOL Jokes, and everyone Loves the Africa pants!
Mum and Lucy – I’m so glad you guys are ok, I miss your cooking so so much! Can’t believe Ava is at nursery already, hope she is enjoying herself and is talking loads! And I bet Ava will be so big when I get back, hope she remembers me! Good shout on the bottle-milk front, about time! With the package, I just need more cream LOL.

Kwesi – thanks for the messages and the letter was really nice, you obviously typed it at work, tut tut LOL. I’m ok I’ve gone so dark and feel so much fitter. Thanks for going to Mum’s for Sunday lunch, hope you have been visiting her loads LOL. Please tell me what is happening in a) Eastenders b) Being Human c) Jersey Shore (If you can handle it, LOL, season 3 on fast pass tv) hahaha snort
J can’t wait to show you my landscape photos, I took 250 photos on the first day and ran my battery out! Say I should take up photography. Missing your lame jokes and your car metaphors, hope the BM ain’t causing you too much trouble! Don’t forget to brush your hair, I know you haven’t since I left “) will text you in a few days.
Wow – I have written way to much! Missing you guys so so much and loving the messages, they keep me going J
Hugs and kisses all round,
Love Amz/Meh/Am-easy x x x

From - Sam Ummat
To Mum, Dad, Ben, Alice and Max
Hi guys – how are you all? Thanks so much for all the blog messages, but getting pretty slated for all of them! I miss you loads but am having an amazing time! It’s so beautiful here and everyone in my group is so cool and I wish I could stay for longer. We woke up and left at 3am this morning and climbed a 1900m mountain and saw a fresh tiger kill! I have seen some of the most amazing things ever and can’t believe how unbelievable it is here.
Speak soon,
Love Sam x x x

From - Sam Ummat
To – Joanna
Hey Joanna, how are you? Everything here is amazing. I literally could not be having a greater time. Everyone is so cool and I have done and seen I never thought I’d ever do. I wish I could stay longer. I miss you loads and it’s been so nice to hear from you in your messages and well done with your exams, that’s amazing!
Speak soon and miss you.
Love Sam x x x

From - Sam Ummat
To – Alice
Hey Al, How are you? Hope all’s good and you and mum aren’t arguing loads! I’ am literally having so much fun and have loads of amazing stories to tell you! Miss you loads.
Love Sam x x x

From Jessica Gibbons
To – Mum, Dad, Andrea, Carl, Francis, Christine and Simmie
Thanks for my messages! They were lovely and it was great to hear from you. The trekking phase has definitely been a challenge but really rewarding as well. I’ve got loads of stories to tell you when I can ring home. We’ve climbed at least 2 mountains which was amazing. I haven’t had any time to even start my book, Raleigh keeps us all very busy! Glad everyone is well at home I’ll speak to you all as soon as I can.
Loads of love from Jess x x x

From Sarah Churlish
To – Mum and Dad
Thanks for the blog messages and letters. The girls from field base arrived today after our trek up the highest mountain in the Western Ghats and delivered all our messages. It’s really great to hear from you all. I’m loving it here. We’re coming to the end of phase 1 now and there will be photos coming soon. The photographer has only been with us today and leaves tomorrow so there’ll be on here soon. I feel like it’s been ages but it’s going really fast at the same time, it’s really strange. Anyway, over the past few weeks with Tango 6 I have been trekking around 15k a day, arriving at a new camp at 3ish then either swimming/washing in a nearby river or lake. We’ve had 2 days of cycling, each around 40k a day and 2 chill-out days, one of them being a rafting day. OS i’ve been kept very busy and am shattered but loving it. I can feel myself getting fitter as well so as a group we’re getting better at the challenging treks. The views at the top are incredible – well worth the hard work! In terms of food it’s all very basic on trek. Pasta, rice or noodles for tea, crackers and cheese or rice for lunch and porridge for breakfast, We’ve had some great meals out as well and I’m mastering eating rice and curry with fingers – I’m going to get you guys doing this when I get back. Anyway, I hope all is well at home. I get back to field base in a few days so will give you a text. Missing you all.
Lots of love, Sarah x x x x

From Sarah Churlish
To – John
Hey ugly! Thanks for the message, it made my day dude. Didn’t think people as ugly as you could use computers, but nice try. Yeah I have an awesome Indian friend who casually picks up snakes haha, too cool for you though. Wow, impressive name badge news – but magnets? Really? That’s just so it can be easily lost and then can replace you so don’t get too excited. I’ve been trekking around 15k a day up crazy steep mountains – you’d be proud. And I’ve actually developed muscles so prepare yourself, I can punch hard and I have another 6 weeks to practice. I hope everything is ok at home, missing you loads. Say hi to the middle Churlish for me and get his ugliness to the blog too. You’d love it here – keep looking for the photos. Going to Mysore (the nearest town) in a few days so I’m going to try and get on facebook and you can see my impressive t-shirt tan, it’s white then whiter tights ha ha, Anyway speak soon – miss you all.
Lots of love Sarah x x x

From – Jonathan Williams
To – Family and friends
Thanks so much for all your messages! Please send them!
Love your ‘son’, ‘brother’ and ‘friend’.
See you around
(Note from editor - Jonny has since revived 2 messages and is over the moon! Keep them coming!)

From - Clare Evans
To – Penny Evans
Hey Mum! Good luck with the pond – molly is so cute! We have a puppy where we are camping, he lives next door and comes to visit often. We’ve called him Zachery and he can only be about ten weeks old. I’ve sent a postcard with an itinerary of animal sightings – no elephants yet but we’re not in the right place at the moment. Finished building the biogas unit and cow shed (pretty much) and the house we’re building just needs roofing and plastering though we won’t be here long enough o see it completed which is a shame. Weather is amazing (Alice would be so jealous!) and even am tanning slightly. Hope you’re all well, how it grandma? I forgot to ask in my previous message, I hope she is feeling better. Send her my love and carry on giving the animals hugs from me.
Love Clare x x x

From - Laura Bryce
To – Lisah Laurie
Hey Babe! All is good
J how’s things at your end? I’m having a blast and the weather is amazing! So hot! Miss yous all like mad but three weeks gone already I’ll be home before you know it! Send my love to everyone. Yours is the first blog message I’ve had so far J Been down GX lately? Tell Julie and that that they better message me pronto or we’ll be having words when I get home, I’m dying to know what’s been happening! Heard from my mum or that? Speak soon gorj <3
Love you lots x x x

From Danielle Sharpe
To Mum and Dad
Hello! I got your message today which was nice, I have sent you a letter telling you about everything my end so that can be a nice read for you on return from America. Just wanted to let you know I’m ok and having an amazing time! Hope you are enjoying America!
Love you lots x x x

From Dharmendra Patel
To Mum and Dad
Hi, got two blog messages from you, one on the 3rd Feb which I already replied to and one on the 7th A lo fog people blog so that’s what there are lots of messages. I also sent you a letter on 2nd Feb. I am loving it here and don’t want to come home but looking forward to seeing you all.

From Fieke Haak
To Mum
Hee Mam, geen zorgen ik krijg al je berichtjes. Hopelyk lees je dit! De zie heb ek tijd om te mailen dus dan sms ek wel als ik op de computer ben. Hier goat alles goed! Heb ook je brief ontuangen! Groetjes aan indereen, dike kius!!

From Philip de Koning
To Man, Pap etc
Heb jullie berichtjes ontuangen. Ook een van anonymous , Marijke misschien? Alled goed hier nog steeds. Phase 1 alweer bijna afgelopen. Hoop dat het ook goed gaat met jullie. Maandag de 21e ben ik op de computer, misschien spreek ik jullie dan maar ik weef hief hoelaat. Ik mail in ieder geval.

From Stuart Vincent
To All
Hi everyone, lazy as ever doing one message to all. Helped build my first biogas unit and walls of a house which is fun. Learning other basic skills like washing clothes on rocks in the local river. Community phase has been awesome although not sure they fully get the British humour.
All the best to everyone back home, I’m looking forward to another few months in the Indian sunshine.

From Guy Scott
To everyone
Hi everyone, hope you’re all well at home. Great to speak to you and sorry about interrupting the skiing!
Hope all is well and love you all very much

From Martyn Parry
To Mum and Dad
Hey mum and dad, trek went well, I’m still ok.
Speak soon.
Martyn x x

From Georgi Tandy
To Rupert
Heeeey Rupert! I got all your messages at once so it was super confusing! Where are you to send post to? Got back from trek today and I bet I’m winning our fitness competition! So, you ok? I just got your letter so I haven’t read it yet but it’s sitting on my bed.
Write soon
Georgi x x x x x

From Georgi Tandy
To – Dad
Cool! Hope you’re having a good time. Finished trek and it was pretty amazing! I can’t wait for the next bits. Write soon.
Georgi x x x x x

From Richard Smith
To Mum, Anne Smith
Birthday tomorrow, where is my present? OS can you phone my work and make sure I got paid please, check on google for the number. Other than that, moving on to the next phase in the morn.
See you soon
Richard x

From Andy Jehring
To Will Jehring
First of all thanks for telling everyone about the blog, I’m just sorry your still an awful person. In an odd chain of events, Trevor has become God-king after a tribal revolt. Pfft New York, after a bucket shower and relentless servings of porridge I have no time for that place. Slightly worried about what pictures are up, But I’m sure it’s just a bit of ‘character building’. Anyway, happy 21st and I hope to blog you soon.
Yours, Arsey J (long story)

From Andy Jehring
To Judith Jehrong
Yay money! Everything is coming together! This is all awesome news, thank you. Just completed the trek which was absolutely amazing – took loads of pictures. Wish Grandpa happy birthday from me, I hope he for all he ever wished for. Anyway, I have to go and prepare my fancy dress costume now, I’ll blog you again when I can.
Andy x

From Andy Jehring
To The Tattows
Nice to hear you’re following the blog, I’m currently developing a rather grimy beard that will make it even harder to recognise me! There should be envy – we built a ‘loo with a view’ on survival day that looked out over the mountains, it was beautiful. I guess if Helen is enjoying them all and doing well then there is no need to drop any but if she’s struggling with one in particular then I’d drop it. I hope that vaguely helps, but now I have to bucket shower after a 200km trek.
Blog soon,

From Andy Jehring
To Serena
Yeah, the whole ‘get a phone out here’ plan failed completely... Blogging seems to pretty much the only way I can contact you, it makes a massive difference hearing from you
J Ha ha, you wait until you read my journal, pretty damn emotional ;) It’s amazing out here and I have a beautiful t-shirt tan/bum lines to show off when I get back. It’s getting pretty desperate out here, all vegetarian food – gonna need some pork chops and a Nandos on return. Say hi to everyone at Atlantic point from me, I’ve met a guy from Liverpool who went to John Moore’s – he’s going to show me all the sights when I get back! I’m really enjoying this now but missing you a lot, I’ll blog you soon!
Love you Andy x x x

From Laura Oakley
To Mum, Dad and family
Got back to field base today and finally got all your letters and parcels! Still in the process of reading them but thank you so much! Tango 5 enjoyed the bubbly chocolate even if it was a bit melted. The compeeds would have been great on trek but I’m still blistered so I can get some use out of them. Finally had a ‘real’ shower and put on clean clothes which feels great! Loved Alfie’s letter by the way. Am still really enjoying myself and excited about next phase. Will write you a letter all about trek as soon as I can.
Love you all, take care
Laura x

From Genevienve McAreavey
To Liz and John, Quinn, Rhiannon
Heya, missing all of you guys so much. Dad I am getting your messages and I am loving them so please keep sending blog messages and letters they are keeping me going and are something to look forward to every time mail comes through. Will send you guys a long letter soon telling you how it’s going. But just to say India is amazing and I am having a lot of fun. Oh, please could somebody send me some strawberry laces please, am craving them so bad. Miss you and will contact you soon.
Love and kisses
Genevieve x x x

From Genevienve McAreavey
To Ollie, Isla, Melissa, Marcia, Verity, McKay
sorry I have not been sending you loads of postcards, there is a shortage of stamps here. But will try and let you know what I am doing as soon as possible. MISS YOU GUYS SO MUCH and cannot wait to see you all when I get back. Please blog me if you get this.
Love you all
Genevieve x x x

From James Hollins
To Suzie Hollins
Just got back from a really good half day in Mysore, went to a pizza place and stuffed my face (no change there then!). Going to find out my next phase tomorrow, will be much easier as we have done the hardest one first, which will be good. Was good to talk to you today.
Lots of love
James x x x x

From James Hollins
To Sarah Hollins
Yes I can still smell you from India. I have a party tonight, going as Rambo as it’s an ‘R’ theme. Seeing as I just talked to you today I have run out of things to say other than ‘You massive geek!!!’
lots of love
James x x x x

From Anne-Romee
To Coebergh Famile
Lieve allemaal, heel veel plezier in Dienten! Vind het heel jammer dat ik er niet bij kan zijn, maar geniet hier volop! Hard werken ook maar vooral nievwe mooie ervaringen! Gisteren een feest in echte sari gehad! Gedanst met groep en belvoners van liet dorp waar ons kamp is onder de sterrenhemel. Uniek en geweldig! Paste zelfs in de saris ondanks dat ik 3 koppen groter bend an de mensen hier, dus echte Indian Style! Maandag of dinsdag kan ik bellen waar schijnlyk, dus dan horen jullie van me Mis jullie! Heel veel liefs!
xxx Anne-Romee

From Anne-Romee
To Mieke, Jolanda en Peter
heel veel dank voor jullie berichten! Superleuke om iets over Borneo te horen, jammee van het weer daar! Doe heel veel liefs aan Bente en Bobby, ga proberen zee en bericht te sturen maar weet niet of dat lukt. Veel liefs x Anne-Romee

From Ellie Burton
To – Jeannette Burton
Hyaaa! Woah, Can’t believe there’s snow forecast for the UK (actually, yes I can...) Early starts haven’t been a problem as we tend to be in bed for 9! Shock horror. Weather is getting hotter by the day just as the long drop is getting smellier! A happy belated Valentine’s to you also, I’ve not been too well this week but the medic came and worked her magic so I’m healthy and happy again! Yep, biceps ahoy! Don’t get your expectations up too high, they’re still the most pathetic in the group! As for emails, those from jobsite and facebook can both be deleted, ta. Still no new camera as we’re miles from anywhere, on the upside I saw elephants!! (Though couldn’t photograph them) and lots of snakes too! Ssssspeak soon, hope you’re well and at least you’re sorted grit –wise for the next dump of snow!
Missing you x x x x

From Ellie Burton
To  David Burton
Hiya! How’s it going? Didn’t get your other blog but thanks for checking in. Echo 3 is the best! They’re a terrific bunch and a very supportive team (even at 5:30 in the morning over breakfast). Now completely acclimatised to sleeping under the start listening to crickets and elephants! My basha is very comfortable although it’s often cold at night. Incredibly hot during the day so we take to the shade in the afternoons and crack on with the creative projects (we’re making a music video at the moment). The tribal community we’re working with are fantastic, so dynamic, friendly and eager to learn. Have taught at the local school, been dressed in saris and taught some exciting wobbly dance moves! Enjoying every minute of the experience and will keep you updates x x x

From James Bell
To Rachel
Hey Rachel! Finally got your letter today (17/02) and it was really nice to read. I promise to reply to it very soon to give you the lowdown on everything that has happened. I am still well (having avoided the camp illness) and have a few wounds to speak of from playing cricket etc but am still healthy. Also it’s really good that James got those tickets, I am so looking forward to it already especially the seeing them part. The other day we went to a National Park and go and swim in a waterfall and (sadly for you) we saw some wild elephants, mating snakes and lots of monkeys! I hope you are still doing well and your surfing plans sound good so stay safe and I will speak to you soon.

Lots of love James x x x x x
PS could you send me more photos mwah x x x

From James Bell
To Mum and Dad
Thank you for your message! I can’t believe Carroll left, I can’t picture him being in a red’s shirt and Martins was a good signing. Huskurhadi (where we’re living) is so nice, last night we had a huge village party with lots of music and dancing, it was amazing and the other day we were playing cricket with the kids – the community is so accommodating! I am getting a nice tan and am all healthy so I am having a great time. Keep me posted on everything inc NUFC. I hope everyone is well.
Lots of love James x x x

Tuesday 22 February 2011

The boys (and girls) are back in town...

Following on from this morning's rather short post, here are more details on what’s been going on in the expedition for the last few days, and crikey, they’ve been busy!

Firstly, I’m happy to announce that we have eight new venturers that have flown over to India to join us from all different parts of the UK. Polly picked them all up from Bangalore very early on Saturday morning and after being shown around field base, they were straight into the jetlagged induction sessions.

Welcome to our new explorers.
L-R - Sheena, Georgia, Chloe, Karen, George, David, Lisa, Bryony.

Today saw all the teams arrive back at field base and it’s been so great to see everyone again and welcome them back home, if only for a few days.

Echo 3 returning.

Echo 4.

Meeting up with old friends.

Tango 5's tent cleaning session.

They've cleaned their kit (and themselves hopefully!), caught up with old friends, compared dirty nails and tans and have now headed into the local city of Mysore for the afternoon before coming back for dinner and a few celebrations tonight where a quick skit depicting their last three weeks was in order, all in fancy dress of course!

Charlie 1 going all Jeremy Kyle on us.

Charlie 2 tell us their fairy tale.

Echo 3 sing us an amazing song about 'stare boy'.

Echo 4 taking a cat nap.

Tango 5 share their amazing banana song, love it!

Tango 6 also tell their tale through songs.

Now that the guys are all back we’ll be having a proper catch up with all the teams and looking at all their photos to see which ones are suitable for publishing on here! So while we filter through ALL of everyone’s photos (we could be here for a while) here’s a very brief update on how some of the teams plus some more photos of our loop visit to see Charlie 1 and Tango 6

Echo 3
Eleri popped over to see the guys in Huskurhadi for a few hours just as they were downing their tools from the morning’s work. The weather here in India is getting very humid as the temperatures rise so both the Environmental projects have had a tough job of digging in the heat but judging by their faces today, they’ve loved it! They’ve been back up to the local school a few times, and have also been working with the local villagers in the afternoons.

Echo 4
Polly joined the team in Basava Pura for an afternoon to catch up on how they’d been getting on. The digging was going well and the fences were up which is great so they were on to paining the fence poles.  They’ve also continued to spruce up their camp and give sessions at the local school which has been great fun. 500m of trenches

Charlie 2
Becca headed out to catch up with the team in BD Munti at the end of last week to see how they were getting on in the closing stages of their phase. They’ve managed to get all the 15 toilets built at the individual houses which is fantastic, and they were in the middle of painting them when Becca arrived.  They were all then looking forward to the opening ceremony that the village was planning to celebrate the team’s hard work, nice one guys!

While all that was going on, Kathryn, Una and I were out for four days to catch up with Charlie 1 and Tango 6 neither of which we’d seen since the very start of the phase so we were looking forward to seeing how they’d been getting on for the last two and a half weeks, which is a long time on expedition.

Charlie 1
After a quick overnight trip to see Vijay our project partner at CTRD again, it was time to head over to Vellary, just within the borders of Tamil Nadu, to catch up with Eeva, Stuart and the gang in their beautiful camp to see how the building work was taking shape. They were all having an amazing time and making the most of the beautiful surroundings by doing early morning runs into the tea plantations and playing the local village football team each night down at the nearby field in the evenings. And in between these games, they’re building boi-gas units and a house from 9am – 5pm each day so they’re working and playing pretty hard.

It’s clear to see they've become very close with the families they’re working alongside and it was lovely to see the young children who had once shied away from the team now running up to them and asking to play. We were keen to meet all the animals they’d named in their last update and did get to meet Jeremy the goat and Zachery the very cute puppy but alas the prawns weren't  at home when we popped by, shame.
They gave us a tour of the camp and proudly showed us what they’d been building which was pretty impressive for the time they've been there.

Dharmendra and Fieke show us the wall of the biogas cow shed they've built and added their names to.

The cow shed the team have built which now just needs a roof.

Back row L-R - Stuart (PM), Kannan, Dharmendra, Scott
Middle row L - R - Rachel, Clare, Ben, Eeva (PM), Ed, Danielle
Front row L - R - Sam, Laura, Philip, Fieke

They've installed a bio-gas unit which involves building a cow shed as well as digging a huge hole in the ground behind it and building the bio-gas dome within the hole. It was great to see that the village cockerel that has been keeping them awake at night even got in on the building action as his foot prints were clear to see in the cement slabs they’d prepared.

They've also been building a house for one of the village families as theirs was washed away in monsoons some time ago and they haven’t yet been able to afford to build a new one. So with some help from Raleigh, they’ve been helping the team to build their new house which was also coming along nicely.

Showing round the house they've been working on.
L-R - Kannan, Ben, Fieke, Ed, Stuart (PM), Danielle, Phil and Dharmendra.

As we left them they were all set to get painting on the cow sheds and continue working on the house, in preparation for a village party and opening ceremony yesterday so we’re keen to hear how that all went and see the all important photos! Everyone was really enjoying living in Vellary and working with the villagers and were going to be very sad to leave, especially when we said they couldn't bring the prawns back with them.
After a lovely lunch provided by the family they’re camping with, we set off on a three hour trip to Kerala to catch up with one of our trekking groups, Tango 6, at their camp near the Chembra peak which they had climbed that afternoon (2100m) following a night trek, serious stuff huh!

Tango 6
After a very bumpy drive through the tea plantations we caught up with them at the forestry watchtower that was the camp for the night. As they’d been up since 2am that morning we expected to be greeted by some very tired trekkers, however the thought of messages from home, as well as chocolate and crisps that we had brought for them, definitely had them in high spirits as the sun set spectacularly over the surrounding hills. After catching up on all the gossip over dinner, including a very long joke from Rob, and a few games it was time for everyone to bed down for the night in the open air roof of the watchtower under that night’s full moon.

View from the watchtower

Sarah writing up her diary with the best view possible.

So after a reasonably timed wakeup call of 6am it was time to head out for a day’s trek with the guys back through the tea plantation and forests and up to the following night’s camp on the side of the Ellembileri hills surrounded by two further peaks and forests below.

Looking back over the team plantations to the watchtower we'd just come from.

Tango 6 have certainly worked out how to trek in style, with people singing all the way to camp (S Club 7 being my personal favourite – what harmonies!), various games to choose from (20 questions to guess the right celebrity or the ‘Friends quiz’) and darn quick walking pace which meant we were at camp before lunch. So it was bags down and tents up before tucking into the much loved combo of tinned cheese, crackers and peanut butter. After lunch and some tent cleaning in the scorching heat, it was off down the very steep hill to the nearby river too cool down and get a much needed wash.

Sarah, Ameze and Clare enjoying the freezing cold water.

Maddy and Sam then knocked the team up a lovely dinner of pasta before they were all sat round the campfire to talk about how far they've come as a team over the last 18 days. As it was their penultimate night together, they were so proud of how hard they’d worked together to get to the top of so many mountains as a group and it was clear that the physical and mental struggles that trekking brings has clearly brought them very close as a team.

After a quick trip to possibly the steepest short drop toilet in the history of trekking, it was time for bed to prepare for their last day of this phase which started with the best possible wakeup call I’ve ever experienced. Despite it being dark, cold and 5:15am everyone woke up so cheery as Ameze played the ukulele and sang to announce that the porridge was ready, soon everyone was singing back from their tents as backing singers, brilliant! 

Packing up to leave camp.
Jen, Jonny, Susan (PM), Alex and Clare.

We said cheerio to the group after a 2km trek back down the very steep hill to where they would pick up the mountain bikes they’d be riding that day to cover off the last 50km of the trek. Once the fetching cycling shorts, padded saddles and helmets were in place, it was time to wish Tango 6 farewell on the last stretch of their journey. I’d put money on the fact they sang and laughed all the way to their last camp fire of the phase.

Tango 6 on two wheels.
L - R - Sarah, Clare, Jess, Thatte, Susan (PM), Stuart (PM), Rob, Binika, Phil, Sam, Simone, Maddy, Ameze, Alex and Jonny

Susan's bum before it was stung by a bee during the bike ride.

We then headed back to field base to get cleaned up, meet the new venturers that had arrived and prepare for everyone returning today. 

We're also saying a sad 'So long' to two of our venturers who were only able to stay with us for the first phase, so Dharmendra (Charlie 1) and Sam (Tango 6) will both be leaving us after changeover to head off on their next adventure. Both are great guys and will be missed, good luck guys, we hope you had a blast!

We’ll be back on Wednesday with photos and news of the end of Phase 1 as well as details of this changeover and the all important project allocations for Phase 2!

Oh, one final thing, I have LOTS and LOTS of blog messages from the guys to you lot back home so I’ll get these typed up and on here as soon as I can over the next few days.