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

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

Thursday 7 April 2011

This is our last goodbye...

Well it's almost time to shut down the computer, switch off the lights and head back to the bunks for the very last time. It's a strange feeling here with everyone reminiscing about all that has taken place over the last three months and reflecting on everything we achieved and the good times on the expedition.

Here's a quick summary of exactly how much hard work everyone has put in over the last three months...

Community projects

  • The Charlie 1 groups built, plastered and painted 2 tribal village houses, 3 cowsheds and 3 biogas units in Vellary
  • The Charlie 2 groups built, plastered and painted 45 eco-sanitation toilets in BD Munti
Environmental projects
  • Repaired 500m and dug 1,200m of new elephant-proof trenches 2m by 4m wide in Huskurhaddi and Basava Pura
  • Installed 1.2km of sloar-powered electric fencing
Adventure projects
  • Trekked 990km through the mountains of Kerala between the teams
  • Cycled over 270km through local villages
  • Climbed peaks of 2,130m high, twice the height of Ben Nevis

Quite an impressive list for ten week's work. On top of this we've met some incredible people along the way, both in our own Raleigh teams and beyond in the villages we've been working in.

Kathryn will be uploading the last of the photos to the Picasa album in the next few days to take a peek at that for more shots of the fun we've been having.

You can also keep in touch with Raleigh on their website and the next expedition will be appearing on this blog in June.

A huge thanks goes to all of the people that have made this expedition so fantastic. Your work, humour and dance moves have been second to none. 

Thank you also to all of you that have been reading and commented on the blog, it's been an absolute joy to keep you updated on our shenanigans. It's also been a real pleasure to be able to pass on your kind and funny words from home over the last few weeks, the impact they had on people was huge. 

But all good things must come to an end and hopefully this has just been the start for some of us  in giving us a taste for adventure and helping others in the future.

So for the very last time, I shall wish you good night.

This is expedition 11A listening out.

The end of the road...

Lovely readers, thank you for your patience - I know this penultimate post has been a while coming but to make up for it, I've made it a total whopper. There's highs, lows, tears and toads.

So let's go back in time to just before the end of the final phase when we attended the inauguration ceremony at BD Munti. The expedition teams built 45 eco-sanitation toilets in the village to help reduce water pollution and promote health and hygiene awareness. We arrived at the school where the teams had been staying to find all the group dressed up in their finest clothes and all the villagers had come out to be part of the lovely ceremony which was fantastic to be part of and great to recognise the hard work that the teams, project partners and school staff had all done over the last three months.

The ceremony opened with a song from three schoolboys

The entire team were then given beautiful flower garlands as a thank you for all their hard work.

PM's Celine and Cat join in with the blessing with William de Souza from MYKAPS

Phil and Binika say a word of thanks to everyone on behalf of the venturers

Chris also gets up to say a few words about how much he's loved his time in the village

The grand opening of one of the toilets built during the expedition, with Paul (Financial Director) from Raleigh doing the honours
Almost as soon as we returned from BD Munti, we heard the first bus roll into field base carrying the venturers back from their final phase on expedition. So once everyone had hugged, unpacked and cleaned their kit it was time for an early night before the 5am wake up call for the 10k run that you kindly sponsored us for. We raised a cracking total of £1,825.00 which is fantastic and means we can build a tribal village house and also put money towards future projects at Jayapura school.

Due to the 40 degree heat, we had to run at sunrise at 6am. There weren't many volunteers for making porridge that morning but James Bell and David Gutteridge kindly managed to get fuel in us all before we set off, thanks lads!

Some of the boys made a tough run even tougher by wearing backpacks full of rice bags - crazy!
L - R Chris, Stuart (PM), Phil, and Thatte

Country Director Mark wearing his short shorts even shorter

On your marks, get set...


Chris, Ross, Phil, Richard, Stuart (PM), Scott and Holly running through the local village of Jayapura.

PM Stuart running with his additional weight of about 17kg.

Running through the local streets as the sun came up

The winners of the 10k race with Guy coming in first place, Ed in second and Andy in third place. They all managed to complete the run in under 40 minutes, staggering!

PM Susan comes in 6th and is the first lady to complete the run, well done Susan!

Lucky for us all Mark's shorts are now at a more respectable height as he tries  to cool down with a spray from a water pistol.
Thatte ran carrying not one, not two, not three but four tents! It was a real struggle but he completed the course with a little help from his friends who went back out to help him in the final stages. Good work Thatte, we salute you.

Thatte, Elliott, Stu, Phil and Chris empty all the weight from their bags. You think they'd be sick of carrying heavy backpacks by now.

After a quick break to recover it was straight onto the 'Pull the bravo' competition. Everyone got into teams of four with two boys and two girls in each team. We soon realised that they didn't just have to pull the bravo along, they also had to pull the weight of the three drivers sitting in it.

Tango 5's Daan, Lisa, Clare and Sachin prepare to pull

The PM team of Stu, Cat, Kate and Dan 

The last team to go was 'The Tigers' made up of Manjy, Becca (logistics), Prashanth and Manju who took a break from driving the bravo in exchange for pulling it across field base.

The winning team of the BD Broncos are presented with their glamorous prize.
L - R Dave, Kate, Phil, Chris, Binika and Book

So once all the fun and games were over, it was time to get all glammed up for our last supper together.

The dining room was transformed with hundreds of fairy lights, candles and clean, glamorous people.

Fieke, Clare and Alice

Phil, Sunil and Nic

Sachin, James, Emily and Genevieve

Book, Hugh, Guy, Ben, Emily, Sean and Sarah

Danielle, Sophie, Ed and Jonny

Lisa, Bryony and Georgia

Georgia, Binika, Ross, Andy, Louis and Elliott

Susan, Eleri, Celine, Stuart and Thatte

Laura, Sam, Ellie, Anna and Georgi

Rob,Rachel, Sam, Ellie, Philip, Anne-Romee and Alex

Lucy, Amz, Karen, David, Sheena and Georgia

Scott, James, Louisa, Clare, Catherine, Lottie, Sian and Paz

Ross, Becky, Katy, Ellie, Elliott, Ros and Naomi

After dinner it was time for the screening of the expedition music video that we shot during the first phase. Thanks to everyone for their incredible efforts, I laughed non-stop when putting it together.... 

And then it was time for some traditional Raleigh skits, a chance for each of the teams to act out a quick play about their last phase. So, so funny to watch and a great job done by all.

Charlie 1

Charlie 2 

Echo 3

Echo 4

Tango 5

Tango 6

The venturers then surprise the staff by presenting each of them with an award with Stuart winning the best PM award, congratulations mate - you deserve it.

The award ceremony hosts Richard and Amz present Stu with his invisible award

After more speeches and thanks to everyone, it was time to dance the night away for the last time in India together. Sad times indeed. Then after a few hours sleep it was time for some final communal porridge, chores and packing before the farwells began.

Staff flicking through the expedition magazine that Kathryn and I produced. Katy Star's won the competition for the featured photo on the back cover so well done Katy!

Kannan and Stuart.

One last song before you go...

And then they were gone.

Some of the staff went up to Bangalore with those flying back home and dropped them off at the airport for some more farewells very early the next morning.

It was an emotional time wishing everyone cheerio and realising how much fun we had together. The field base animals are still recovering from the whole thing. Betty the calf is in bits, the toads are in tears and Eddie the egret Edwards is so upset that he's eloped. 

So as we now clean up and get everything wrapped up, all the talk is of the amazing venturers that we've just spent ten weeks with and the fun that was had. They were an incredible group of young people that were an absolute pleasure to be with and we wish you so much luck for the future. Thanks to all of you who came and made this expedition amazing, you worked hard and laughed hard, helped so many people along the way and gave everyone fantastic memories to treasure.

We leave here tomorrow at 11am so I'll be back with a quick update to say farewell. Until then...