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

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

Saturday 28 January 2012

Our Project Managers are here!

These people 

are very very happy to welcome these people

to the fieldbase. 
Fun just doubled. And double-fun-videos will follow.

Friday 27 January 2012

Short swims and long drops

On 25 January we left fieldbase for a day of trekking, swimming, and camping. Destination #1: Kapila River. Our trek to the river led us through fields and small villages, where smiling locals were greeting and waving at us. The people in this area seem to have a particularly sweet tooth, as little children, as well as grown up men, asked whether we would have any chocolate or similar delights.
The river itself is a quiet place. Seasonally receding water levels provide for a very diverse flora and fauna; our photographers were particularly keen on getting close to the many different bird species. A very different flora could also be found within the river, where underwater plants make sure that 
  1. A swim test of 200 meters is not the piece of cake you think it would be.
  2. You will look like Poseidon himself when you get out of the water, with long strings of vegetation hanging from your hands and other body parts.
The swim test was preceded by some area risk assessment and rescue training; important knowledge we will pass on to the soon-to-arrive project managers and venturers.  

The wanderers.
Going through who-knows-what to get to the water.

Having cooled off we were ready for the second part of the trek, leading us to destination #2 Kolli Thota camp site, where we would stay for the night. Joined by Country Director Mark Ashby, we set up tents, kitchen, fireplace and the infamous long drop. Our success was significantly hampered by soil as hard as European winters (not that we know anything about that anymore), but constant digging wore away the stone. Sitting around a fire in the beautiful middle of nowhere, munching well-deserved pasta out of mess tins, we concluded the day with a not-very-trust-building game of Mafia. 

Romancin' it up
Dig this.

Tomorrow the project managers will arrive. We are very much looking forward to their arrival and – on that occasion - polished fieldbase to a grade of non-recognition. Let the games begin...

P.S: For any inquiries about who or what a long drop is, please refer to Mark Ashby.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Counts and palaces

Fieldbase is homey; we know fieldbase inside and out. Why? – Because we counted and listed every single thing visible. It’s inventory time! Especially our Logs guys Reggie and Rhys and our Medics Cate and Izi can be found buried under mountains of high-visibility vests, tents, wound dressings, and pills. All equipment to go with the projects needs to be prepared and these guys make sure, that there will be enough well-working and up-to-date stuff available for everyone.
However, it’s not all work and no play. Grocery shopping, re-stocking, and meetings with pharmacists and print specialists also gave us the chance to spend some time in Mysore. The town of 983,000 inhabitants is only a half an hour drive away from our fieldbase. Strolling through streets and lively markets, zipping Chai and coconut water, we had the chance to stock up on all the necessary and very very unnecessary things we forgot at home, such as flutes, scents, and multicoloured face paints. Some of us even received “surprise-blessings” by accidentally walking into a temple. Important lessons learnt: The art of refusing offers and crossing lively streets like a boss.

Mysore is home to Amba Vilas Palace, one of India’s most famous monuments, which is surrounded by a large garden. The palace complex also includes twelve Hindu temples, dating from the 14th century until 1953. In the evening, we had the chance to witness the spectacular illumination ceremony (we are talking about ca. 100000 light bulbs here...), accompanied by surprisingly Viennese-style music.

And food of course! FOOD! Mysore has a range of great restaurants and we are not only becoming experts in Indian cuisine, but also increasingly aware of the fact that eating needs some counterbalancing. And that’s why we put trekking and swimming on our menu for today. We’ll be back with stories and photos about us sporting it up.

Count this!
And count that!
Probably the most colourful country in the world.
Mysore Palace by night with Izi, Petr, Rhys, Simon, Reggie, Christiane, Sam, Cate and Joseph
And here one of the rare pictures that show our photographer Bob.
True story: Mysore was rated the second cleanest city in India in 2010 and the cleanest in Karnataka State.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

A magic dwells in each beginning...

The advanced fieldbase team arrived at Bangalore airport on 21 January at 3 am after what felt like days of travelling. Torn between overfatigue and excitement - the coming adventure, first impressions of India and its traffic insanity, the music choices of our lovely drivers small Manju and big Manju - we made it through a three hours drive to Raleigh fieldbase near Mysore – our new home. There was only one thing on our minds: SLEEP!

But no rest for the wicked! Getting-to-know-each-other-games (wait, what was your name again?), a closer look into our respective roles, and an introduction to the fieldbase facilities with Simon (Country Expedition Manager), Petr (Deputy Programme Manager) and Theja (Host Country Venturer co-ordinator) were on the menu. Also on the menu was our first taste of delicious Indian food, which does an excellent job of making strangers become friends in just one day. Exhausted, but with the happy sense of a new home, new friends, new knowledge and new adventures, we fell into our beds.

Fun fact: India is five AND A HALF HOURS ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. WHO COMES UP WITH THINGS LIKE THAT?

 Very special festival cows

 It may not look like hard work, but it is!

Please allow us to introduce ourselves...

Namaskaara to our blog about Raleigh India 12 C expedition! For the next three exciting months this page will serve as your one stop shop for all the news and updates from our project sites, treks and from fieldbase. We hope that our little stories, pictures and videos will give you a better impression on what life on expedition - and life in India - is like.

As you may know, though: communication is a not a one way street, so we are hoping for your very active participation! Don’t be shy to forward any comments or questions you may have to us.

The blog is also a tool to keep in touch with your beloved ones while they are being “out there” in rural communities, natural reserves and on trek and, thus, cut off from the amenities of modern communication. Here is how it works:
  • Any comments posted by family and friends will be printed out and taken to the respective volunteers on the project sites. Please make sure you indicate name of volunteer and name of project in your correspondence.
  • We will also put messages from the volunteers to their family and friends on the blog.
  • This said, we kindly ask you to keep in mind that this is a public blog. More personal messages can be posted via letter or email, which we will deliver personally.

Any questions? Let me know! My name is Christiane Schwausch and I will be writing and managing this blog. I am not an English native speaker so please bear with me :o)

We are looking forward to a lively exchange of lovely messages!