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 2 March 2012

The Loop Trilogy – Part 2: The Two Holes

The saga continues… On 22 - 29 February, a high level Fieldbase delegation - consisting of Rhys, Simon, and me (Christiane) - visited three project groups to get first hand insights into how they are doing and what they do (à The Loop).
After experiencing Charlie 2's busy village life, entering Echo 4’s camp site was like arriving to an oasis of peace and tranquility. The beautiful palm tree forest, only surrounded by banana and tea plantations, provides for a spectacular view on the most beautiful starry night sky, which can be enjoyed with a glass of light Kattan Chai prepared by the lovely family next door. The Echo 4 venturers seem to genuinely love their work, being very possessive of their worksite holes "Holey Cow" [sic! Get the wordplay here!?] and "Route 66", but I let the group speak for themselves in the form of some guest blogging:
The group and their neighbours.
We have had a great start to our environmental phase. The bio-gas construction project is on track, our campsite is magnificent, the local families are beyond amazing and we are all just about getting on with each other. Here are some seemingly random but in reality very representative hard facts about life in Cheriyery:

  • The six feet hole required for the first unit is finished, with much hardcore digging having taken place, particularly from Kris Clayton, whose Hulk-like strength has been invaluable (Editor’s note: It says “Group blog”, but I have the feeling this entry was written by Kris.), in spite of his regression to an almost Neanderthal sensibility - “My hole!”
  • PM Jenna enjoyed a short dip in the pool of cow dung behind the cowshed, releasing the worst smell of all time into the air and our nostrils. Some days later, it was Jude’s turn, whilst PM Sammy succeeded in splashing some of it on her face.
  • One of the main jobs – transporting materials from the drop-off point to the worksite (we are too remote for vans) – has been rather tedious and exhausting. To have our minds elsewhere, we decided to liven things up with rousing renditions of Disney songs and other classics; a fresh delivery of lyrics just came in today: We are prepared for more. 
HIS hole!
Posing at Holey Cow
Under the sea... Under the sea... Darlin’, it’s better down where it’s wetter... Take it from me
  • Supplies from the village have spiced up our menus, culminating in a delicious chicken, curry, and rice dinner – including cake for dessert – on day 6.
  • There has been an outbreak of severe addiction to “Parle G” biscuits and “Milk Maid”, with Kris being the worst affected.
Mama Ama
Mama Ama's tea breaks at Route 66.
Camp and life with the locals
  • Only one of the bashas has collapsed!
  • On 19 February, we joined the community for a lovely but rather long church service. The carpet was rough on our bare feet and every song seemed to have the same tune. However, the friendly and welcoming locals compensated for the slight feeling of monotony.
  • It is now so cold in the morning; it feels like waking up in the UK. Well, until you gaze upon the stunning jungle and tea plantations.
  • An ominous shed of snake skin was found by the path today – A sign of things to come? (Why does it always have to be snakes?!)
  • The post of entertainment officer has gotten off to a great start with a riveting game of mafia, Jude’s intense thumb war tournament (with Dan emerging victorious), Dan and Dom’s quiz in the style of British TV game shows (with the Led Zep Dogs emerging victorious), and Joel’s D-I-S-C-O (with good music emerging victorious).

Magnificent campsite "Bashers and Bangers"
View from the "Crèche" (imagine at night with Pink Floyd's "Wish you were here" playing)
Thumb wars

Just like during that one summer at Kellerman's.
Dom being eaten alive by local kids after questionable Cricket decision
Not a snake, but a scary spider called "Germany" (E4 has has an above average proportion of Dutch team members...)
And now: Messages from the Crèche under palm trees and starry heavens:
From Abigail

From Charlotte

From Dan

From Dom

From James

From Jenna

From Roos

From Kris


  1. Roosmarijn Groen,echo 4
    Lieve Roos

    Wat heerlijk iets van je te horen en wat klinkt het allemaal gaaf.
    Heb net samen met tante Juut naar de blogs zitten kijken,echt super allemaal.
    Hier alles oke,jr was een beetje ziek ,maar is nu weer het mannetje.Hij gaat over een week met school naar engeland.heeft er veel zin in.
    Verder wordt het lekker weer.
    Vandaag lekker in de tuin gewerkt.
    Ik hoop dat je alle mailtjes ontvangt,want we zien ze lang niet allemal terug.
    geniet lekker
    love you
    mama xxxx

  2. Linda van den Heijkant2 March 2012 at 21:28

    Roosmarijn Groen, echo 4.

    Lieve Roos,

    Super leuk om even een berichtje van je te lezen. Fijn dat je het daar fantastisch hebt, goed om te horen! En heel mooi dat je een sanne dubbelganger hebt gevonden haha! San zit op dit moment in de bus naar valtho, dus ze kan even geen berichtje hier achterlaten maar ze moest erg lachen om haar dubbelganger haha! En je krijgt veel liefs van haar.
    Succes met de bio gas units! En ik ben heel jaloers op je olifantensafari, klinkt super vet!

    Veel plezier met alles schat en ik mis je stiekem wel een beetje hoor!

    Liefs Linda

  3. Message for Becky Massey, Tango 5: Hi Becs, how's it going?! I'm back home for the weekend, chance to get away and into some clean air! I hope it's all going well and you're having a great time, the blogs look amazing, you must be seeing some great sights and experiences.
    It's my birthday next weekend, in case you forgot! I'm having a back party up in brum and got a load of people from home up, should be fun. Aussie rules is going really well btw, we beat Cambridge last weekend, man of the match! and Oxford before that, no. 1 uni team In the country!
    Looking forward to hearing from you!
    Lots of love, Ben xxx

    just saying helloooo its natalie becci molly and amy, just seen your post just thought we would send a message back....
    Becci : were all very jealous, 8p fags tutut don't be coming back with lung cancer hahaaaa!!! hope your having a good time :) sounds like you are and you cant go for months! felt weird tonight us lot being here and no abigail anyway hope you having a good time and see you when you get back :) lots of love becciii :)

    moll: hiiiiii abigail!!! mega jealous of you right now!! currently sat here at becs with a can of calsberg mmmmm :P .. no majour gossip here, pretty boring! you look like your having an amazing time, just glad to know your still alive and coping with the 'hard work' haha!! everyone is all well n shizzle here, alls good!! just spoke to your mum on the phone told her bout the letter, she sounded well happy lol!! (makes a change) haha.. missing you loads abz feels weird without you! cant wait to go out for a massive night out with you when your back.. thats if you can hack it by then, and im pretty sure the whole vegitarian thing wont last for long chick. anyways i shall let you be! have loads more fun hope you conquer your fear of moths whilst your there!! love you loads and loads! miss you!! ..... natalie has just gone she told me to write... she loves you loads and misses you loads and she will write you her own letter asap! bye abz see you soon xxxx

    Last but not least, well everyone has said everything that i was going to put and i wanted to avoid the obvious like it looks like your having an amazing time because its obvious you would have a good time, you always make the best out of every situation. I am sooo jealous that your out in India and we are all stuck here in England working... Anyway enjoy the rest of your time Abz (dont be craving alcohol and good old english chippy too much!!!)
    Love you scabz xxx

  5. To Daniel Leigh Echo 4

    Hi Dan, I have been waiting for news of you and have now seen the blog and photos of you and your gang at your eco camp.
    It looks like a truly fantastic experience you are having.
    I was somewhat surprised to learn from your handwritten note that you have already become a completely different person . I was quite fond of you in the original.
    I await each new blog with bated breath and am wearing out my desktop icon continually pressing Raleigh.
    It seems that the local people really appreciate your presence and their warmth must be very rewarding for you.
    You have not said much about food but I assume that you have reconciled yourself to regular curry dishes.Anyway I promise a huge fillet steak when we next dine together.
    Look after yourself. Nana sends much love, as do I.

  6. Dan Leigh (Echo 4)
    Hi Dan - was great to read the latest blog about your Echo 4 biogas project. Seeing the photos & reading the comments was really interesting, enlightening & rather worrying at the same time - 'bashers & bangers' campsite looks v basic, to say the least & not sure how I'd cope waking up next to giant spiders like that! Very proud of your victory in 'Thumb Wars' & would Mitchell & Webb have approved of your tv quiz show efforts? Reassuring to see you're wearing your hat! Not sure if we are supposed to be pleased that you claim to have 'changed into an entirely different person' - we all quite liked the old you!! Hope you are still having a fabulous time. Looking forward to hearing/seeing more from you. Lots of love Mum xxx


    Bonjour Blondie,

    Thank you for your wonderful emails - very entertaining! Disaster re: your bag, hope they let you call home to speak with M/D and I'm sure that Raleigh can help you replace some of the stuff. Did you get a crime number? Was your kindle in the rucksack ? :(

    Im just about to book some flights to head down and see WP in Cardiff before Easter... but he still doesnt have a phone (!) so is quite hard to get a hold of. You've been in contact more than he has!

    Dad is back from Korea and Mum spend the weekend with Wills in Cardiff, so alls well. I've got a bit of work coming up, nothing you couldnt handle! But it will take me a few days...

    Its the Dont Walk fashion show this weekend, which Kitty is organising - so that should be fun :D Raining today so no golf, will spend some time trying to organise a trip for everyone after graduation. What do you think? Turkey?

    All my love + BIG HUG x

  8. Dan Leigh Echo 4
    Hi Dan
    Hope its all going well. Enjoyed the pictures. People at work were impressed with your 5 star hotel accommodation. Less so with the size of the spider. Looks like an amazing experience. Bumped into Joe's dad this morning. Joe is doing well and back in 3 weeks.
    Miss you lots.
    love Dad

  9. Hilary and Chris4 March 2012 at 00:55

    For Dominic Quinn Echo 4
    Hi Dom, so lovely to see some photos of you (you are still alive!) and catch up with what you're doing. It does sound amazing. I love the look of those hammocks. It must be really hard work digging those big holes though. Will you come back with huge muscles? I have posted the blog link on youir facebook page so your friends can see what your doing. I don't think some of them can believe that they can't just text or email you (!).
    The bad news is that we lost to ASrsenal at home today. We played so well but lost in extra time 2-1. Robbed. Makes 4th spot very difficult now. We'll write again next week. Lots of love, missing you, Mum and Dad xxx

  10. Will Cowley Charlie 1
    Hi Will just reading the update, and looking at the pictures,which were also posted, a few good ones of you, I was well impressed with your brick work skills !! , It sounds as though you are having an amazing time, and enjoying the support from the other team members in Charlie 1 "friendship that will last long after this experience is over" , Well done son , I am proud of you LU Dad xx

  11. MCFC news for Barney in Tango 6. Comfy v Bolton, easy 2-0, never stretched, deflected Clichy & Balo. SBs at Spurs today, heres hoping.


  12. Lieve Roos,

    Super leuk om een berichtje van jou te lezen. Klinkt allemaal echt heel vet, ik volg de blogs trouw hoor ben erg jaloers. Olifanten safari lijkt me echt heel gaaf, geniet ervan. Ben blij dat je het zo naar je zin hebt!
    Haha en echt lachen dat je een Sanne dubbelganger hebt, ik heb in Nederland helaas geen Roos dubbelganger dus mis je wel. ;)


  13. Daaa Queeee (Dom Quinn...)

    Glad to see from the photos/your letter that you're having such a good time! I see your practising your poses for photos, i think you're getting better.. We're all missing you loads back here and are all jealous of where you are/ what you're doing!

    You'll be glad to know we're still loyal to Maddens and are working on our loyalty cards- no luck yet. Don't think i've won a game of pool since you've been gone, pretty depressing seeing as i've spent about £30 on it!

    Sadly not much exciting news to report on atm- hopefully in the next 7 weeks or whatever we will create some sort of drama for you to feast on when you get back. Try not to tan too much remember, Suarez will hate you!!!

    Anyway, its nice to hear from you and to see that your having such a good time and can't wait till your back and we can play some serious footy/Pro Evo/ be the lazy arses that we're so good at being.

    Tom O
    P.S I forgot how funny your handwriting is ;)

  14. For Dom Quinn Echo4
    Hey cuz, looks like things are going ok over there. Enjoy yourself and see you when you're back.

  15. daniel leigh echo4 from booba lewis4 March 2012 at 23:58

    Maureen Lewis Mar4 2012 18.04
    Dan Leigh Echo 4.

    Papa and I are pleased to hear that the trip is going well. How are the muscles and biceps bearing up? It is obviously a different world.We had a cow on our farm when I was young, but the dung went onto a dung heap, and was then used as fertiliser, so not quite the same!
    Mossy is going to Peru via Equador tomorrow.
    I'm sure you will be able to exchange some interesting stories.
    Keep up the good work.
    Love Booba. xxx

  16. Hans en Anita de Vries5 March 2012 at 01:00

    Eline de Vries ECHO3

    Lieve Lien
    Wat fijn om vanmorgen jou mailtje te ontvangen. Je verhaal is lekker enthousiast. Het lijkt ons een prachtige ervaring met hard werk, maar een mooie beloning van de leuke groep en de prachtige omgeving. Heb je hard gegild met die schorpioenen en kreeften, of ben je het al zo gewend dat je daar niet meer van schrikt? Hoe is het met al je muggenbulten?
    hoe bevalt het eten met je rechterhand en dan natuurlijk ook nog m.n. rijst?
    Toen vanmiddag de foto's, briefjes en het verslag op het blog kwamen, konden we een nog mooier beeld krijgen van jullie verblijf en werk.
    Lien je hebt blijkbaar een goed idee gehad voor het transport van de wel heel zware stenen. We zijn trots op je!
    De foto's zijn prachtig. Je kunt zien dat je hard moet werken, maar ook dat de groep leuk is. Succes nog met het werk bij de schildpadden. Veel liefs ook van oma Loes en opa Niek (het lukte hun nu even niet om zelf een berichtje te versturen)Kus papa en mama

  17. FRANCES Echo 3

    Wonderful blog and pictures - we are so jealous! Impressed by all that robust bamboo work, and dragging the blocks all that way, and the fabulous sunset ... I wonder what the cards hold for your second assignment? We replied to your wonderful text this morning, but you had probably left the internet cafe already. Slightly up and down weekend with Isobel but all ended in smiles :) Trinny and Dick have a new donkey called Rupert as apparently the other one was getting lonely. When is Sarah Ting-a-Ling going to post again? - she caused as much hilarity in the plains of East Anglia as on the beaches of Goa. Two parcels in the post. Love Dada xxx

  18. For Becky Massey Tango 5
    Hi Becky
    Just had Ben home for w/e to celebrate his b'day - he is now the happy and smug owner of a snazzy windsurfing wetsuit and gps (so that he can track how fast he goes) - we all going to hear about that! I bet he used it on the train going back to b'ham.
    As everyone else's ducks and chickens seem to live in our garden I have decided we might as well have some of our own - so by the time you get back I hope to be the proud owner of a chicken coop (imo and dad insist on calling it a hutch) and some recovering battery hens - not pretty but considering how many we eat it's the least I can do I guess .... but still tempted by a buff orpington or two if only for the name.
    Can't wait to hear all the news of what tango 5 have been up to - you are the last to clock in and it is tantalising waiting.
    James is off to London on Tues to the Supreme Court for gov pol (Dad is also going on Tues to some meeting) and Imo goes there to some French play on Wed and then Imo has persuaded me to take her up again on Sat to some galleries so us Dorset country bumpkins are bigging it up this week!! Imo is capitalising on my trying to be a good mother now that only the twins are at home! It is quiet without you and your taxi driving skills are being missed but the chocolate consumption has gone way down, even I seemed to have lost interest in racing to the cupboard to raid it.
    Phew, Dad and James have just finished a huge discussion on the corialanus effect ~(what is it? not sure I care, in fact absolutely sure I don't care!)and finally agreed that the woman on the telly was right!! What a relief, it looked like it was going to run on all night.
    Can't wait to hear your news,
    Huge love,
    Mum xxxxxx

  19. Abigail (echo4)
    Well it was so good to hear from you. Should have known you would be having the time of your life and you would have made some good friends. Showed the family uncle Lee whats to know if you where air lifted in to the end of your track. Steven says he know you'd give it 100% since you come from ossy stock. It was good to see the girls had wrote. They rung me wait till I see Moll, Nats is coming on Tuesday after work just in case you phone. She really is missing you. Want a good laugh your mum got locked into the alloments on the Hays on Friday morning. The school as an alloment and we had taken the kids down to do some real life maths. Frankie said she knew the code but couln't remember it so we were locked in. Had to climb over the fence nearly killing myself ran back to school to get the code to come back and release the kids and Frankie. We became the butt of many a joke in the staffroom. Frankie is the one who is going to india in the summer holidays to work in schools along with Julie.
    brian Dawson is really ill, he had his op for cancer all seemed well but he's got an infection it does not look too good. Both Dad and Grandad upset about it Grandad saw him before he went back into hospital.
    Well it is time to go carry on enjoying living the dream. miss you love Mum XX

  20. Tango6 Wagwan Waltz!!!!!!! wat ya saying brahh hows india!!! ay i am selling my bike next sunday for 3500 soo u know by the time you get back i will be on the nouvo.. still vaxed u gona miss de b-day guy will be going up and we will be taking shots for you tooo. give me some updates on what u been doing out dea.... ya boy Zack #teambermy

  21. Ha die Roos, Wat een mooie verhalen weer en wat maak je veel mee in relatief korte tijd. R. is weer naar Frankrijk en vanmiddag verwacht ik P.jr.
    Geniet maar fijn! Liefs, Louise

  22. Dearest Kris, aka. 'The Hulk' - Echo 4.
    Greeting from Wales! Glad to see everything's going amazingly well. I am unbelievably jealous and would like nothing more than to jet off somewhere right now, away from my dissertation.
    I knew you'd love it so much. =D Glad you're using your super strength to help the team! If only you could use it to help the builders here as the work is STILL not finished! They have left actually.. but are returning next week!
    Mollie and i have become besties, she sits by my side daily. Although often wanders off around the house.. Looking for you! I took her for a sleepover the other day at my friends. She has a black lab called Frankie who Mollie followed around the whole time. I'm getting an evil glare now as I talk to her about you!!
    Cannot believe you've nearly been gone a month, it's flown by. Bet it's gone even quicker for you! Glad you're using Disney songs to keep spirits up! Reminds me of when I was walking across a Glacier for 12 hours in New Zealand. Singing helped us too, although made us slightly hyperactive! I have been singing a stupid One Direction song for the last couple of days after resulting to listening to your cd in the car! =) Nightmare!
    Mia rang yesterday to say it was snowing there.. can you believe it? They actually had all four seasons in a day. Typical England! Hopefully you'll come back with a slight tan to make us all jealous (and me hit the sunbed!)
    Well i'd best get back to work! And you'd best get back to your adventures. Remember, never have any regrets. Keep smiling! Love you loads, your fav sister Beth xxxxxxxxx

  23. James Phillips (charlie1) jameeesssss bluddd, hows itt goinnng?? missing ya lots, write back. love sharnie & rhys xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  24. To Shaveh Charlie 2
    Happy Birthday Babes,(06/03)
    I got your credit that u asked for. 1468756158645177
    it was good to hear from u, as i miss u loads, u sound really happy bubbas,
    Just know i love u mummy and me miss u alot and we should be moved into the new house by the time u return.
    My bb deleted all my contacts so i had 2 re add u when u can accept. hope ur good and we can get through everything as a couple like we always have love u bubba
    CJS xxxx

  25. Ha die Roos! Mijn vorige berichtje is (weer eens) mislukt. Eerder dacht ik het ook, maar toen bleek ik het berichtje 2x geplaatst te hebben. Pff, wat ben ik toch een Truusje uit de polder. Dat ben jij in ieder geval niet met je fantastische ervaringen. Geweldig, ik geniet wederom een beetje mee. Paul jr. zit nu bij mij aan de keukentafel terwijl ik dit berichtje schrijf. Je krijgt dan ook de groeten van hem en ook veel liefs van Willemijn.
    Heb het goed, liefs, Louise

  26. Hi Mandisa,

    We just want you to know we are all missing you, and can't wait to see you, you look really good in your pictures i am so proud of you and i love you. take care and be so safe. Daddy and i leave for our cruise March 17th a much needed trip. Aunt Kamilah had a birthday party Sunday all she talked about is how she misses her girl and Miss Sophia says she is lonely can't sleep without her big sister and Isaiah is asking when are you coming home. We love you and miss you baby girl. God Bless love mom

  27. For Laura Tango 5
    Hi Laura

    It was lovely to receive your email today so glad you're having the the most wonderful time. I've replied to your email but not sure when you'll be able to read it. So just thought that I'd let you know that I've posted your brace to Laura Gray who'll bring it with her. She phoned last week to say she was going to book a flight for you both instead of the one that had been cancelled from Delhi - I hope that makes sense. I hope that's Ok.
    Also Matt's present has arrived so I can wrap it up for you. Is his birthday about the 15th of April ? I will check with Caroline. She came over last week with Betsy and we went for a lovely walk in the woods.

    We miss you lots

    love Mum Dad and Fraser xxxx

  28. James Phillis (charlie1) Hows it going pal ? What you been up to ? Didnt you get pulled at the air port ? speak to you soon mate x

  29. Hi Venetia (Charlie 1)

    Brilliant to see your note and your smiling face at the temple. Can't wait to hear what you're going to be up to next.



  30. Dear Kris, Great to hear your voice yesterday and so pleased everything is going so well and you have made some good friends. Can't wait to see you and hear properly about all your projects and see your photo's. Don't worry you will get plenty of English cooking when you get home. Beth and i have just been to see a film "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" set in India so we got a taste of how chaotic their roads are, it was an all star cast including Maggie Smith, very funny. I am back to the Ford tomorrow to see Nanny and pick Mia up from school. James is coming Saturday to do some more work on the house so we are getting there slowly. I am trying to work most days but have still not managed a 6 day stretch. B and B meeting was good, missed you being there too.Stay safe on project number 2 and enjoy! Loads of love, Mum. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  31. To Dom Quinn.Charlie 1.Hi Dom,hope your well..working hard and having fun.Look forward to hearing all about your trip.I'm sure the kids at the club would love to hear all about it too.Alls well here and Utd are back on top,Torres scores twice in twentyfive hours and Daglish decides to become player manager..can you believe that?Love and all the best to you and the rest of the group.Naji.x

  32. Margaret Shooter29 March 2012 at 13:42

    Sammy Echo4
    Great to hear from you... miss you loads. Thought of you as I was digging potato bed; I was knackered after three hours! Your next project sounds brilliant, take lots of pictures. Love you loads Baby Girl. Look after yourself. MummaXXX