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 24 March 2012

The Loop "Trilogy" Part IV - Indiana Echo and the Fourth Kingdom of the Vertical Pole

Just like in the real world, there is a late addition to our Indiana Jones Loop franchise. The fourth part of the trilogy (thank you Douglas Adams, for shifting the paradigm of this word; it makes my work so much easier!) describes the events outfolding in Cheriyery. Curtain up for Echo 4 as seen through the camera of guest bloggers Sam Flood, Aashna Jain, and Katherine Arnot:

A fresh-faced Echo 4 set off on a typically stylish Indian bus, blasting out bhangra delights as we meandered through beautiful Indian villages and forestry.
Upon reaching a very merry Cheriyery, we were welcomed by CTRD representative, Vijay, who happily embraced our drowsy faces and introduced us to the Biogas project and our consequent home for the next three weeks.  Villagers adorned us with garlands of flowers and (of course) lovingly bombarded us with cake and chai. These sugary delights adequately fuelled us for the arduous task of hauling food, tools and equipment from the bus – down slopes, up grassy banks and across rickety bamboo bridges.
Talking of bamboo, which became a bit of a sore point (not least for Katherine – who received a hearty ‘donk!’ on the head in the process), bashas were the first thing on Echo 4’s agenda:  The venturers constructed their campsite from scratch, lashing poles together with coconut rope into innovative bed-like structures amongst leafy, towering palm trees... Sadly after 13 wonderful bashas, we were scraping the barrel for the final 3, which led to creatively using trees along with some of the more vertically challenged bamboo... The next few days paved the way for even more imaginative use of resources – including what can only be described as a ‘Gucci shower’ – expansive, efficient and quite frankly fabulous. Leftover wood and bamboo has been maximized and fashioned into a bench, a table and even a toilet seat to compliment the longdrop, which has been met with some controversy from the group.  Our well-built campsite has withstood torrential downpours, local children playing ball and the lightest venturer in our group (Aashna) breaking everything she sits on.
Soon to be his bed...
... including THIS view.
From campsite to worksite, the team spirit and energy emulated. Mud, sweat and chais (in equal measure) were core features of the work ethic. We masterfully took to sinking mamptees into the soil to hacking desperately at stubborn roots. Though building two six-foot deep holes and two cow sheds can be demanding and tedious, we still find time to fit in fun during our work day. Every day we have breakfast with the families and momentum is maintained via pulling shapes with local village children, and coining musical gems such as ‘Everyday I’m shovelling’, with resounding demands of ‘No rest, only work!’ and ‘No stand, only bend!’ along with further, more dynamic and sadly less publishable, slogans. 
Get diggin'!
We are trying to get the work done as quickly as possible, but there have been a few minor incidents: One involved the local cow, who tried to escape and was chased down the road by half of the group. Another includes a certain member of the group (Will) provoking a romantically frustrated goat and paying the consequences. It was also quite distracting to behold Chrissy as she discovered new uses for the Indian Harris pole, and everyone delighted in seeing her passionately pole dance in one of the holes – nobody else quite matched her vivacity and charm with the mighty rod of steel, though of course they tried.
Good, but still nothing compared to what Chrissy can do with a Harris pole.
One of the highlights for me (and for those who attended) was a trip to the local Church for the Sunday morning service. As a non-religious person, I wasn’t sure whether it’d be as tedious as two and a half hours in a confined space sounds – but I was pleasantly surprised:  Being unable to decipher a word of what the Indian sermons were preaching, and listening to unidentifiable, mystical hymns was genuinely blissful. The hum of collective prayers and spiritual chants presented the perfect backdrop for individual self-reflection – although perhaps not the central purpose of the occasion, it was a moving experience and we were all very grateful to be there, stood next to our Cheriyery family.

When the Loop visited, they were treated to a rather tasteful curry-risotto concoction, and a good old-fashioned juvenile game of Pass the Parcel – our photographer, Bob, was the lucky winner of the main prize; a delightful toy chicken complete with flapping wings and mini wheels for ultimate mobility. Of course the accompanying forfeit suggested he present his best chicken impersonation – and he didn’t disappoint!
Two weeks since arriving and having little understanding of what Biogas was, Echo 4 are now not only more aware of the process, but are also thoroughly enjoying each stage in building the units for the lovely people in the welcoming community of Cheriyery.

Below the latest motion picture release of the franchise, starring Echo 4:

Echo 4 greetings to family and friends

And now: Messages written within the vast abyss of a 6 foot deep chasm in the earth:
From Aashna
From Beatrice
From Will


  1. Catherine Perry24 March 2012 at 22:29

    For Rhian Tango 5

    Hi Rhian, just had to blog you because as I sit here I am listening to 'the ice-cream man on speed', and it reminded me of you! Lots of love, Mum xoxoxoooxooxoxoxo

  2. Oh Barney in Charlie 2, it's not good news I'm afraid. A 1-1 draw at Stoke was not what we hoped. Behind to a Crouch wonder goal!! Ya Ya levelled but overall another lack lustre perfomance. Back top, but only goal difference. Perhaps Fulham can help us on Monday.


  3. Shaquille-Echo 4
    Hi Bebe,
    Hope you're doing good, looks like your working hard and it looks like you need a hair cut too lol. I hope you're having fun digging and making stuff, its nice to hear you brush your teeth everyday...you kill me. Only 25 more days till you come back, hurry up! You've been away for too long and I miss you soo much! I start finals in two weeks and I'm so not exited for that. Anywho, I love you my hard-working man, keep that smile on your face :) Mom and Dad send you lots of love.


  4. Erik Josette vive25 March 2012 at 17:04

    Jules ( tango 6 )

    Wat leuk, dat we je vanmorgen gesproken hebben. Echt zo'n grote verrassing !!! We hadden niet verwacht, dat je vandaag al terug zou zijn op fieldbase. Zo te horen had Je een pittige tocht achter de rug. Knap !! Op naar het laatste deel van je avontuur. Wij zitten op het moment dat we dit schrijven in Oirschot bij La Fleurie , je weet wel waar je zo lekker hebt gegeten met kerstmis. Gemeen hè! Nou, onze dag kan niet meer stuk ! Schat, zet hem op de komende drie weken. We houden heel erg van je en missen je. Liefs, dikke kussen en knuffels van ons. Doe nog lekker je ding daar ... Wij zijn apetrots op je !! Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  5. Piotr Karasinski25 March 2012 at 17:11

    For Sofia Karasinski

    Hi Sofia,

    How are you? What project are you on now?

    Mummy is in Verbier and today is her first day of skiing. We have beautiful weather in London! Last night we had a dinner in our house with Max, Pico, Klara, Magdalena, Pico's&Klara's grandparents, and their Polish friend who lives in London. Max is off to Amsterdam tomorrow morning. I bought IPad3 and am having lots of fun with it.

    Missing you terribly,
    Love Papa

  6. Becky Massey Charlie 2
    Hi Becky - good to hear about all your muscles, Ben is home from uni now and not taking seriously your threat to challenge all-comers to an arm wrestle!
    It is fantastic weather here - beautifully warm and sunny so we have all been doing jobs in the garden. The water board is threatening a hose-pipe ban as it has been dry for so long which is extraordinary - Dad cycled past SB reservoir the other day and it was the lowest he had ever seen it. Ben brought tonnes of laundry back from B'ham so at least that is getting dry on the line (ah the luxury of a washing machine!)
    I'll send you an email and hope to catch up with you on the phone in the next few days - remember Dad and Ben will both be home in the day time so you could catch them then.
    Masses of love,
    Mum xxxxxx

  7. Hi Clairey (Charlie 1)
    Thanks for the email today, unfortunately there seemed to be a long delay on our messages so didn't manage to link up! Anyway you seem to be having a wonderful time and thanks for the update. All well here with glorious summer weather which is forecast to continue next week, Lotte well and just had Granny for lunch plus Jack has been staying over the w/e. We loved your photos of your last trip - especially with the baby goat!- all pinned up in the kitchen!
    Skiing was realyy good - great snow, weather and hotel - Mum really got the hang of it so happy all round!
    Well, we hope your next stage is as good as the previous 2 - take care
    Lots of love to you (and Nicole) from us both
    Mum and Dad xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  8. For Venetia - Tango 5
    Hi Venetia
    Great to catch up today but sorry we got cut off without saying goodbye - still it was lovely to hear your news. I'll check we can text tomorrow, but if there is a problem we'll check out the account here. So glad you had a great trek and that you're looking forward to a final Echo project, and then probably onto Goa - sounds like that will be well deserved R & R by then. Gorgeous day here today - enjoying some decent UK sun - if not quite what you are having in India. All well here; have a good couple of days off at fieldbase, getting ready for phase 3 - we're looking forward to hearing which project you get sent on. Keep having fun and enjoy yourself. Lots & lots of love Mum, Dad, Jamie et allxxxxx

  9. josienloerakker@hotmail.com25 March 2012 at 22:51

    Sofie van Gessel Tango5
    lieve lieve Sofie,
    volgens mij zit de trek erop en heb je de grootste beproeving doorstaan, echt heel goed, ben nog steeds heeeeel trots. Hoop dat je niet ziek bent geworden.
    Hier alles behoorlijk stressvol, Hanna was echt ziek en moest wel al haar SE's doen,ze was nl al behoorlijk ver met leren dus ze hoefde het niet van de laatste dagen te hebben.
    Het is hier inmiddels ook mooi weer, ik zet bollen in de tuin die chuck er net zo snel weer uit graaft
    Hij krijgt echt meer energie en het vondelpark is mut vol dus ik ben veel aan de wandel op andere plekken
    Heb jeroen en oma ook uitgelegd hoe ze een bericht moeten plaatsen, jaja het moet niet gekker worden
    Ben zo benieuwd naar jou ervaringen, verheug me erop je weer te zien, je bent altijd goed gezelschap (een zonnetje)realiseer ik me nu je zo veel weg bent.
    Nestor gaat goed hoewel Hanna er echt weinig mee kan doen ivm haar ziek zijn en school
    Cas is hier regelmatig en dat is leuk,
    en ik heb mail contact (sumier) met Jeroen, ook erg leuk. Hij verteld mij nl niet veel maar het lijkt te lukken in engeland
    Ben nog druk met de verbouwing van de zolder, kranen uitzoeken en sanitair, het is een kleine badkamer dus erg veel spectacel kan niet.
    Ben nog druk met mijn eindexamen Artemis maar daar heb ik lol in. Lieve lieve sofie, maak er het beste van daar, voor je het weet begint het gewone leven hier weer
    XXXjosien (rob&hanna)
    hanna gaat je schrijven als ze zich beter voelt en school iets rustiger is

  10. For Helen, echo 3

    Happy birthday Hels!!!!! Missing you and looking forward to having you back!

  11. Victoria O'C - Echo 3

    It was so nice to get your call this morning. I was worried I would miss it! You sound really well and happy and it's great to know that all is well and especially that you like the food!

    I hope you weren't too surprised by my news! It was of course a huge decision but I feel it was the right one. I am going to do my very best to enjoy the next six months and am really, really looking forward to our holiday together. Be warned I want to take lots of photos! The travel company have put together a great itinery which includes Cochin, the backwaters of Kerala (staying on a houseboat) and Madurai and the hotels look really nice. We will fly back together from Cochin on 2nd May.

    Your time away has gone very quickly. I hope you enjoy the trek phase - it sounds quite tough but I'm sure you'll have a great time.

    Thinking of you all the time and very much looking forward to 19th April. Let me know if you think of anything else you'd like me to bring.

    All my love,
    Mum xxxxx

  12. Helen - Echo 3 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY HELS!! Hope you did something special and had an amazing day (although it's probably over by now where you are?). We are all missing you LOTS but living vicariously through the blog & photos - keep up the good work!
    Lots of love,
    Jenny xxx

  13. Hi Patrick (Charlie 2)

    I'm a bit more on the ball this time so hope you will get this at changeover. Can't believe you will soon be on the last phase the time seems to have flown by. Sounds as thought the treks are quite tough but I'm sure you will enjoy it. It will be good practice for July.
    Dad had a good weekend in Glencoe with perfect weather so he's a happy man. We are all looking forward to grandma's birthday 'do' next weekend. We will miss you but will raise a glass. We're collecting Will on our way down as his term finishes on Friday. Peter is travelling up with the Burtons.

    Now the washing machine is sorted the Rayburn is playing up. Was fine until they came to fit a new motor then it started smelling of fumes so they came back to fix it now it's belching out even more fumes! Let's hope they can come back again tomorrow and fix it once and for all. If not grandma won't be getting her birthday cake.

    Enjoy the next phase. Take care.

    Lots of love
    Mum xx

  14. For Jonny Charlie 2

    Hi Jonny, it's Louise, Daisy, Mum and the big man himself. Looks like you're having a great time and learning some essential skills for later in life (aka building faecal trenches). You might need it for the rest of your stay from what we hear. The time has flown since you left....joking everyone's missing you honey bear. Stay bigg xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  15. Hi Jonny
    I am sure that you have had an amazing time with Raleigh and I hope that all the toilets are now up and working !! I have had a text from F so I think all is looking good for your meet up !! All is well here – L, J & D are here staying overnight from Manchester (the wedding!) on the way back to France for Easter to catch the last of the snow !!! (It was bit tense here this afternoon when I thought that the fox had gone off with Milly but after ½ hour searching I found her under the hedge so it all ended happily ! ). Love you loads Mumxxx

  16. Danny Wiseman Charlie 1
    Hi danny looks like your now back at your base camp for a couple of days to relax and have a bit chill out before your of on your next exciting project iam sure it will be as rewarding as the two you have done so far.
    All ok here dan the weather has been fantastic this weekend and the week is going to be the same as well have been sorting the hot tub over the weekend so should be up & running soon the biggest problem is keeping maizy out of it ha ha !Anyway have have fun & keep in touch lots of love.
    Dad & Andrea

  17. Hi Aashna (Echo 4),

    Oh my God, what a treat to see you and hear you :) And the lovely note! Wow so much work, you can now build our house if disaster strikes :)
    Take lots of pictures, and make sure you buy the DVD at the end.
    The new camera is also waiting for you :)
    We have booked a family vacation at Hilton Head for the week before you leave for school.
    I cant wait to see you.
    Lots of Love,
    Mom and Dad xoxo

  18. Ollie Forster-Constance26 March 2012 at 23:27


    Miss you!! I will be back from exeter this weekend and home will be sooo boring without you!! We have sooo much to do after you get back and I've finished my dissertation. I'm coming to the airport to meet you. How's everything? Sorry I didn't get to speak to you for long yesterday Mummy snatched the phone of me!!! I am working loads on essays, presentations pretty boring:( Do you know your new group yet? Miss you! Hope you are having an amazing time, I'm sure you are. Me, James and Milly want you to come home!!! You've had loads of fb messages. Can't wait to see you. Let me know all about it!!!

    Lots of Love Emily Rose.xxxxx

  19. Oliver Forster-Constance26 March 2012 at 23:56

    Hi Ollie, Great to hear you yesterday and sounding in such great spirits! We are all well here and the weather is amazingly good for this time of year and Shropshire! I read in the Star that Jimmy Taylor is being allowed to play for Shrewsbury in some matches this season, so that could be worth watching, and Shrewsbury Town will be at an exciting stage when you return.I have been in court a lot lately,and have supported some difficult cases, but I do get a lot out of it. George E is on risk of expulsion over some tweeting involving a girl at school which is a worry for Nicky.James has another event lined up for the 12th April so hes hoping for another success!Holly and Henry are in good shape as I have been walking around the hill every morning and waiting for your return to go up the hill, which will be a stroll in the park after your previous adventure!
    We are all missing you so much here.James mentioned last week that he is really missing his cousin!!
    Take care of youself on your next phase and have fun.. All our love Mum and Dad xxx

  20. Abigail Smith
    It was good to hear from you even though somethings don't change demanding more money. I need you to phone ASAP. Talking to Nosh at work today he said do not buy your ticket over their it will cost you alot more always book from England. He's from Goa his family still live their. He said he could get me a ticket. When you come home you have alot to sort out over Liverpool. The only thing I have done is to accept your offer and it took me an hour. You know what I am like with computers. Love You Mum X

  21. To- Natalia Robinson, Tango 6 (i think)

    TALLIEEEE- How are you??? Check you out blogging for the website! I was always way to lazy to do anything like that... I can't believe you're going to do turtles! I did turtles in costa rica, it was a really nice beach but I hated the turtles they were everywhere and it stressed me out. I'm sure you'll love it though. AND YOU'RE WITH JAN! I really want to be there with you guys I'm so jealous, you're going to have so much fun! At the moment i'm in amsterdam and i'm just so bored... Everyone is travelling or at uni so i do basically nothing all day, at least it's really sunny though. And i'm having an operation to get my tonsils out next week so that will give me something to do.... I AM SO EXCITED FOR SOUTH AMERICA! You have no idea how happy i was when i heard you could come around the 15th of may already! as soon as youre back home we really have to skype and get organising!
    I sent Jan a message aswell but not sure if he'll get it because I wrote it to tango 6 because i was confused about whicj group he was in, anyway if he doesn't get it just give him a hug for me!

  22. To- Natalia Robinson echo 3

    OMG TAL, i just spent a lifetime writing you a blog message bit then i sent it to the wrong group so now i have to write it all over again.... ANYWAY, How are you? I'm so impressed that you blogged for the website! I was always way too lazy to do anything like that when i was in costa rica... And you're doing turtles! I did turtles when I was in costa rica, it was a really nice beach and everything but i hated the turtles because there were just so many of them and when i was on patro it just stressed me out... I'm sure you'll love it though. AND you get to be with jan! I'm so jealous you guys are together, I wish I was there with you. I'm back in Amsterdam now and its just so boring. All my friends are travelling or at uni so I do literally nothing all day. I 'm having an operation te get my tonsils taken out next week so at least that will give me something to do... Anyway I'M SOOOO EXCITED FOR SOUTH AMERICA! It's going to be amazing, but as soon as youre back ew really have to get on skype and start organising! There is quite a bit of ICE gossip left to tell you but that will have to wait until south america!

  23. Katherine - Echo 4
    Hi - well .... lots going on - take it easy. I'm in awe of your Echo 4 video - it is compelling viewing!! and I loved it and hope you and the whole group are still doing well.
    We also have things going on here and I'm building up to writing you a letter - this is a wild thing as I've found out I can hardly write anymore ... it's all 2 fingered typing, texting, bbm'ing and no-one really understands what I say anyway so that's ok.
    You look like you are having such a good time and we are all amaaaaaaazed that all is still good.
    Still, time is passing, so we are missing you - so have fun now because ... this is it - YOUR GROUNDED and at home for the next 10 years or so. Reasonable?
    Love you xxx

  24. Hi JAN! Hoe gaat het daar in India? De fotos zien er echt superleuk uit! En wat chill dat je nu een phase met Tallie hebt, wou echt dat ik daar bij ullie kon zijn! Ben benieuwd wat je van het turtelproject gaat vinden, ik vond die turtles echt een drama maar dat heb ik je al weleens verteld. Je mag blij zijn dat je nu niet in amsterdam bent, het weer is wel heel lekker maar hier is echt precies niemand of ze zijn aan de studie... Ik ga waarschijnlijk eind april nog wel weg gelukkig maar jammer genoeg niet meer naar zuid oost azie, dus dan zie ik je in amsterdam pas weer! Kom je tussen raleigh en reizen door nog terug naar adam of niet? Anders zie ik je soweiso in de zomer weer bij awake ofzo en we kunnen lekker skypeeeeen. Ik heb net ook een berichtje aan tallie geschreven en die kan je anders ookk even lezen anders moet ik alles zo dubbel schrijven ;)
    maar in ieder geval nog heel veel plezier daar, mis je jannoe dus kom maar gewoon snel weer thuis! heel veel liefs xxx

  25. Charlotte Hendriks
    Hi lot, all well?? Leuk dat je mailde. Nu ga je waarschijnlijk aan de trektocht beginnen! Succes. Ik hoop dat je niet teveel blaren krijgt, maar weet wel dat je je schoenen waarschijnlijk al goed hebt ingelopen in de afgelopen weken. De kaart uit india is aangekomen (vandaag 28 mrt!) Ik weet niet hoe lang deze er over heeft gedaan. Heb je onze kaart gekregen?? Hier alles goed. Ben weer hard aan het studeren, want volgende week heb ik weer tentamens. Verder thuis alles goed. We zijn wel heel benieuwd naar alle verhalen. Liefs voor nu. Tot gauw en safe journey! Hanneke

  26. Jan leeman echo 3
    Lieve jan, fijn om je stem te horen vorige week. Goed om te horen dat je het goed maakt en dat alles prima met je gaat. Je klonk heel zelfverzekerd en door tastend. India doet je goed. Nu in een nieuwe groep. Inderdaad ver weg van basecamp. Lekker aan zee, lijkt het wel. We missen je nu wel, hoor. Gisteren was ik naar opa en oma en op de terug weg in de auto kei hard techno. Zo was jij er ook bij. Ik ben benieuwd om te horen wat je nu aan het doen bent. Zet hem op en veel liefs van jet

  27. To - Jenna Winstanley - Tango 5

    Hi Jenz,

    Hope your feet are bearing up and are not covered in too many blisters and that you're not too exhausted from all the walking!

    Not much to report really. Some developments at work. Will fill you in when we speak next. Looking forward to some time off at Easter. As you know Mum has Heike and Moritz staying. Todd and I are going there for dinner on Sunday and then going to London together on Monday to see the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate. Very excited!

    I am currently eating a homemade creme egg which is the size of a small tennis ball.... one of the girls in work made them.... sooooo sickly! I don't think I can finish it. Well maybe just the creme part not the chocolate lol.

    Miss you. Take care. Lots of love.

    Christina xxx