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 12 July 2012

...In Which the First of the Raleighvengers Assemble.

One of the many happy duties that fall to me as Comms Officer is to bring you news of each new, grinning arrival to fieldbase, not least my own! After stepping off of our respective planes in a considerably more stiff and bleary-eyed state than we had entered them, Katherine Lees our administrator, Lizzie Bichard our advanced team medic, and little old me found ourselves at Bangalore International Airport.

No time, however, to stop and savour the fact that this, our very first time on Indian soil, was less than one hour old! Our driver, a thoroughly affable chap affectionately known here as “Little” Manju (there is a “Big” Manju at Raleigh too, you see!), is ready and waiting for us at the Arrivals gate with a handshake and a warm smile and proceeds to whisk us off to Field Base in Jayapura in one of Raleigh’s three rather impressive 4 x 4s. Just as Bangalore is opening its eyes to the new day, so do we feel quite ready to close ours for the “night”, but the visual splendour on offer during our four hour journey quickens the pulse right from curtain-up with its dazzling flashes of colour, heady scents and cacophony of unexpectedly musical car horns. “Sleep can wait”, I think to myself. Another beast of a lorry then bellows its presence next to my ear. “Hmm. Sleep will have to wait”.

 It is mid morning by the time we come to a halt at the gates of Field Base and, as the red dust settles around the tyres, we find ourselves in an altogether more peaceful environment. Inside, we are greeted with a warm welcome from our friends and fellow colleagues as well as an unexpected sense of relief about just how homely and serene a place this is. Peruse the photos below to get a first look at where our venturers will soon be living during the induction and changeover phases.

The hub of operations a.k.a field base itself!

The dining room / presentation room / occasional nightclub

Venturers' dorms (ladies left, gents right)

The picturesque path through field base
A picture of the coolest thing in field base...and some other guy.
Tea is drunk (nay, downed!), heavy packs unshouldered, and life for the next eight weeks quickly settled into through a series of briefings... but not before some more tea of course...oh, and did I mention the curry? I think it may need its own post to do it justice. Watch this space.

I can’t help but notice, as I sit on the veranda of the main house, sipping yet more tea, that there seems to be some sort of movement at the other end of the Field Base compound. As it transpires, we are far from being its only occupants. This year, and for the very first time, Raleigh is operating an ICS (International Citizen Service) expedition alongside its regular five week one. Whereas regular expeditions can comprise adventure, environmental and community phases, the ICS offers its participants the chance to engage solely with community projects over a much longer period than is otherwise possible, and places an extra emphasis on delivering positive social action once they return to native soil.

About twenty of these ICS venturers can be seen hurriedly scurrying to and fro at the other end of Field Base, carrying out last minute preparations, practising emergency drills and, in short, making sure that everything is tuned up properly for the off, all under the direction of their project managers Katie, Nathalie and Manju (a third chap on Raleigh named Manju, no less!). Our first full day at Field Base, so I learn, will also be their last - at least for some time; so lunch provides an ideal opportunity to quiz them about how they are and learn about all things Indian, but mainly about the knack of eating with one hand, how long our jet lag will last for and joking about what I should do in the unlikely event that I can’t handle the heat of the mild curry in front of me. Two minutes later, and in a state of some discomfort, I positively inhale the sweet curds on offer and spend the rest of the afternoon resembling a smouldering campfire every time I talk, which, by design, is not often.

Next time on the Raleigh India 12I Blog: Lunch on a Rooftop in Mysore - Market Research and a Very Sleepy Dog.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there Mitch!
    Super work on the blog for Raleigh India!
    It is such a pleasure to read some of the beautiful literature that comes from your head!
    I hope you are well and enjoying every second of it!
    I miss you lots and lots - even though I'm incredibly jealous of all the fun you're enevitably having!
    Pura Vida!
    Lots of love for safe travels
    Corrie xxxxx