In the (very) early hours of Saturday 15 September, the advance party of six Volunteer Managers (VMs) arrived at Bangalore airport ready for the five-hour bus trip to Fieldbase near Mysore.
Anna, Gemma, Harry (Harriet), David and Graham had flown in from London, while Ruth had arrived from Singapore.
After a traditional Indian welcome of garlands and red dye on our foreheads, and introductions to some of the resident Indian and British Raleigh staff, we were treated to a tour of Fieldbase, our ‘home’ for the next three months.
During our first week we have been getting to know each other, learning and starting our new jobs and enjoying some cultural visits in the local area. The training programme for the Project Managers (PMs), who will arrive on Friday, is well underway.
|Yathish, Paul, Anna, Harry, Simon (top), Kalam, Ruth, Theja, Gemma, Graham and Swarmana pose by the bus which brought us from the airport to Fieldbase. David is the one behind the camera!|
Here are a few words from each of the new VMs:
Anna (Logistics Manager)
‘I’m Anna, the Logistics Manager for our expedition, known around here as ‘Logs’. It’s my job to make sure everyone has everything they need to do their job, from honey to hard hats and tea to toilet paper!
I’ll be asking the PMs to help by recognizing the value of Raleigh’s investment in supplying the gear, using equipment and food sensibly, and inspiring the Venturers to return things in the same condition as they’d like to receive them.
As the Aussie on the team, I bring a love of cricket, a laid back attitude, a sense of humour and an apparently hilarious accent!’
‘I’m Gemma, the Administrator for 12J. My role is to do all the boring but necessary paperwork, to keep us stocked up with stationery and to manage the shop. If people need anything that isn’t in stock, I’ll try to find it for them. I’ll also lock up people’s valuables for them.
I’ve come to Raleigh because I was living in the USA but my visa expired. So I decided to do Raleigh until I figure out the rest of my life!’
‘I’m Harry, your advanced medic. I’m here to look after everyone (hopefully!)
This is my first time in India and I’m loving having a break from hospital work in the UK. I love travel, so will be happy to hear about people’s holidays anytime!
Ruth (Monitoring and Evaluation Officer)
‘Hi! This is Ruth, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of 12J. My role is to assess the impact that Raleigh’s projects have on the communities, through interviews and focus group discussions.
Sounds boring? Not at all! This involves first-hand interaction with local people, be it over a cup of chai in the comfort of their home or during their breaktime at work amidst the beautiful tea plantation. I’ll be looking for Venturers to join me who want to gain real insights from the people they are working with.
Coming from the small island of Singapore, I look forward to this Raleigh experience as a break from my city lifestyle that will help me to slow down and appreciate the finer things in life.’
‘Hi! I’m David, your friendly (and slightly tortuous) expedition photographer. My job is to document everything that goes on both for Raleigh and for participants. If I can provide team members with mementoes of their time on expedition to take away, then my job is pretty much done.
Venturers and PMs can help me by taking pictures themselves and passing them on to me. I look forward to receiving some awesome ones!
I came to India with Raleigh to experience something new and challenging, different from the day-to-day photo and video work I do at home. This mostly involves messing about like a big child with a camera.’
Graham (Communications Officer)
'Hi. I’m Graham, and my job includes updating the expedition blog (around twice a week); producing a magazine for people to take away at the end of the expedition, an Expedition 12J T-shirt and some other mementoes, and a set of case studies for the people at Raleigh head office to use as a marketing tool. Much of my work involves close cooperation with Dave.
We’ll be on the lookout for stories, anecdotes and images from Venturers and PMs to help bring the blog and magazine to life - a chance for them to get their name in lights and make their loved ones proud!
I came to Raleigh India to try to refresh my creative juices and to make a difference, albeit in a small way.’