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

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

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Into the Field - The PMs Complete Their Project Planning Visits

Having received their project allocations, the next step was for the PM teams to visit their project sites to perform Project Planning Visit (PPVs). The PPV is a key element in expedition planning, and includes:

Recce of project site
Risk, environmental and cultural impact assessments
Hospital recce and CASEVAC plan
Food and equipment needs

The teams were away for two days and nights. Read on for a flavour of what they did and saw....

Charlie 1 – Eco sanitation, Gandhanahalli (Karnataka)

Gandhanahalli is a small but densely packed village of 7,000 people, surrounded by tea and tobacco plantations and rice paddies.

George, Jenny and Hannah were welcomed by Mr Raju, the MYKAPS (project partner) coordinator, who introduced them to the village leader and a relative who had recently completed a Raleigh expedition.

The Charlie 1 team being made welcome
They were then shown round the village. Having identified a place for the Venturers to stay – a school – they visited the houses of ten of the fifteen ‘beneficiary’ families who will receive eco sanitation units.

The next day they visited some previous beneficiaries and were gratified to find the toilets generally well maintained and in use (though presumably not at the time). They also toured the closest main hospital.

Hannah pleased to find the existing units well maintained
They spent one night at the MYKAPS headquarters in the local town, and one night with a local family dining on chapatis, rice and chicken curry.

George’s greatest impression: ‘It was definitely an eye-opener. The scale is much bigger than I’d expected and the sites are more spread out. The people were extremely friendly.’

Charlie 2 – Sanitation units, Chapanthodu (Tamil Nadu)

Although Charlie 2 will not start until phase 2, Ruth and Gemma were tasked with doing the PPV for Chapanthodu.

They were given a very warm welcome, garlands and all, and met villagers and the project partner representative from CTRD (Centre for Tribal and Rural Development).

A colourful welcome for Gemma and Ruth
They visited all eight beneficiary house where the sanitation units will be built, serving about forty people. The main benefits versus the current situation of having to ‘go’ in adjacent fields are reduced risk of attack from elephants during hours of darkness, ease of access and increased dignity, especially for the women.

Down to business - a working lunch
Ruth’s greatest impression: 'The villagers were so welcoming and so keen to receive their toilets and so grateful for the ones they have already received.'

Echo 3 – Biogas units, Gandathur (Karnataka)

Gandathur is a small village of about 130 houses along a bumpy dirt track in a very scenic area.

After meeting the MYKAPS project coordinator and visiting the local hospital, Emma and Sarah went to the project site. They identified a suitable campsite for the Venturers to build their bashas (bamboo beds) near to a reservoir.

Basic but comfortable - before the visit the PMs were shown how to build bashas
They were served chai cooked using a biogas unit installed by a previous Raleigh expedition, and were introduced to the cows who provide the ‘input’. Then they visited all four beneficiary families and saw how keen they were to receive their own biogas unit.

They stayed at the village leader’s house, home to four generations, where their cultural experience included watching Indian Superman on TV. (He has a tiger instead of ‘S’ on his front but is still called ‘Superman’.)

Bridging the generation gap?
Tango 5  - Adventure project , Misapulimala (Karnataka and Kerala)

Here are some words kindly provided by Harry, with assistance from Lou and Jess:

Saturday started bright and early with an 06.00 departure. Jess was immediately keen on resuming the horizontal position in the jeep for our three-hour drive to Virarajendrapet.

We were met by our guides – Nikil and Dhiloop – who drove us to the start point of our trek. We then loaded up our rucksacks for a three-hour hike. After much sweating we stood back and admired the wonderful views from the top. 

Wonderful views from the top
Our evening was spent planning the trek details, risk assessing and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analyzing while listening to quality Bollywood TV.

'T5 rules OK'
On day 2 we headed to Madekeri hospital, where we managed to speak to the head doctor after a half-our wait and some diplomacy from Manju, our driver. After a quick café stop we drove along our cycle route, visiting the day 7 campsite and on to the day 5 and 6 campsite, which provided a stunning panorama over the paddyfields.

We demolished two tubs of processed cheese and Parle G biscuits for lunch, after which the heavens opened. So we retired to our roomy (?) tents for more planning. Boil-in-the-bag dinners all round at the landowner’s shelter finished us off! We were up very early in the morning to get back to Fieldbase by 10.00. Fortunately the rain stopped!

Tango 6 - Adventure project , Malabar Water Trail (Kerala)

Since the Tango 6 trek is well-established and too far away for a two-day trip, Blair, Alex and Laura accompanied Tango 5 on their PPV.

Tango 5 and 6 'doing lunch'. Lou is there somewhere!
Unencumbered by the need to write their own PPV, they had time to write a trekking song which they performed to wide acclaim back at Fieldbase. Its first verse goes like this:

When I wake up, yeah, I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s trekking on Raleigh
When I trek out, yeah, I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s buddied up with you
When I wake up, yeah, I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be sharing a tent of two or three
When I trek out, yeah, I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be paired up with my sun cream buddy.

Inspired, isn’t it?
Tango 6 - going for a song
After the PMs had completed their PPV reports and been debriefed, we all went in to Mysore on Sunday evening to see the palace lit up and enjoy a splendid dinner.
The palace at Mysore - impressive by day and night
The ‘hard skills’ training over, the rest of this week will focus on ‘soft skills’.

It’s now less than a week until the Venturers arrive ....


  1. Maureen Whitlock4 October 2012 at 17:52

    To Emma Whitlock
    Really interesting to see more details of your project. Intrigued to know how the biogas unit works. Good luck with the cows! Do they have names?
    Have fun, best wishes to you and Sarah and everyone.
    Mum x

    1. Good to have photographic evidence that you are in India and not out clubbing!! Enjoy my son. Have just walked four hours in Rome. Should have broken in my walking shoes first!!!

  2. To Jocelyn Dunne 12J
    It sounds like your trip to Fieldbase was even more exciting then you had expected! Good to know that everyone has now arrived.
    We went to Wivs today for Beebles birthday. She loved the tricycle we got for her - and so does Jess. It has a handle for her to push and steer it, so that mom is in control. There were screams of excitement when Grandad raced along the seafront. I'm not sure who had more fun! Well, I hope you enjoy your adventures too! Lots of love form everyone Mum, Dad and Tom xxx

  3. Seth -12j - spent the day at the Vatican today, you can imagine my response. But Rome is culturally an amazing place, but we have trekked a lot!!!cant wait to hear you news and hope that you are settling down now. Never forgotten. Never. Keep smiling Dad x

  4. Laura Davies PM Tango 6
    Expedition 12J

    Hi Laura,

    JJ and I are thinking of you and hope you're having an absolutely amazing time! There are a couple of photies up and you look really happy! We're seeing Rich for dinner on the 19th so will check up on him too and make sure he's looking after himself!: )

    Not much news to report from this end I'm afraid! It's definitely autumn now and the time of umbrellas and bed socks is upon us! Yesterday the shard looked like it was chopped in half because there was so much fog! I am also mentally preparing for my 30th which is in November and I am not looking forward to crossing over to the dark side!

    Look after yourself lovely Laura and we absolutely can't wait to hear about all your amazing experiences when you come back.

    Stay safe and keep smiling : )
    Elizabeth and JJ x

  5. Keep you head up, your feet firmly one the ground, especially when trekking and I am delighted its proving alright. It's cold , wet, dark and miserable here, so count yourself lucky!!! Miss you loads x