Sorry for the delay... Raleigh training is pretty full on and not much spare time for communication with the outside world... better late than never as i always say:-)
Well most importantly i am still alive and well... unless you count the hundreds of mossie bites i have all over my legs, but i am learning to love them!!
Borneo is a lovely place- very beautiful and the people are lovely, very friendly. There are lots of weird and wonderful foods and animals...
I have now been here for 8 days, after one night at the lovely Step Inn hostel in Kota Kinablu (whats a few bed bugs between friends) i came over to Raleigh HQ for 2 weeks training.. Generally we have been getting ourselve prepared for the young peoples arrival in a few days (ish... lost track of time so not sure when they are actually arriving??) and have been working on getting everything ready for our allocated projects.
As part of the training we went to camp out in the Jungle for a couple of days- this involved trekking in with tonnes of stuff and setting up camp in the pouring rain. Basically we had to make our own beds on a steep hill by hanging some tarp beween two trees and then attaching a hammock underneath ( Oh.. & did i mention it was pouring with rain??) & it was extremely muddy and slippy!! I fell over loads and if there was a hidden camera watching me trying to get into that Hammock that night we would have made a fortune selling the footage to You've been framed! I can hear you laughing!! Don't blame you.... I also trekked back to base in my Pijama bottoms cause everything else was wet and muddy, which was a bit of a sight ( the ones with the aliens for those who know:-) )
Anyway, I survived that ( just) and we were then allocated our projects. For phase one I will be at the Sunbear Sanctuary( next door to the Orangutan Santuary)- basically the project is about building a centre to protect the bears who are an endangered spieces and help to atrract visitors providing an income ( well thats the general gist i think- i hope no one offical is reading in case that wrong...!!) Anyway, it sounds amazing and we will get to visit the Organgutan Sanctuary behind the scenes whilst there.
For phase 2 & 3 i will be on a project in a very remote area of Sabah in a small village (20 houses or so) about 4 hours away from Kota Kinabalu. To reach the village you have to drive for 3 hours on the main road and then go in a 4x4 vehicle for 1 & 1/2 hours across rough terrain- this involves crossing a few rivers in the 4x4 and negotiating some very tough surfaces- sadly i am not trusted to drive a 4x4 so will just be a passenger!! I have just come back from spending a night in the village and it was amazing. The village is very poor and the people don't really own much at all. They have no electricity and only have a few taps in the village for water which were put in this year by Raleigh. They live in very basic wooden houses on stilts. Despite all this they are very generous and will give you whatever they have!
We stayed with the JKKK who is basically the chief of the village and what he says goes!! It was amazing and quite humbling to stay in this little shack- they have no furniture and its really just an empty shell. But some things really don't change wherever you are.. family dynamics- kids playing and fighting, arguing over the remote ( yes they had a TV and a generator!!) and what to watch on TV there were also posters of popstars inside and at one point we were watching a music video .. Blue!!! Yes, in the middle of the Jungle!!
The idea is to build a Bali Riher- (community hall) as currently they have no communal areas in the village to congregate. They will have this as a meeting place to discuss imporatnt issues and to use for other formal occassions such as weddings etc... The village gave this as the second most important issue for them after access to clean water- which they also now have. I will be heading off there with 2 other project managers and about 12 venturers for the final two phases ( so there for about 6 weeks in total to build it) We will be setting up a basic camp site in the village. The kids in the village are also great and we have already started making friends
Now i hear you saying.. how do you build a community hall?? and thats a very good question.. i have no idea!!Luckiliy one of the other PM's is a darn sight handier than me so if putting a design together as we speak.
Amyway i probably won't have a chance to update again until the end of the projects as things are all go once the young people arrive. So will probably be mid Dec before my next blog and i will let you know how i get on with all this..
I am having a great time, not homesick but missing my friends and family. Sending loads of love fro, Borneo- will attach some pictures really soon. Hope everyone is well
Loads and loads of love