Maybe I’m saying too much about the Raleigh International programme on this blog, but I hope it may be of help to some people considering attending, or volunteering for a staff role.
The blog’s been a bit quiet as we have been away at an adventure centre on the Kiulu River having some jungle training. We had a great couple of days there and luckily managed to avoid any rainstorms as it was already slippy enough. We spent out first day getting medical briefs, and being shown how to erect ‘bashers’ (think tarps and hammocks in trye Ray Mears style!) using bamboo, parangs (large machete type knifes) and mosquito nets. We had a bit of luxury the first night by cooking under shelter, and staying in the equivalent of Ikea bashers – they were erected already, all we had to do was put up the mossie nets.
The next day we loaded all our kit and radios per team and trekked into the jungle. I think my pack must have been about 20 kilos with the camera stuff in there as well as the radio. We set up the radios half way in then moved into camp by the river. It was quite a surreal site watching everyone set up the bashers in the jungle environment, even more surreal watching everyone once it got dark, cursing and swearing at collapsed hammocks or mossie nets under torchlight.
Just after setting up we managed to steal a few minutes to have a dip in the river before cooking up dinner on the trangia stoves, and playing some example icebreaker games. To be honest I had a far better sleep than I thought I would have, but I reckon the ear plugs helped a great deal. I could still hear the most amazing noises through them, so much so I had to check it wasn’t chucking it down with rain a few times. Once we were wrapped up under shelter I’m sure there were several folk wishing it had actually had a full on rainstorm for 30 mins to see if our shelters held up!! I did hold off having a number 2 in the long drop (toilet, a.k.a. dug out hole) though…after all I knew we’d be back at field base soon!
After a mock medical situation and radio call in on the way back we had some time for R&R where I managed to walk into Lintas, the part of Kota Kinabalu we are based in.
To get an alternative take on Malay culture we headed for a night of Karaoke….apparently government ministers even sing this to chill out a bit after meetings!
Today the projects were allocated which was exciting to watch as people found out their destiny for the next three months. Although field base is in a city, there are amazing projects to take part in. Projects such as Imbak Canyon are only about 1.5hrs helicopter flying time away from KK, but its a 15 hours road journey to get there, and river crossing are regularly too high for days on end. It sounds amazing in there with untouched rainforest and amazing wildlife. The community and adventure projects are superb for this programme as well ranging from building kindergartens to trekking up Mt Kinabalu to building a water storage facility.
Time to disappear for the night. Over.