"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."

14th August 2014


A personal account of expedition life from Volunteer Manager Chris Legg:

"Before coming on Raleigh I was excited about being able to push myself out of my comfort zones whilst providing a great service not only to the local people of Borneo but helping to develop the venturers that were partaking in the expedition. 

After researching Raleigh and the work they do I felt that joining would be making a great contribution and help me grow whilst helping others.


My main project whilst out in Borneo was in Maliau Basin. Here we were building trails to help boost the appeal of Maliau to visitors and to help with continued research. There are many treks into the basin but these on the whole are difficult and require good fitness and many days to complete. By creating these smaller trails around the study center it makes it less daunting for visitors wanting to come and visit this amazing environment.  Building awareness of Maliau Basin is key to its survival.


The first task when we arrived in Maliau Basin was to begin setting up the camp in which we would spend the majority of the phase. This is a great chance for the venturers to bond and find out first hand where their individual strengths lie.

As a Volunteer Manager it would be easy to take the lead but I quickly learnt that standing back and facilitating the venturers’ learning was a far better way to grow confidence and decision making skills. Out on project sites there can often be disagreements but it is important to let this stage of the group formation happen; allowing individuals to deal with conflict resolution and allowing the stronger minded people to realise the worth of others’ opinions.


The work we have completed at Maliau Basin involved working hard in the morning until late afternoon.  We worked with the ranger to clear trails, creating steps and beginning new trails. After the day’s work we encourage the venturers to use their time wisely, making the most of the many completed trails surrounding the camp. The sky bridge canopy walk provides a great view point over the forest which is constantly changing depending on the time of day and there’s a multitude of animals to see and learn about.


During my stay I have seen a great deal of birds and mammals, including the Bornean gibbons which can be heard calling throughout the morning.  We offered the venturers the chance to do early morning gibbon walks, leaving before breakfast at 5.20, triangulating and tracking the calls. Leaving at this time of the morning makes it far more likely to see other animals that forage in the coolness of the morning. We also had the opportunity to complete night walks with the rangers; again another chance to experience what the environment offers at different times. With the lack of lights around the area there is next to no light leakage and the views of the stars are simply stunning.

night time

Being in Maliau Basin provides such a great learning opportunity for everyone. The library has a wealth of knowledge and I would often find myself researching the wonders of Maliau. This helps me give more knowledge to some of the venturers who are less keen to research themselves but still insist on asking lots of questions!


To help the venturers get more out of their time we encouraged them to prepare presentations on the environment in which we were staying. This was a great way to prepare the younger venturers for further education, doing their own research and presenting their findings in their own way.   


I've really enjoyed the environmental phase and I feel like I've become an ambassador for Maliau Basin. Being a Volunteer Manager is a hard job. Facilitating the venturers to learn new skills and work successfully together is a 24 hour job, but massively satisfying. It’s so rewarding seeing the venturers become more rounded and more experienced in life.”  


Chris Legg, Volunteer Manager