7th November 2014
All of our groups returned on Friday, 31st October, for the mad rush which we call changeover – it’s a chance for everyone to catch up with their friends before they find out where their next phase will be…
It was great for all our venturers to come together for the first time in nearly three weeks and swap stories of the amazing achievements they’d completed, the personal challenges they’d overcome, and the creepy-crawlies they’d had to deal with!
After that, it was time to reallocate our venturers and volunteer managers to their new projects. Here’s where everyone will be for the next three weeks:
Alpha 2 will be in Kg Bom Bong Satu, about an hour’s off-road drive from the northern Sabah town of Kota Marudu. While there, the team will install a gravity-fed water system and two sanitation units, and deliver training sessions to raise understanding of sanitation, health and hygiene. This is a two-phase project, and it should bring benefits to around 180 local people. Our project partners for Alpha 2 are the Asian Forestry Company Sabah and Coca-Cola.
Alpha 2: Tennessee, Ed, Wilkie, Rod, Friso, Abby, Giles, Keith, Laura, Katie, Zoe, Molly, Hannah, Sophie, Casey, Diana
Alpha 3 will spend Phase 2 in the stunning Maliau Basin, and will continue work on our natural resource management (NRM) programme which aims to protect and conserve mega-biologically diverse areas and provide greater access to them for research and education. Alpha 3 will build on the work of the first phase by continuing to upgrade and maintain the trail from the field centre to Seraya camp. Our project partner for Alpha 3 is Yayasan Sabah.
Alpha 3: Uma, Maria, Diane, Emily, Alexandra, Tom, Aweq, Fred, Oscar, Stuart, Don, Alex, NYC, Max, Becky
The Imbak Canyon Conservation Area is one of the last untouched and relatively unexplored primary virgin rainforests in Sabah, if not the whole of Malaysia. Located in central Sabah, it is a 25km-long valley with a self-contained ecosystem surrounded on three sides by sandstone cliffs reaching 3,674 feet. This is Alpha 4’s home for the next 19 days as they also work on Raleigh’s NRM project. Alpha 4 will build and maintain a trail between two research camps and construct a shelter and toilet along the route. This will help ease access for researchers in this vitally important conservation area.
Our project partner for this project is also Yayasan Sabah.
Alpha 4: Dusip, Richard, Stefan, Huib, Ollie, Sara, Fiona, Joanne, Emma, Kate, Amy, Charina, Maria, Reece, Taija
Alphas 5 & 6 will, as before, be undertaking the leadership and adventure phase. Alpha 5 has begun with a dive course and training in marine environmentalism, delivered from Mamutik Island in the Tunku Abdel Rahman National Park. Alpha 6 is trekking in Long Pa Sia in the far south of Sabah, near the border with Sarawak and the Indonesian state of Kalimantan. Both Alpha groups will switch during the phase. Our project partners for these phases are the Long Pa Sia guides and Borneo Divers.
Alpha 5: Tom, Jemima, Anton, Olivia, Teeny, Jessie, Elle, Anna, Ruth, Mees, Oscar, Antoine, Sian, Austin, Nic
Alpha 6: Cha, James, Gijs, Lisanne, Douglas, Olivia, Simon, Tegen, David, Max, Reid, Kieran, Beatrice, Sam, Claire, Leah
As well as learning what they’ll be up to over the second phase, our venturers and volunteer managers took part in Active Global Citizenship discussions during changeover. These focussed on Action At Home and encouraged everyone to think about what will happen after expedition. Everyone shared information about people who have inspired them and made a difference, and thought about what the most important factors were in taking action once they return home. Volunteers talked about the things they care about and want to make their mark on, and shared ideas about how this could be done. As often happens when we discuss things close to us, at times it became emotional, but we hope it has inspired people to keep making a positive impact long after expedition 14J closes.
Finally, it was time for the Raleigh Olympics. Our new Alpha groups took part in the mental challenge of Charades Whispers, the tests of skill and daring which are Slot Machines and Dizzy Dinosaurs, and the physical exertions of Tug of War and the fabled Bravo push (getting a Landrover from A to B using nothing but human power). Of course, everyone was assisted in their rehydration by ‘helpful’ volunteer managers carrying bowls full of water… The winner was Alpha 6, and we’re sure that their team spirit will help them out in their Long Pa Sia trek. In true Olympian fashion, each Alpha group was rewarded for their Herculean efforts under the Sabah sun with delicious ice cream!
Everyone rose before the sun on Sunday, 2nd November, to enjoy a quick breakfast and say fond farewells before departing for Phase 2. The teams will be out until 21st November, when they’ll return to base camp for their second and final changeover.