Hello and Welcome…

5th June 2013

Hello and welcome to our very first post of a shiny new Raleigh Borneo blog! My name is Helen and I am your Communications Officer for 13 E and F Expedition.Through words, photos and film I will be taking you with us over the next 3 months and giving an insight into life on expedition. I am joined on this blog by our Expedition Photographer, Ian who will be bringing it to life with his action shots.

This blog is also your space!

Please do post your messages here for the Venturers and Volunteer Managers as phones, email and even Facebook can't stretch as far as the middle of the virgin rainforest. Messages from home really do give your loved ones a boost when they need it most.

To post a message

Scroll down to the bottom of the most recent blog entry and click on the 'Comments' link. A box will appear to write your message. Include the full name and project group of who your message is for then click 'Post comment' and you're all done.

Your message won't appear on the blog unless it is directly related to one of the blog posts or specific to the issues/topics faced on a Raleigh expedition or in Borneo. If it is a message for friends and family, it will be passed directly to them. Please be rest assured that ALL messages DO get passed on.

The best way to stay up to date is to subscribe to this blog by entering your email address into the box in the top left hand corner. You will receive an email every time there is an update.

You can tweet us too..

@raleighborneo #borneo13E&F

Ian and I are both Volunteer Managers and make up part of the staff Advance Team pictured above who arrived at Raleigh Borneo Field Base, Kota Kinabalu on Monday. I introduce us individually below. Next week we will be joined by a further team of 23 Volunteer Managers who include Project Managers, Medics, Logistics and Fieldbase Officer who you will hear more about later.

Collectively we complete 2-3 weeks in-country training before training up the Venturers and heading out on expedition projects. Our Volunteer Manager team make up a diverse mix of people from a variety of backgrounds with ages spanning 3 decades. We will inspire Venturers to take everything they can from expedition.

Raleigh have been running expeditions in Malaysia since 1987 and established a permanent Fieldbase in Kota Kinabalu 11 years ago. Since then there have been more than 200 projects across Borneo and over 26, five and ten week expeditions. Working with local project partners in Borneo, Raleigh's community, environmental and adventure projects offer the adventure of a lifetime whilst challenging and inspiring all who take part to learn new skills and strengths.

The Volunteer Manager team are committed to inspiring young people to be all they can be and are led by permanent in-country staff Mac, Country Director and Sarah, Country Programme Manager:

Mac's strategic work focuses on Raleigh Borneo's external relationships. He works hard to maintain partnerships with all our Country Partners, as well as project planning, funding and business development.

Sarah is in charge of delivering the expedition programmes and managing the team of Volunteer Managers. It's her job to ensure that everything is in ship-shape order, everyone is fully trained and we're ready for anything the expedition throws at us.

Together Mac and Sarah ensure the Raleigh Borneo projects are sustainable, respond to locally defined needs and are delivered safely and to a high standard. In no particular order let me introduce you to our Advance Team.

Phili, Deputy Programme Manager

Phili, a volunteer herself, assists Sarah with coordinating the Volunteer Managers who run the expedition. She is always full of beans bouncing around making sure that everything is running smoothly at Field Base and is brilliant at getting us energised (and organised) particularly first thing in the morning.

Ian, 5 week Expedition Coordinator

He is effectively Deputy Programme Manager for Venturers participating in the 5 week expedition. The 3 Alpha groups on Ian's 5 week expedition will be completing 1 environmental project and 2 community projects. Last year Ian volunteered as Trek Leader for the Adventure phase so he joins us on expedition equipped with a wealth of experience.

Helen, Communications Officer (me!)

I'm here to keep the lines of communication open throughout expeditions 13E&F. Through this blog, social media, Sabah Sun newsletter, end of expedition magazine and creating the in-country press coverage for our expedition and valued sponsors I will endeavour to cover everything that's happening throughout all 3 project phases. I am looking forward to organising the opening and closing ceremonies and visiting project sites to make sure your messages and parcels reach the most far-flung parts of the jungle - I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Ian, Photographer

Ian is documenting the 13E Expedition with his camera and will be constantly out and about visiting project sites taking photos and film for this blog, end-of-expedition magazine and DVD. Unsurprisingly he will spend most of his time looking through a lens so here's a rare snap of Ian without a camera attached to his face!

Rob, Logistics Manager, Ali, Logistics Coordinator, Le Leng, Logistics Co-ordinator

Our advance Logs Team have been super busy preparing all the supplies and checking that everything is safe and ready for expedition. These guys really are at the heart of our expedition spending lots of time driving off road delivering kit and enough 'Raleigh Rations' for the Venturers and Project Managers to eat over the next three months.

I tested out our film equipment on the guys while they were busy in the Radio Room. Take a look at them in action.. 

Nat, Admin Officer

With 150 Venturers and Volunteer Managers on Phase 1, 170 on Ph ase 2 and 120 on Phase 3 of this expedition, we are so lucky that Nat is ridiculously organised. We depend on her to get all the crucial paperwork, information and supplies prepared and kept in order for all of us throughout all 3 project phases. She also visits the project sites and will help out at changeovers. There is never a dull moment with Nat around and she is a self-confessed addict to marshmallows.

Fern, Advance Medic

Fern has come out to Fieldbase ahead of our other Medics to prepare all the medical kits which go out on expedition. She is currently busy meeting with healthcare officials at the local hospital and starting one-to-one checkups with us. During the expedition there will always be one medic at Fieldbase and the rest will be out on project sites making sure that everyone is fit and healthy.

The Advance Team have only been here for a few days and have already been spoilt with Loli's incredibly tasty Malaysian cooking and homemade cakes. Loli says if she wasn't our chef she would like to be a millionaire so she could help lots of people and move to the Philippines.

And last but not least I leave you with..

Our four Raleigh Guard Kittens: Ping, Pumpkin, Pav and Pepper. They play an integral role providing high level security for Fieldbase. However, when they are on a rare break from patrolling the area they are responsible for cuddles. No doubt photos of them all will crop up here as we go on!

In the next blog..I'll be introducing you to the rest of our Volunteer Managers, explaining their roles and revealing the expedition projects. *drum roll please*