It's a jungle out there!

24th June 2013

The three practical days training in the wild Bornean jungle was an awesome experience! The Volunteer Manager Team arrived at the very beautiful surroundings of Raleigh Basecamp and set our mozzie nets up over our hammocks nestled right next to the Kiulu River..

The group was divided up to be taught trekking, living and surviving skills for the jungle, before setting off into the dense rainforest early the next day. Our jungle camp training included:

Raleigh rations:

Sussing out the food, menu, sharing the weight and cooking it using a trangia.

Thorough medical briefs and first aid:

Our training is on-going for this. Our medics led the sessions and ensured we were fully prepped on what to do in all likely medical situations, covering everything from insect bites and stings, taking care of our feet, broken bones, allergies, infections and generally all the skills to treat each other in the event of an accident.

Radio Comms:

While Mac had demonstrated how the radio works back at Fieldbase the day before, this time we got the chance to get our hands on their radio units and simulate radio conversations with ‘Zero’.

River crossing:

Bridges aren’t always an option in the jungle and reaching remote project sites may require crossing some rivers and so we learnt the safe way to get ourselves and our kit across a fast moving current as a team.

Camp craft:

Parang (pronounced pah-rahng, is the local word for machette and you can’t survive the jungle without it. Floyd, demonstrated how to use it safely and the skills to set up a basher and long drop with pieces of tarp, bamboo and paracord. He made it look easy.

"If it ain't raining, it ain't training"
- Mac McCarthy, Country Director for Raleigh Borneo

The individual groups trekked for about two hours equipped with rucksacks holding our radio comms, medical kit, cooking equipment, hammocks, bashas, and tarps rolled up onto a large bamboo which we took turns to carry between two. The route was challenging with some very steep and muddy inclines, narrow ridges, and water crossings.

On arrival to the camp, groups set about selecting trees for their hammocks and bashas, setting their mozzie nets and building the communal tarps shelter to congregate after dark. Everything was just in place before darkness fell with time for a well deserved dip in the nearby stream.

As soon as darkness fell, the rainforest came alive with the sound of exotic wildlife and the red lights on all our head torches came on as we cooked our al fresco suppers of noodles, pasta, tinned veg and baked beans.

It rained heavy that night, but as we all sat together under our big shelter sharing food and stories in the darkness, it was plain that we had formed a tight team in a short amount of time.  

Following a nervous night hoping our hammocks and bashers would hold out, we had breakfast and began the return trek back to basecamp. However, an unexpected casevac practice session was spung on us en-route when all our medics mysteriously fell and broke their ankles!

After successfully completing the procedure, which invlolved treating the patient, locating a clearing, setting up radio comms, building a stretcher and transporting the patient as a team, our jungle training finally came to a close and we headed back to fieldbase..

Soon enough, morning came and it was time to trek back to Basecamp. But really, the only thing on our minds besides Loli’s lunch was Project Allocations.
Drum roll please...!

10 week projects

Alpha 1 will be building a Kindergarten in Kampung Abingkoi

Project Managers: Jack, Jess, Kim,  Eva, Krystyna and Helen

Alpha 2 are constructing a Gravity Fed Water System in Kampung Sungai Magandi

Project Managers: Eva, Neruja and David

Alpha 3 are building a Suspension Bridge in Imbak Canyon

Project Managers: Sonja, Chris, Krystyna, Fern and Helen

Alpha 4 are constructing a camp for research in Danum Valley

Project Managers:  Tamzin, Murray, Jack, Aoife,  Phil and Dan

Alpha 5 and 6 are trekking and diving for the Adventure Phase in Long Pasia and Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park

Trek Leaders: Sonja, Phil,  Murray, Dan and Aoife..

and then..
  Fern, Dan, Kim & Sonja

Alpha 7 are repairing a Kindergarten at Kampung Tiong

Project Managers: Tamzin, Eva and Chris

5 Week Projects

Alpha 8 are constructing a Gravity Fed Water System in Kampung Lugu

Project Managers: Tracey and Teri

Alpha 9 are also constructing a Gravity Fed Water System and they will be in Kampung Bulud Batu

Project Mangers: Sophie and Leonora

Alpha 10 are carrying out a biodiversity study in Pitas

Project Mangers: Pip and Mike

Check back to read how all our PMs got on during their initial Project Planning Visits..