14th February 2014As I write, the last of our Alpha groups have just completed their final stages of travel to project sites, having set off from WAMO at 6am yesterday morning. The last five days have flown by in a whirl of Venturer training and team building activity, with a little fun thrown in on the way! From the moment the Venturer bus arrived and we said hello for the very first time, the energy of Expedition 14B has been fantastic. Split into four Delta groups, each team has undergone training in everything from camp building to incident management. We even had time for a chapatti making competition: well done Delta 1 on your victory! The next ten weeks will be both rewarding and challenging, and so it is important to make sure everyone is fully prepared for what lies ahead, and the training is an important part of that. As youth empowerment is at the heart of Raleigh’s work, I’m looking forward to telling you about their journeys, both physical and personal, as the weeks go on. It has been great to get to know everyone, seeing Venturers come out of their shells as they face new experiences, make new friends and prepare for their first phase out on the project sites. And the VMs have stepped up too; leading their teams with enthusiasm and integrity, offering support and encouragement as well as practical advice about expedition life, especially the virtues of foot powder and staying hydrated… So now, let me introduce you to our brand new Alpha groups! Alpha One set off yesterday on their first day of trekking, arriving in Iringa at lunch time. We’ll be popping in on them for a food drop half way through our first phase, so watch this space for their news soon! Alpha Three are now settled into their base in Udzungwa, and today is their first day of working on the bee fence project! We’ll see them over food drop too. Alpha Four have arrived at Endashangwet today; this morning they will have seen Kilimanjaro in the distance on the way to the project site. Our photographer Adam is with them for the next week, so we’ll be able to bring you photographs of the project set up soon! And Alpha Five have arrived at the Early Childhood Development Centre, having stopped in Singida last night. The end of this phase sees the close of the project, with an opening ceremony. Both Adam and I will be heading up there at the end of the phase to let you know how they have all got on. Thank you to everyone who has sent messages via the blog so far. We can pass them on when a member of staff visits a project or during changeover, so do keep them coming! Next time we’re going to go behind the scenes looking at what our logistics team have been up to.