Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Road Trip Returns

After 12 manic days out on the road the Raleigh road trip teams are back at fieldbase - toot toot! Key words to sum up this road trip are as follows; adventurous, “flexible”, ambitious, insanitary, cultural, inspiring, bilingual and fun-tastic. After a few emergency food drops, mass consumptions of Energy Bomb and some refreshing visits and welcome embraces from the Alpha and Delta groups, the fieldbase team are now back in the office and already getting organised for the venturers arrival back at base in the next couple of days. Whilst out on the road we were able to visit a fair few groups between us, which means we have more blog updates for you from our trusty journalistic venturers! First up, Delta 4 in sunny Chirripo, documented by Yasmin Chopra...

After a five hour trek over varied terrain, Delta 4 made it to the village of Tsibakla. With regards to the project, the actual work began on the Thursday – at 6am! Having briefly visited the site on arrival the day before, Delta 4 managed to access the plot and put together a strategy. So it was all hands on deck on Thursday as we set about measuring the land – 6 metres by 14 metres – and began the essential but tedious job of weeding. And considering this is Costa Rica at its lushest, this is not the easiest task! That aside, we disassembled the ‘shack’ in which the teachers formally stayed in during the week. This was in very poor condition with limited roofing, decomposing wood, and an unstable structure. We then progressed onto levelling out the uneven piece of land and removing any larger rocks that hindered our work. This was a difficult tak as the soil was extremely rocky and the weather was scorching – unusual consdering we were in the Costa Rican wilderness. As many of us (especially the girls) had never done any work of this nature before, it really was a challenge – mentally and physically. However, spirits were high when we analysed actually how much w had acheieved n a few hours!
Friday was particularly challenging as we were faced with the task of collecting the timber! We ddn’t really know what to expect and the trek to the location was hard work! The boys of the group seemed to soldier on whilst the girls struggled slightly with the weight of the wood over the tough terrain. It was also rather amusing to watch a local girl around 10 years carry two planks of wood and still make t look effortless (it made us feel slightly guilty and gave us the encouragement we needed!) This task was very strenuous and took up a large proportion of the day! Hence, we called it a day and further continued the same task well into Saturday before settling down for some much needed rest on the Sunday.
Our plans for the next few days are to collect any remaining wood, cary over zinc sheets from the opposte river bank, and eventually begin the actual process of building and assembling a building.
Problems we have faced:
Difficult terrains have meant certain jobs have needed to be further analysed with regards to who is capable of doing it.
Slight issue on arrival pertaining to sleeping arrangements as ‘Ranchito’ (community hut) was too small and prone to flooding. However, that wa soon sorted with some local DIY and quick thnking!
Things that have worked well for Delta 4:
Day leaders – each person has a chance to take lead and serve as an authoritative figure. This makes it fair and keep morale up.
Group debriefing in the evenings – a chance fr us all to voice our feelings and concerns (if any).
Regular breaks – allow group to regenerate ebergy and not over od anything!
What Delta 4 have established:
Life can begin before 10am.
Never take for granted personal hygiene.
All food is good food.
Make-up isn’t essential – infact it’s our last priority.
Nothing is impossible.
Overcoming your fears can be the highlight of your day.

Cooking with the locals!

Some light evening entertainment

All hands on deck

Delta 4 have since been cracking with their project and when they radio messaged in to the office today we found out that they are now working on the fnishing touches to the classroom! Looks like the project will be finished by the end of phase one as planned. This was by no means an easy task and considering that none of these venturers have had any previous building experience before Raleigh, i'd say that was excellent work from Delta 4. An incredible achievement in such a short space of time and definately something to be proud of.

Now, moving on to Delta 2 with reports from sophie Flanagan. Keeping it real and giving it some Raleigh flavour, let's hear what they've been up to... Comm's stylee.

Hello Zero Hello Zero - this is Delta Dos live form Camoronal, calling into field base for a blogrep. Over.
Delta Dos: We have spent the last few days erecting our jungle palace - initially sleeping under the clear, starry skies, more recently there have been a few minor problems. Bashers washed away - comparable to a Glastonbury scene for sure. A throne of a longdrop has been dug by Louis, along with Michelin star kitchen. Over.
This is Zero, how about the project volunteering in camaronal?
Delta Dos: Money has recently been invested here to accommodate other volunteers here. We have assisted in completing this house by building the surrounding trench. Our second project – the tourist path. Digging yet more trenches along the lengths of the path, bordering with stones and binding with sand to provide the turtle searching tourists / surfer dudes and dudettes with a pleasant walk to the beach. Our evenings, aside Delta Dos’ fun and games, cluedo/misfits killing entertainment, we spend our nghts from 6pm to 6am turtle patrolling and guarding the hatchery to prevent poachers stealing eggs from the laying turtles or from those already incubated in the hatchery. Taking last night as an example, in our single three hour shift Raleigh saved 327 turtles aside monitoring the maternity ward in the hatchery, followed by setting the baby turtles free into the Pacific for their 90 years of life! Over.
Delta Zero: Any mischievous happenings in your group?
Delta Dos: Raleigh venturers falling in love with rangers – now that’s what you call turtle loving! Costa Rican’s and Americans are forming relationships. The German volunteers were put off by our football skills ; 4-2 victory to us! Zero, that’s us out, we’re off for a truly intercontinental beach Olympics. Adios, goodbye, aufweidersein.

Just to clarify, Delta two, sorry Delta Dos, have been sharing their turtle conservation experience with volunteers from over the globe. We visited them the other day and took part in a Delta two treasure hunt with their new international buddies. The search took us throughout the site and onto to the beach where we collected the cryptic clues and finished up with some well earned pineapple. The team is dong great - working hard in the trenches, busy making new friends and enjoying life on the beach. Work down at Camaronal is well worth the hard work; a long lasting project that endeavors to keep the magnificent turtle species alive and happy for years to come. The group are spending today taking down their jungle camp in preparation for their journey back to fieldbase tomorrow.

Photo's of Delta 2 by Sabrina Napthine and Dawn Tennant

Delta 1 have also been keeping busy. Let’s hear their news in the latest report, by Harry Touche.

So Manuel had arrived on the 9th July ready to give us “mucho trabajo duro!” Our first job on the 10th was to start clearing the entrance to the beach for the tourists and any turtles that might want to lay their eggs there. Famished, we returned to camp for breakfast at 0900 hours as we had had to do some damage control after a massive storm! Hannah’s basher had collapsed (not under her weight might I add) and our group tarp had become unstrung! W went back at around 1400 hours to start work on stringing up the hatchery. This was agonizingly slow work and it rained unusually early (the start of the tropical storm!) and we were confined to the bashers and group shelters; reading, playing cards or just bantering around.
The next day the crew were onto it at 0630 hours. Straight into work we were putting stakes upright into the ground around the hatchery for the fence; positioned exactly two meters apart and less than a centimeter from the strings running along the perimeter. We finished that job in the afternoon shift and as a reward we all jumped in the sea! It was a very rewarding finish to a job that we had started that day, especially one that directly helped the turtle eggs. We were very lucky in the night shift, Ricardo took us out on the beach and we saw two turtles! It was certainly our first sighting! We saw them laying their eggs then shuffling off back to the sea. They were both big according to Ricardo so of course we felt very privileged. The next day was one of the most important days of the whole trip…Megan’s birthday! There was a group of 200 ‘gringo’s’ who arrived to help clear the beach. We veteran volunteers as we are were asked to manage them. Harry, Megan and Cata stayed in the camp to play ninja and clean up. When the others came back Charlie exclaimed “You’ve done better in one morning than everyone has in four days!” We had a party in the evening which of course included Mafia and cards. The night patrol was called off because of the rain, very boring! The 14thJuly was a typical after-party day, everyone nursing serious ‘Tangovers’. (Tang is the Costa Rican equivalent to squash). We got to work at 0630 hours to do the turtle fence. Under constant scrutiny from Manuel it was again slow work but we managed about ¾ of it in the day. Lots of kicking the football around on the beach and swimming before another early rain storm hit. Very boring but what can you do!
Another extremely important day, Tom’s birthday! No time to celebrate in the morning though, much work to be done! The plan was to finish the fence in the morning and have the afternoon off. We succeeded! Much swimming and volleyball ensued and some people had so much free time that they didn’t know what to do! Some took the time to catch up on some much needed sleep.
So only a small job on the 16th carrying on with the sandbags. Quite tough work but trading off every other bag made it easier. We spent the afternoon waiting for the road trip to arrive and preparing our outfits for the evening’s black tie dinner. Black tie bin bags make waist coats, sarongs make dresses and bungee cords make belts. Quite a botch job! We sat down to a four course meal prepared by Megan and Andy. Fruit to start, tuna pasta for main, Energy bombs for pudding and cheese and crackers to finish. Quiet the feast! The meal finished at 2130 hours, practically midnight!

Team Bravo one of the road trip party were able to spend some time with Alpha One on their travels. Catching up with them early on and again at the very end as they finished. Catch up with the groups whereabouts with a blog report from Mitch, earlier on in their journey…

Snaking their way through a Costa Rican landscape of breathtaking beauty and biodiversity, Alpha one are a fellowship in the making. These first days of our quest for the Pacific Ocean have thrown each of us into our own deep ends, sometimes literally depending on rainfall, and yet, through incomparable solidarity as a team, we have found ourselves equal to each challenge.
As such, we find ourselves here at the end of this 5th day up on the hillsides of San Jocquin – a quaint and picturesque town which reflects our cheerful mood – well apart from the grumpy tropical downpour going on above our heads.
For my own part, I’m glad to say that I’ve already acquired new skills, none more embarrassing perhaps than my unnerving ability to step into every deep patch of boot-swallowing mud on our otherwise dry path. It seems that if my porridge making ability isn’t all here, I can at least be of service to my team by showing them the less glamorous routes through the rainforest.

Bravo one was lucky enough to spend their last couple of days with this Alpha group, welcoming them onto to the beautiful beach of Palo Seco as they finished their 19 days of arduous and eye-opening trekking with a bang – a fantastic end to an incredible journey. It was hugs and cheers of jubilation all round for the group as they ran onto the beach in haste. We left them later that day basking in the sunshine, sipping fresh coconut juice straight from the tree, and relaxing by the Pacific ocean.

Photo's of Delta 1 by Sabrina Napthine and Dawn Tennant

Some brief updates from our other groups:

Alpha 2 - Today the team are travelling a whopping 30km to reach their destination, before finishing their trek on the beach tomorrow morning.

Alpha 3 - Nearing the end of their journey the team plough on through. Today they are at Lago Asososca.

Alpha 4 - Situated in the Braulio jungle the team continue with work for the last few days before they head home to FB on Monday.

Alpha 5 - Just a few finishing touches to their work on the trails. Only a few days left until the project is finished and Alpha 5 are making the most of their time, soaking up some welcome sunshine and living the jungle dream.

Alpha 6 - The team have just about finished what they came to do and will spend the next couple of days finalising their build and enjoying spending time with their host families.

Alpha 7 - The team have finished work on their gravity-fed water project and will be partying with the locals to celebrate tonight!

Delta 3 - The group have finished the walls and roofing to their build, and are now just waiting to cement the floor before they head back and prepare for the next stage of their Raleigh adventure.

The Delta's are back tomorrow so field base will be up and buzzing again in no time. The venturers have successfully completed phase one of their journey... next stop, the Adventure Challenge - bring on the festivities!

Pura Vida

*Blog written by Dawn Tennant and photo’s by Kat Mammone, unless otherwise stated.


  1. Cyrus Afkhami. Delta 4.
    hey you, i just looked at all the photos and your hair looks amazing and you look really good :) i'm in england and tori is staying with me it is so weird im showing her like all my lower school and everything ahhh i cant wait to show you seriously it is going to be amazing! i have people round tonight like english friends i wish you were here boyfriend. there was this amazing photo of you which is really nice :)
    i miss you so much and have so much to tell you seriously
    i love you always and forever

  2. Ava Mayer Delta 3
    Minimalist blog reports of your group, hope that's not ominous. Will be so pleased to be in direct contact again. In FB contact with Kamla etc and all booking your bus from Santiago. Have talked to Olivia and we'll meet in a couple of days. No definite accommodation bookings but all in progress and hope to have news soon. We've everything ready for her as you wanted. Still no news about hall but I've been back onto them... Plans for September now include a really funny play with James Corden (Smithy) and Playboy of the Western World with the curly haired one off Misfits plus a Cusack. Crikey we miss you. All love Mum

  3. Francis Lanuza Alfa 1:
    Mi princesita te veo muy feliz y contenta en todas las fotos, espero verte y abrazarte muy pronto. Se que tienes mucho que contar sobre esta experiencia. Saludes de Chico tia Rosalina,Faty cuidese.espero verte y abrazarte muy pronto.
    Con todo amor mami y hermano

  4. For: Jaz Chopra - Delta 4

    Hey Sweetie

    Just read the blog which you wrote - sounds amazing what you guys have been upto. It was really well written as well Jaz - very descriptive :o) Also saw the photos, you've got a good tan again (or is that rust lol) and look really well. I bet you are going to have loads of stories to tell when you get back. If nothing else, you will all come away with some experience or another and how wonderful to be able to say you have overcome challenges - that's what life is all about isn't it?

    Well honey, not much has been going on here - it's far more exciting in Costa Rica! Can't believe that you are going to be home in a week and a bits time. Where has it gone?

    Missing you loads honey and can't wait to see you again.

    Much love and hugs Mum xx

  5. Hi Mitch and Alpha1 just seen the latest pics you all look great, hope you are all keeping well. Just read you blog update Mitch, it was an interesting read. Look forward to hearing more from you and the rest of the team soon. Take care love Mum.

  6. For Bella Pringle Delta 4

    How wonderful to see all those great pictures. I'm so happy to see the classroom you have built - it looks amazing. Well done to all of Delta 4 - I hope you are feeling a great sense of achievement. I feel very envious because I have never done anything like that and you are only 18 and you have already done it! You are probably back at base camp now facing the next bit of your challenge. I hope it goes really well. You have been away over three weeks now. It won't be too long before you are lying on a beach. All is well here - it our wedding anniversary today. Tee is staying here at the moment - seems on good form - gone off to a pop up restaurant in Peckham today ... We are off to Wittering a week today for nearly 3 weeks on and off. We will come back the day before you come back from the Bahamas. I think about you lots every day and send you my warmest love. Mum xxxxxxxx

  7. Hi, Laura (Delta 4)

    Congratulations on building the school so quickly. Did you remember the blackboard! Photos look great! Hope the adventure phase goes equally well. All fine in CF15. Helen just had tea with your Mum. Love from us both, Helen & Colin

  8. Angelina Cheung, Cindy Fung, Pinki Tse, Harvey Tse, Joyce Law, Kay Chow, Keith Lau:
    My dear bbs, hello from Budapest. Great to see that all of u r having great fun with sweat and tears, of course with endless laughter as well.
    I m on my Europe trip and still have 2 weeks to go.
    Don't miss HK. Just enjoy whatever you have now. Spacious bathroom, deep deep long drop, loads of mud...
    Yea, miss all of u. Take care!!

  9. Sam Berry Delta 4
    Hi Sam, It is really great to see some pictures of you at last and be able to read of all that you've been doing. Glad to see you've managed to get hold of a guitar. I am sure that will have helped to keep spirits up. You never know when your talents will be needed. Is that dirt we see or suntan? Hope you are well, Pat and I are looking forward to seeing you and admiring your big muscles when you land at Heathrow. Looks like it has been very hard work, but well worth the effort. We are all tracking your progress with interest and we are so proud of you. Well done Son! Lots of love Mum (Pat and Dad)

  10. Hi lovely to have an update on Delta dos and to see what they have been doing.

    To Bea lee in Delta 2
    Hope you are having a fab time and we all think about you lots here and hope u are enjoying the adventure. See u soon.
    Elaine,Iain &Emily x

  11. Carmen Gaskell, Alpha 4

    Hey possum - loving reading all about your adventures. Glad to hear you're off to the warmer climes of the jungle, though assuming it was never UK cold. Looks like it's living up to be everything you wanted it, slightly concerned you may never return :) hope you've managed to see some amazing wildlife!

    All is well here, I'm a busy bee at work but otherwise life is good. Horse riding is still going strong, nearly(!) up to a canter but still ending up with rather gruesome bruises. Flat is great too and Suzie has been a great addition. Miss you very much though.

    One last piece of important news, Arianna's cafe has been renovated and is a now a restaurant/bar - see you there on Sept 18th ;)

    Lots of love, Han xxxxxx

  12. (For Jodie Wall, Delta 4)

    Heya Jode,
    hope that you are having a good time, seen lots of pictures and you still look vaguely like my sister!!! we're all trying to decide what to have for tea the night that you get back, i sugested a chinese but figured that you wouldn't want rice for a while! if you havn't got it all ready then you should get a letter quite soon from me that will give you something to read. i've passed my stable management and now i've joined saddle club at the stables which is realy fun! anyway love you babe and can wait for you to come home!! love Jess xx

  13. Francesca Payne ALPHA 6
    Hi hope you are having a great time.We have been keeping in touch with what you've been doing. It looks fantastic. Hope you've got lots of pictures and stories to tell us when you get back.Good luck on your trek have a great time.
    Lots of love Dad,Yvonne and Renzo. xxxx.

  14. Jenny Clements Alpha 6 So you can now build houses!!!!..thinking of a change of career when you come back? Can't wait to hear from you direct. Use facebook as never got message to our email address. So happy to see a picture of you on blog last week in your nice red fleece, you looked all relaxed and happy. Missing you xxxx from Tantiyette, grandpere, Gloria and Ray, Mary and especially Moi et Papa Miaou de Koko et Mischa

  15. For Rachel Neustadt, Delta 3

    Hi Sweetie; looks like your group has been doing an amazing job! Maybe you can all next come rebuild our Cape house--with a real foundation?!
    I trust your final week/challenge will be brilliant. And hope you won't object to being met at Heathrow, when you return? (You are coming back to London, right?!)

    love, Ma

  16. Alpha 7 Jasmine Furbert.

    Hi Honey. Here is a letter from Jasmine. Send me an email when you get a chance, I can't find the keys for your bike. Let me know where they are.
    Letter from Jaden:
    Hi Jasmine
    I hear you have another family.
    I really miss you.
    SOMERSET won mini cup match.
    I was in mini cup match for Somerset.
    I am at camp HIBISCIS.
    I’m having not that much fun without you.

  17. Jodie Wall - Delta 4

    You've told me to keep posting blogs for you because it brings a smile to that lil chubby cheeked face :) well im counting down the days!! This time next week, you'll be making your way home and i just like all your family and friends cannot wait!!! (although im most excited :D) Was so good to hear from you yesterday, an absolutely brilliant b'day present!! now im going to have to top that! I love you babe! just keep going, you'll be home before you know it xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  18. To Catherine White Romeo 6
    Hi lovely to see your smiley face. bet you're glad to be back to realative civilisation, especially if it's still wet. it's pretty damp here too! everyone sends their love. Liked the look of your super heroes party, who were you? Forgot to tell you your new laptop has arrived. It's very arty.
    All well here. Rosemary has almost done away with Granny again this week, glad I'm not the only one!
    Lots of love. Mum xxxx

  19. Andreas Weigelt4 August 2011 at 09:46

    To Veronica Flores Alpha 5

    Hi, was reading a little bit about the blog and the adventures u are in with your group! Seems like u are having a great time, i certainly hope so! Everything here is ok, I'm flying home soon, and gonna see friends and family again. I also wanted to congratulate u for your birthday, that is tomorrow, and wish u the best time and luck! Birthday Jungle Style ;) haha! pasala super rico y sabes que te quiero mucho!!!


  20. For Reggie Lang - Romeo 2 - Hi there Costa Rican Kid, ‘distraught’ that I didn’t contribute to your sponsorship but made sure I left it some months before checking up with Julie just to make sure that I was too late. I see from all the photos that there are a high proportion of attractive females amongst volunteers and trust you are not regretting your courageous decision to make 2011 your year of celibacy and total abstinence. Great picture of you crossing a raging torrent on precarious bridge but disappointed you never seem to be around when they are taking photos of people working! Take care and have a great time. Nick

  21. For Reggie Lang in X-Ray5. Hi Reggie. Following your progress with great interest. You may think you have it tough, I recently had the dubious pleasure of accompanying Eleanor to hospital for a baby scan; not an experience for the faint hearted. Imagine an enormous white beluga whale stranded on table only inches from your eyes and you have a perfect picture. The whole experience required considerable fortitude and I was thankful that I hadn't had time for breakfast that morning. I did however see baby’s organs and limbs although I had to be told what they were, it just looked like a fuzzy negative to me, but then most things do. Good luck in Yaluca with X-Ray5 and take care. Nick

  22. Friso Tigchelaar Alpha 5 achuapa

    Hoi Friso,
    Hoe is het daar? Je zit nu bijna 5 weken in Costa Rica.
    De foto's die ik zie zien er echt geweldig uit! Wat heb je al allemaal gedaan? Ik zag ook dat jij een blog had geschreven, het klinkt allemaal heel erg leuk. Ik ben heel erg benieuwd naar je verhalen over het werk en natuurlijk over de ervaringen die je hebt opgedaan. Heel veel plezier en we mailen!

    Liefs, Fleur



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