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