Sunday, 10 July 2011

Alpha 4 - up in the big smoke!

More updates! This time a report from Alpha 4, by David Winterflood. Take it away Dave...

Sporting an array of paint spattered clothing any labourer would be proud to wear (due to an artistic Raleigh party). Alpha 4 embarked on their environmental project to Volcan Turrialba and the Braulio Carrillo. Having more or less survived an 'eventful' jungle trek, the team were well prepared for the ardours that life on project would bring. It was something of a surprise when after a casual 40 minute ascent by coach to San Antonio that we viewed our accommodation for that evening, and we were in for a treat. Our home for the night was that of our rangers – a comfortable, spacious chalet, complete with modern amenities – a far cry from the previous night’s wooden floor pallets back at Raleigh HQ. Another surprise was also in store both for us and our project managers, Niall and Carmen. Segro, our overseer and mentor, who worked as a park ranger at Turrialba had tied the knot the previous weekend. Whether or not this was a spare of the moment decision is unclear. The consequence was that no work was possible on our first day. Leisure time was therefore in order and Alpha 4 appeared to be a scholarly bunch with an array of literature being pulled out from bags, accompanied by furrowed brows as group members took advantage of comfy sofas and soft chairs. A short stroll away, the village of Santa Cruz offered picturesque views back down to Turrialba, along with an opportunity to grab the groups first fresh fruit fix from a local pulperia.

After the previous day’s false start, the venturers optimism was plain to see. The sun’s rapid ascension however was in marked contrast to the venturer’s labored crawl in 4 x 4’s up Turrialba’s steep and rugged flanks. The views on offer from the summit fully justified such a laborious journey. Clear skies allowed sight of the Caribbean, whilst for most the sight of Turrialba’s smoking crater, let alone standing on the active volcano, was truly impressive. Sadly, sight seeing only had a minor role on the day’s agenda. The aims of the project were to increase forest access to the volcano whose park was closed due to the volcano’s activity. This was to be achieved through the improvement of a path to the summit, where a mirador was to be constructed. Progress with the picos, palas and rastrillos (pickaxes, spades and rakes!) was pleasing. While altitude sickness is a worry at such great heights, Alpha 4 can truly be proud of their first day’s efforts. Our new home for the night is somewhat different from our previous luxuries but the venturer’s are happy enough! Once settled in, a few games of Mafia were organized, with Richard narrating a ‘Deatheaters’ game with a Hogwarts knowledge so comprehensive, JK Rowling herself would be double checking her copy of The Chamber of Secrets. Ascending through the mist the next day to emerged above the clouds on the summit provided views even more impressive than imagined.

Progress was again pleasing, especially in the early morning when a Costa Rican TV news crew paid the team a visit. Cue game faces and extra exertion on film… heavy panting and resting once off it! The footage they gathered of Keith wielding a machete could possibly be used as Sly Stallone’s double in another Rambo film… but the excitement didn’t end here for Keith. That day we also celebrated his 23rd birthday – cue homemade cards, an array of food procured at the Santa Cruz supermarket and even a volcano cake with dulce de leche lava and Oreo ash. A fantastic start to the project – hopefully the next two weeks will prove just as enjoyable!

Dave, we couldn't have said it better ourselves. Beautifully written. See below for some photo's to match. (Top tip, click on the photos to enlarge!) Enjoy.

Alpha 4!

Learning some spanish1

Our super talented photographer, Kat - on the other side of the lense this time!

The view from the summit. Wow

PM's Niall and Carmen!

1,2,3... action!

Tired venturers taking a break from the hard work.

Volcan Turrialba... it's definately active.

Don't do this at home
Keith's Volcano cake!
A traditional thank you all the way from Hong Kong

Alpha 4 tucking into some party food.

Pura vida todos!

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


  1. Jordan 11G, Alpha 3: Jordan, can't wait to see some pictures of you and how everyone in your group is doing! Hope you are adjusting and having fun! Love you! Mom and Dad!

  2. The Prague Badgers11 July 2011 at 01:34

    For Megan, Delta 1

    You all look to be having fun - like the shorts and the Long Drop! No turtlets yet?? Guess everyone knows it's your birthday on Wednesday, 13 July - which cake have you ordered? Packing today, fly Tuesday morning to Gatwick to escape the Prague heat and head for the Pembrokeshire seaside. Hoping to be with "post-chickenpox" Eva on Thursday! Dan delighted with every photo of "my Megan" - keep them coming...lots of love from the Prague Badgers oxo

  3. HI Alfie Carapiet (Alpha 6)
    We are searching every blog to see what you are up to.......???? Perhaps tomorrow!!! Hope it is all going well. Off to France later this week and back mid August. Everything is very quiet here and we miss you a lot. When you are back at base would love to get an email.
    Much love

  4. Message for Niall McElroy, PM Alpha 4.

    From his Dumb and Mad (the wrinklies)

    Hi Niall. Have been following the blog with great interest. Glad to see you are now working (or simply supervising?) instead of just swanning around in that large botanic garden. Everything is OK here. Keep up the good work1

  5. Charlie Page - Alpha 2
    Hope your trek is a little less damp than the Forest of Dean was this last weekend! Abbie now away again on 6th form residential and i am left with the drying of tents and washing!! Looking forward to Switzerland at end of week though forecast is thunderstorms - just as well not taking the dog! Looking forward to seeing and hearing update on the blog of how you are all doing - hope you keep smiling - love you tons Mum xxxxx

  6. Jenny & Bruce Ramsay11 July 2011 at 06:41

    Doug Ramsay 11H Delta 4

    Hi Doug missing you loads. Cricket team are missing your batting averages and all at the Vic say hello. Hope the building is going well - no digger to drive this time! Lots of love Mum and Dad xxx

  7. Cyrus Afkhami. Delta 4.
    Hey boyfriend.
    I went to wild wadi today. I've got some funny stories to tell you but i've written them in the journal so i don't forget. I'm all tanned now :)
    I've written so much in the book haha. You'll laugh at what i've said! I'm going to moe now to watch a movie and have dinner with Siyaa. She's my replacement for you JOKING! :)
    Hope everything is okay and you aren't too smelly yet haha. Hopefully you are taking pictures on those cameras as well i want to see everything!
    Not much longer now. ilyaaf
    I love you.

  8. FOr Doug Ramsay 11H Delta 4

    Hey Doug

    Looks like you are having a wicked time. Very jealous. I'm enjoying drinking your beer, driving your car and using your stuff:) Hurry up home it's really quiet without you.


  9. evelyn q bien q se la esta pasando suerte y pues nos vemos pronto animos siempre pa lante sabe es increible lo q esta viviendo aprenda mucho ingles

  10. Sarah Canty Alpha 4
    Hi Sarah,
    Great to read the blog about your first few days on the volcano, sounds amazing and great to be able to spot you in photos. We've spotted you nearly every day so far. The views from the top of the volcano look amazing, what an amazing experience for you. Your 1st days accommodation sounded great hope you're coping with the more basic conditions now. We're all fine at home, I'm off to Italy with nanny in a couple of days. Look after yourself ( your looking a bit red in some of the photos) . We're very proud of you and love you loads.
    Mum, Dad and David x x

  11. Ryan Austin Alpha 3

    We can't wait to see some pictures of you and your smile for the camera so your mother knows you are alive and well!

  12. Ben Moye - Delta 1

    Hi Ben

    I hope you receive this message as I have sent a few but there seems to have been a few problems with the computer!!

    Everyone says hello!

    I have been checking the blog daily and it looks like you are having a great time. We are really missing you especially Chelsea who is missing all of the attention!!!

    I am so proud of you and can't wait to hear about your adventures.

    lots of love Mum and everyone at home

  13. Bruce (Alpha 1)

    ehhh q hay baile el sabado! lastima q no esta! La mejor de las suertes! un abrazo de parte de mi, eme, macho, joseph y adri! pd. chinitaa chinitaa XD

    Andrea Corriols

  14. A: Francis Lanuza; (Alpha 1)
    K onda Francis, Como esta todo!! suerte y pà lante !! lei que esta en turrimacho trek!! el mismo que yo hice solo que ahora debe de estar peor con esta llovedera!! pero se que lo vas a lograr con fuerza y nunca rendirse!! sepa que estamos llevando paso a paso lo que estan haciendo y no los dejamos solo, bueno por lo menos apoyandolos mentalmente!! jejejeXD
    Suerte y fuerza!! XD NO SE ME RAJE MI COMPA!
    ATT: vanessa Alonso

  15. de: Vanessa Alonso a: Francis Lanuza (Alpha 1)
    K onda Francis! Como te va en el turrimacho trek!! dificil verdad? pero lo mas tuani de todo es que lo vas a lograr y fuerza! aqui te estaremos apoyando !! por lo menos mentalemente y llevaremos paso a paso lo que vayan haciendo vos y los chavalos! ese trek fue el mismo que yo hice!! disfrutalo pork solo es una vez! yo se que vos podes y solo es disfrutar a pesar de todo y veras que rapido se va! pero para que! jejejje suerte y fuerza ! cada dia mas es un dia en el que te realizas mas! asi que aproveche!! jejeje suerte y pa lante!! XXX

  16. Maricruz Esquivel Lopez //// Alpha 6
    Hermanita, no stoy segura si le llego mi primer mensaje! ojala que si!
    estoy enseniandole a sus papas y Tavo, que le te quieren escribir! te amo mucho, un besote!!! Ojala no se pique de lo que le puse de la pelicula! jajaja
    Puse una foto que me encontre aki, en tu facebook y en el mio, y se la mande a Macha, Anita y Seidy(q son cm sus compillas que conozco) Auxiliadora le comento que muchisimos exitos y que todo le salga bien! Te amooooooooooooo! gud nait!! Estoy q palmo del cansancio!!!
    Tavo es el que te va a escribir ahora para q sepas! muaks!!!

  17. Maricruz Esquivel López Alpha 6

    Hola como está??? Saludes le mandan Mami,Papi,Mochi y Tavo(YO)

    Gustavo Esquivel López!!!!!(G.E.L)

  18. Alpha 4

    Hi!!! It's so weird to see from the other side now haha. The pictures are amazing, the project looks awesome. GREAT TIMES WITH YOU AT THE TOP.
    I hope you are not frozen yet and that you are having clear and beautiful views, more Harry Potter Mafia games y muchas más clases de español.
    Lots of luck!!! Take care.
    Big hug,
    - Adri

  19. Alpha 4
    BY THE WAY! Got to see us on the news hahaha.

  20. To: Andrés Chavalazo
    Alfa 2
    From: Má

    Querido hijo:

    espero que esté bien y que no esté lloviendo demasiado donde ustedes están para que no tenga que dormir mojado y con frío. si hace frío espero que "el rincón de la vieja" esté calientito y que se pueda acurrucar en él.
    Tembló muy fuerte hoy en Guatuzo y se sintió en toda esa zona donde están; así que le pido doble protección a Dios para usted y su grupo.
    Estoy segura que está trabajando duro y haciendo su mayor esfuerzo para que sus muchachos estén experimentando lo que usted pasó.
    Dílany pasó su cumpleaños saliendo con sus amiguillas incluyendo a mamoi. No estoy tan segura si se divirtió mucho ya que nos tocaba ir a Turri a cuidar de papáy mamá y no estuve en la noche ni el domingo. Hizo mucha falta usted para organizar algo.
    En fin, ya habrá chance de celebrar los dos cumples cuando vuelva.
    Mamoi estuvo aquí ayer y la pasamos muy bien. Está empunchada con la U. Lo demás todo en orden. Desde que usted no está nadie ha vuelto a venir ni a llamar, ni siquiera Nacho, nos olvidaron cariño. Por lo demás, todo está en orden. Sus tres abuelos preguntan por usted y le desean lo mejor.
    Lo quiero con todas mis fuerzas y le pido a Dios cada día que me lo cuide y me lo proteja siempre.
    Espero que siga disfrutando cada día al máximo como usted bien sabe hacer, que se divierta, que ría y que luche cada día como si fuera el último. La vida es un reto constante y usted es un luchador, está destinado a ser feliz, a dar lo mejor de usted, espero que se divierta como nunca y que cada día construya y almacene recuerdos inolvidables. El mejor día es cada día, vívalo a plenitud.
    Cuídese mucho mi flaco lindo. Le escrito muchos mensajes y no aparecen en el blog, espero que sí le lleguen. Lo amo mi flaco guapo!!!
    Con amor Má

  21. Henry B - Delta 1

    Looks like you are having lots of fun in the photos - hope not too many snakes and spiders after you! Letters in the post. Keep smiling :) Lots of love Mum xxx

  22. Jordan Carter-G&H; Alpha 3

    Hi Jordan...hope you are having a good time. We miss you so much and think about you every day. Grandma & Grandaddy say hello from Maine. Would love to see some pictures of you! The place looks beautiful in the pictures but know it is hard work. It has been very, very hot here! Hang in there and know we are all thining about you. Love you, Carol & Timothy

  23. Hi Jodie... Love the photos u look looks hard !! we are all ok here miss u but glad your having good u mum xx J xx G xx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  24. Jodie Hastie Alpha 4...
    Hi Jodie my lovely girl...
    Hope your ok and having lots of fun with the hard work....still u r use to hard work... u havent got those mad IOW bus ride's to do!!.....Its saturday morning and pouring down, weather has been nice but not sooooo good for weekend....nanny cathy has gone up to visit Aunty Mary in Leeds with Uncle Tommy....I break up on 27th for holidays cant wait...George has 8 weeks off because of school changes!! Things are the same here...I took Barrie's dog Dylan for a long walk by myself he was good boy and I enjoyed it....Went to Jenny's for girls come dine with me night,another cake and jenny had a large happy birthday flag flying in her garden!!had nice evening yummie food!!Cant wait to here from u I keep looking on blog but know i wont here from u for another 2 weeks our lovely girl u take care ...we love u sooooo much and miss u xxxx lov mum xxxx Gxx Jxx

  25. To:Keith Lau; Alpha 4
    From: Mo

    help!it's so nice to see you here in this blog. Miss you so. Believe it or not. Your words are in my mind supporting me to move on. especially, I'll soon be in the children summer camps on 25-27/7 and late august being the "Ching zhu". gosh, am i be too green? but anyway, this is a really good opportunity, i know this well. This stimulates much beautiful flash memory of last year "children's dream". Just hope that I can apply what I have learnt from you. By the way, I seemed to have some clearer direction to lead "Ching Fung Harp" these days. Still, improvement striving. but just wanna to be more independent. not to be any burden to the senior. this is a message about my situation in vs. longing to talk to you soon....

  26. Ryan Baker - Alpha 4

    Iv been having a nosy at the blog most days, but this is the first time iv seen this wee comment thing!! So expect plenty from me :) I hope your having an amazing time with your new team and every things going to plan! Me and marie-Clare miss you lots and can't wait until September, apart from that it's all quiet in sunny northern ireland. All the photos look great, and everything looks right up your street so I'm sure your making the most of it :) don't touch the snakes in the jungle please haha, actually just stay away from anything that bites!

    Look after yourself and I'll speak to you really soon.
    Lots of love, Hannah xx

  27. Maricruz Esquivel Lopez alpha 6

    mmm prima no sabe kuanto la extraño espero k este disfrutando al máximo y ya kiero verla...<3 lkmmmmmmmmmm feaaaa

    Ana Cristina Astua..

  28. para: noelia corrales gonzalez de
    mami naty y nicky te amamos mucho que dios me cuide y proteja...disfrute mucho hermana y aproveche esa oportunidad tan linda besos y abrazos
    de parte de todos y de mila y danielito bendiciones

  29. For Richard Alpha 4 -
    loved looking at the photos bro, looks like you're having an amazing time. glad you're impressing people with your harry potter knowledge, i know wardy is waiting patiently to see the finale with you. we all miss you lots and i'll see you when you get back. give me your flight details if you can and i'll come and meet you at the airport.
    love you smelly,
    from big sis xxx



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