Thursday, 30 June 2011

"Up Your Kilt!"

The "dance floor" at Raleigh HQ was feeling a little worse for wear on Thursday morning after Wednesday's Scottish cèilidh, curtsey of CPM Ross – what a fun night! As always, with any themed party (but mainly just because we wanted to) fancy dress was compulsory, and I have to say we all looked very becoming.

Kilts were a plenty, as were sovereign rings, patriotic face painting and sweat patches. After a gentle warm up with a few ‘normal’ songs to get the party started, it wasn’t long before the fruitful sounds the great north were bursting out of the speakers and Ross was demonstrating the moves for our first dance together as managers. Quotes for the night... “Up your kilt!” and “spin!!!!” (there was a lot of spinning). In a nutshell, it was a cracking evening and we all now want to be Scottish and Cèilidh every night forevermore! Pictures below. Enjoy.

Andy B and Natty

Chava - putting his own twist on the Scottish theme

Jimmy Cruz looking gorgeous

Waheeda and Chava!

Carmen and Cameron!

Tom, Reggie 'I love glitter' Lang, and Connor

Beautiful lasses - Photographer Kat and Admin Amy

Amy and Niall!

Carwyn, Nick, Jen and Megan!

Wee Scottish Lasses


Nessy! Laura, Claire and sarah - a cracking effort from the girls

A very tartan Brie!

Stripping the willow




Spanish chicas Helena and Marga, and US representative Ruth!

Jon and Cam!

Megan, Waheeda, Carwyn and Helena!

Reggie, Emily, Cam and Siew-Ling!
Tom and Reggie... Grrr.

Cam, Siew and Dawn

CC and Carwyn - yet more spinning!
So a good night all round then! As well as Cèilidh's however, we've also been putting our PM skills into good practice with more fun and games and lots more training, training, training. So just to keep you entertained, here are a few more snaps of recent events.

Helena, Waheeda and Wendy - yogatastic
Ross and Megan - more training and challenges for the 11H Project Managers

The team... formulising a plan

Medics Hayley and Nick!

New challenge - the group with the least body parts on the floor wins! A fine effort here from Amy, Nick, Connor and Niall.

Sarah, Jon, Chava and Carmen - going for gold!

Tom, reggie, Ruth and Siew-Ling... a brave effort.

Carwyn, Claire, Dawn and Helena!

Team leader skills

Nothing wrong with a healthy debate.

So that's it for now. Hopefully this has amused you for the last 15 minutes. Back soon with more of course. In the meantime the Raleigh team are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first lot of venturers - the Host Country Venturers.
We can't wait.

Pura Vida

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

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Back at Base

So we’ve read the briefs and we’ve seen the teams… now let’s take a look at what the projects are really like. After an arduous few days visiting their new project sites, the teams are back at fieldbase and already cracking on with the necessary paperwork. The guys are busy organizing their risk assessment forms, casualty evacuations and there are tool kit orders coming in from all directions. On the whole, our project planning is well on track - all we need now are some venturers. Let’s take look at what our PM’s have been up to and catch a first hand glimpse of the projects…

Alpha 1
Jenny and Carwyn certainly had a challenge on their hands with this PPV. The hardy pair began their adventure with Elber, part time mechanic, part time guide, as he lead them from the base of Volcan Turrialba to Santa Cruz, via Bajos de Bonilla farm, on a nine hour ascent through thick jungle and steep inclines...

Hot, humid, tired...but still going, and still smiling!
This demanding climb was well worth it in the end as they arrived to stunning views of the Volcan Turrialba on one side, and mesmerizing views of Guanacolas valley on the other. 

The unique, beautiful and darkest depths of the jungle
On day two the trek continued on into Santa Cruz and the pair were lucky enough to finish off their demanding PPV by attending the village cheese festival! What a way to end.

Alpha 2
Alpha 2 set out on their PPV in Raleigh Landy, Bravo 1, with fieldbase pals and faithful drivers sarah and Phil. The team spent the first two days checking out the area; the situation, the starting point, and the hospital facilities, making sure that everything was safe and good to go before phase one kicks off.
Thumbs up from Chava.
The next day the team met up with guide and local legend, Don Luz Erelio, where they were lucky enough to spend the night in the comfort of his home and humble hospitality. After a good nights sleep and a home-cooked breakfast, the team split and the Guanacaste duo set off with Don Luz for their first taste of life on trek.
There was no shortage of scenery and wildlife in the area. The team managed to spot some evidence of jaguars and pumas, as well some horse skeletons and some serious looking paw prints. The next day the team trekked over to the Rio Celeste, travelling past waterfalls, beautiful turquoise rivers and hot thermal pools.

Alpha 3
Off to Nicaragua! After a two day journey heading north through Costa Rica into the beautiful Nicaragua, Alpha 3 met with guide Freddie for their first tour of the country. the teams first mission – 11 hour hike in some adverse weather conditions to sort out a new route for their venturers! 

Laura, Jon and CC - on their first road trip to Nicaragua, woohoo!
Freddie and Ruth - 4am, and ready to trek!

Local company!
Alpha 4
First stop - Volcan Turrialba!
Carmen and Niall going over a few things before setting off.

A path built by a previous Raleigh group! This one faces the Pacific Ocean. Alpha 4 will be working on something similar, but facing the Caribbean Ocean!
What a view! At the top of this dormant volcano, over 3000metres high, this is definitely a unique place to work.

Next, it’s onto Braulio Carillo National Park for part two of the phase; a stunning area of primary rainforest situated in the heart of the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica.

Lush water hole right by camp. After work dip anyone?

Braulio is a bustling habitat for the widest variety of animals, birds, insects and plants. During this phase there will be plenty of opportunity to learn about all of these beautiful creatures, right on your doorstep.

Meet the neighbours!
 Alpha 5
La Cangreja is Costa Rica’s newest National Park which owes its name to the striking 1,305 metre peak Cerro Cangreja. Connor and Ronnie were met by rangers Don Guido and Don Efrain upon arrival, and it wasn't long before they were whisked off to explore some of the fantastic trails within this beautiful park. On route the team came across some of the stunning wildlife that inhabits this remote area; spiders, lizards, and some incredible birds, as well as the amazing waterfalls only to be found through exploring the forest. 
Rio Negro - located right by camp. If you continue to walk a little way down from here you will come across La Cangreja's very own natural jacuzzi!

Alpha 6
Cam and Claire looking pleased and feeling excited about the project!
After a mammoth one and a half days of travelling to Apuantes, Claire and Cameron eventually arrived and were greeted by project partner Harry, head of Apuantes Don German and Community leader, Eduardo. During their stay the guys were able to take sneaky peak into the homes that the venturers will be staying in, and by the sounds of it they were also putting their Spanish into good practice…with Cameron confusing his ‘Cocina’s’ with his ‘Cochinas’ (his ‘kitchen’s’ with his… ‘dirty little pig’s’). Good one Cam. At least he’s trying!

The team also helped the locals to make the traditional tortillas (a task that the venturers will be joining in with while out on phase!) and some cow milking… literally, milking straight from the cow into the coffee cup. Fresh!

Alpha 7
Radios at the ready!
Alpha 7 began their visit somewhat luxuriously, as their first stop was at the Cooperative for a warming cup of delicious Nicaraguan coffee, and to test out some of the local sesame seed produce (the same stuff we buy in the Body Shop!) The team then took off for a much rougher journey as they set out in the 4x4 for some off-road driving until they reached the community of Achuapa.
From here they hiked for 40 minutes to the project site, guided by Maestro, Chico, who showed them what they would be getting up to on phase.
The team then met the families that our venturers will be staying with, and were given a tour of the community by their own host families.  
A typical house in the community, and where the team stayed during their trip.

Margarita and Catherine with their host family sisters, Katarina and Fatima.
Delta 1
After a lengthy journey hopping from bus to taxi to bus to taxi, driving passed some beautiful scenes and even managing to spot some wild crocs when passing a river, Delta 1 arrived at the stunning Playa Hermosa late afternoon. They were greeted at the reserve by local volunteers with some restorative coffee and were given a quick tour around the area. The next morning they were up at sunrise to get stuck into their first bit of project work... building the turtle hatchery!
Laying the foundations for the new turtle hatchery
Where to first - the beach? the river?  the crocodile mangrove??!
                                 Beautiful Playa Hermosa (famous for it's International surfing championships!)

   Venturers - what better location for a jungle camp!?

Fresh coconuts straight from the tree every morning!

Delta 2
After a painful 14 hour trip, our PM’s eventually arrived at the beautiful Camaronal where they were greeted by ranger Nelson and shared a well deserved social evening getting know each other and learning more about the project. The next morning they woke up to a traditional Costa Rican breakfast of rice and beans (welcome to rice and beans guys) and were shown around the site. 
Camaronal turtle hatchery!

The team were able to get a good idea of the kind of work they will be getting involved with as they spent the day filling in the turtle holes along the beach and took part in with a night patrol shift.
New accommodation for future volunteers
What it's all about - newly hatched turtles
Local wildlife!

Delta 3
Delta 3 left fieldbase early doors on Friday morning… and two buses, two taxi rides and one river crossing later they arrived!

First point of call was at a community meeting with the locals to discuss the upcoming project and potential possibilities for venturers (including the capability of the female venturers, issues with the pigs wandering around camp, and talk on the new school president!)

The team were able to explore the whole community and get a glimpse into the homes of these local people; beautiful wooden houses all of which had been hand made by them. Our venturers will be lucky enough to be sleeping in two of these empty houses. 
 A sneaky peak into a local classroom.
Watch out for the wildlife...

Delta 4
Four hours of some serious trekking through the jungle and Delta four finally reached their destination! It wouldn't quite be true Raleigh fashion however, if there weren't a few obstacles to tackle along the way... 
The 'Hammock bridge' that crosses the beautiful Pacuare river. After you...
Reggie and Hayley being led through the jungle by local teacher, Junior
Reggie, sussing out the route...
Raleigh venturers will be building a new classroom; an extension to the current school.                
The school! 

Venturers - your accommodation!

The beautiful river Atirro - where venturers can relax, wash and swim after a hard days work.
So there you have it, the projects are officially up and running! We only have a short while before the venturers arrive and in that time the Raleigh office will be busy preparing and finishing off some final project details. With all this hard work however, it's only natural that we give ourselves some down time. On the cards for tonight... a scottish cèilidh! (Or a 'Cay-ley' as we would call it...)

Get your tartan out!!

We'll be back soon... and hopefully with a few snapshots of the team giving it all they've got in a highland fling!

Pura Vida

*Blog written by Dawn Tennant and photo’s by various.