Friday, 15 June 2012

Advance Week ends, and a new era begins - bienvenidos PMs!

Last night, the Advance Team at Fieldbase had our final evening of peace and quiet - AKA our last evening of 'rattling around the place'! Not only were we getting used to the fact we had to share our space which we have got used to swinging a large cat around, we were also reflecting on what's been an absolutely belting week. To help with this reflection, the Photographers put on a slideshow of some of the shots and videos they've taken of induction (with a feature embarrassing moment of myself) which I'll try to put up tomorrow!

At 0730am the next (ie this) morning, after an excitedly short sleep and an hour of intense cleaning, marquee erecting and getting the place ship shape, we welcomed a bus full of giddy (and slightly jetlagged) Project Managers, emerging out of the dust of the farm road towards the office, after a night on the floor of a school in San Jose and a 4.45 start! Their red eyes were wide however as they took in the gorgeous surroundings of the farm and the amazing base we have here in CATIE.

Hugs, handshakes and chest-bumps were exchanged - some people being reunited after the development weekends - and there were a few minutes for chit chat before the most amazing (and much needed) breakfast of gallo pinto was served up to the troops - om nom NOM.

After breakfast, a quick tour of Fieldbase, then it was straight down to the CATIE pool for cooling down and swim assessments - we don't mess about here! The schedule we've got for the next 2 weeks is pretty breakneck, just so we can get all of our training done before the arrival of the Venturers. So the first step for the PMs was them getting their kit off (no time for airs and graces either!) and showing us what they've got in an aquatic sense, followed by a quick 10 mins of splashing around just for fun.

Once people had showered (some for the first time since the previous morning - and previous country!) we took them straight back to Fieldbase for a delicious lunch and some admin, before heading straight into the next training session - comms and radio training. Cue many funny messages such as 'Hello Zero, Hello Zero, this is Alpha 4, Serial Charlie, we would like to have a massive party tonight please...'

Dinner was served at 6pm and then at 1900 hours, Ross delivered a presentation on the projects, resulting in gasps, whispers of 'I want THAT one!' and muchos excitement at the locations, people and tasks that await us in 2 weeks' time. Who is going on which project though is up for grabs and won't be revealed until next week. We'll just have to wait!

We'll just have to wait for the party too. After an intense day, at the current time of 2130 hours, most people have headed off to bed ready for the 7am start tomorrow (6.30 for the brekkie makers, me included!) so this is me, signing off, after the most intense but best day yet.

Hasta manana...zzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

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