Sunday, 16 December 2012

Final goodbye to 12L

So we've now had the final few days take stock ( both literally and metaphorically) of our Raleigh experience.  First job, as always, was to clean team kit, personal kit and yourself - a cold shower has never felt so good.  Then each group held a debrief so that everyone could learn from their most recent experiences on phase.

There was some time in Turrialba for last minute shopping - or buying up the treats that you've missed the most over the past 19 days.  We the final skit performances, and with them the last chance to win ice cream (well done Zulu 5!)

There was time for reflection to consider the Raleigh experience as a whole; how we've challenged ourselves, how we've grown over the expedition and how we can carry on the Raleigh spirit on in to our day to day lives back home.  That evening we wrapped up with a Christmas dinner and party, because even though it's not snowing here it is definitely that time of year.  This was when we presented the "Golden mess tin awards", like the Oscars only better.  Well done to Alex, Tiggy, Omar, Luke and Patrice.

And then before you know it you're loved ones will be back home ready to tell you all their stories, share photographs....and no doubt give you a tonne of very dirty washing!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The final countdown...

Alex back from Trek
Alex can't wait to say hello
Everyone is back at Fieldbase, the Nicaraguan bus arrived yesterday and the Costa Rican buses today.
Claudia and Hester
Claudia and Hester - welcome back
Lilian and Matt
Lilian and Matt - big hug

Monday, 10 December 2012

The sun shines on Zulu 1

Zulu 1 send messages home from the Coast to Coast Trek.  The sun came out part way through the filming which, although a good thing for our trekkers, did rather mess up our video.  So apologies for the bright light and hope that you can still make everybody out.

In order you'll hear from Clare, Ben, Bo, Patrice, Lilian, Eveline, Henry, Sarah, Paul, Angel, Mela, Ziggy and Claudia.

Nicaraguan family and friends

Vinnie, Arlene and Eveline with family
Vinnie, Arlene and Eveline with their Nicaraguan family
You'll have seen from the blog so far that each of our Community projects, in La Arenilla and Los Loros, provide a unique experience for venturers.  Whilst we are there we join our communities wholeheartedly; be that at work, at home or at play. 
Andrea cooking tortilla
Andrea makes breakfast
Venturers have relished the chance to be shown how to make tortillas, milk cows and feed chickens.  Our groups have loved the chance to spend time in the classroom teaching english classes (heads, shoulders knees and toes anyone?).
Classroom in Los Loros
Anna, Alex, Jose and Sarah - heads, shoulders, knees and toes!
The language of sport is of course universal with football and baseball providing great opportunities for everyone to join together and get to know each other on the field.  Card games, Ninja and clapping games are other ways to break down barriers.
Aishath and Floor make a friend
Aishath and Floor make a new friend
And of course we work alongside members of the community to provide the water supply or houses.  The families that will benefit from the projects are fully involved very step of the way, from planning and labouring through to creating the structures that will maintain the facilities once Raleigh has moved on to other communities nearby.  They are literally side by side with us as we dig, pick axe and build.

Ben at work in La Arenilla
Ben working with the people who will live in the house we are buiding

Time and time again venturers come back from this phase saying that the best thing was the time spent with their families, the characters that they met along the way and the appreciation of the community for the work that Raleigh has done.
X-Ray 5 and the community of La Arenilla
X-Ray 5 with the whole community

Raleigh Chain explained

The quickest way to get lots of stuff from A to B is a Raleigh Chain (or you may call it a human chain if you aren't on expedition.)

If you have 400 mud bricks to move from one house to the next?....then Raleigh Chain.  

Tor and Ben - La Arenilla
Tor and Ben - is that heavier than you expected?
 If you have tonnes of gravel to move up the path?....then Raleigh Chain.
Nicole and Puck - Carara
Nicole and Puck - pass it on

There are lots of tricks to make it more interesting.  Passing on jokes, little known facts or indeed gossip along with that rock or sack makes the time pass more quickly.  Singing is another good way to move things along.  This has been the practice time that has given rise to many a prize winning skit.

And of course we somtimes get some additional help along the way...wheelbarrows are good too.
Little helper - La Arenilla
A little helper gives us a hand

The Raleigh Chain symbolises what were are all about here on expedition.  Working together, doing our share, enjoying the process and achieving results that we wouldn't manage on our own.  The total being more than the sum of the parts.

Arlene and Angel - La Arenilla
Arlene and Angel - have some mud

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Zulu 1 - make it out of the jungle

The Zulu 1 warriors started of on the Caribbean coast meeting some amazing locals on the way, before heading off into the jungle.
Claudia and Angel - Zulu 1
Claudia & Angel plan ...
Mela - Zulu 1
...Mela checks

The jungle was full of amazing scenery but also full of mud, steep hills, more mud and rain.  We all slid about, a LOT.  Top tumbler awards go to Patrice and Lilian amassing 15 slips each (at least) - though no harm done except to their pride.
Ben overjoyed wit the thought of a day trekking
After the jungle we headed to St Joaquin and stayed in a church and had an amazing time walking through towns and taking in some Costa Rican culture.

Eveline and Lilian - Zulu 1
Eveline and Lilian side be side
Just when we thought we were finished with the jungle we had some more hills and stunning views with a spot of camping.  Then lo and behold we were back in the jungle with more mud and steep hills.  But the hills can't bring down the Zulu warriors and as we have arrived at every destination early. 
B0 - Zulu 1
Bo strides out
This evening we have just arrived at a community centre at Esperanza after conquering two mountains and reaching almost 3,000 metres.  We literally have our heads in the clouds.  We are pretty damn awesome, we don't really need the PMs anymore - but we let them come along for the views.
Patrice, Project Comms officer
Patrice - Zulu 1
Patrice taking a moment to reflect

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

On the first day of Christmas Zulu 3 gave to me...

Hello there everyone I'd like to start this blog post off as we start every morning: 21 days 'til Christmas!

And just under two weeks until we will all be either continuing our travels or heading home. The last 9 days here at Carara have flown by. We started our work here by joining forces with some local volunteers to move rocks from one section of the park to another. The week that followed was a blur of rakes, gravel bags and wheelbarrows. Although we all felt a bit like worker ants marching along the same stretch of path over and over again, we managed to finish gravelling at least 100m of path.
Gravel at Carara National Park
Lots of gravel...
Along the way we were met with many nods of both approval for the good work we'd done so far and disapproval from some very keen birdwatchers whom we probably disturbed with our squeaky wheelbarrows. For the most part though the people we've come across have thanked us for the work we're doing or have stopped to chat for a while. We even hosted a tea party with a couple who happened upon our lovely Casa Verde.

Speaking of accommodation we've got a pretty sweet setup over here. Proper beds make for an excellent night's sleep and flushing toilets are a welcome change after our trek and community phases. Showers allow us to stay fresh and clean after a hard day's work and a fully functional kitchen has made for some exciting new food creations. Pork and beans have never tasted so good. We even have a girls vs. boys energy bomb competition which the girls won for originality and healthiness but the boys ultimately took the prize for their enthusiasm during presentation.
Full store cupboard - pork and beans top left
Besides keeping ourselves full after a long day's work we spend the evenings relaxing in hammocks or playing games. Obviously ninja has continued to be a source of great entertainment. The other day we played a round with some visiting university students who have been keeping us company. No doubt due to the amount of practise we've had team Raleigh emerged triumphant as our PM Vic defeated the visitors in a 1 to 1 showdown. Uno and chess have quickly become the other go-to games of choice.

Although our current jungle surroundings don't remind most of us of our typical winters back home, we've come fully prepared to celebrate the holiday season. A Christmas tree and Santa hats we've brought with us will be put to good use at Playa Hermosa once we move there on December 6th and most definitely won't look out of place.

by Sophie, Project Comms Officer