Saturday, 30 March 2013

Zulu 2 get closer to Corcovado


Zulu 2 are currently on Day 14 of the challenging Corcovado Trek journeying from El Progreso, near the Panama border, to Corcovado.

It has been an amazing experience watching the sunset while sitting on the top of a hill we didn’t think we’d get up, and seeing the sunrise after getting up so early we have already been walking for forty-five minutes. We have passed through small communities, stunning countryside and have finally seen a Corcovado National Park sign – the end is in sight. But it hasn't all been easy. We lost a day trying to get to Sila Limon. No matter which way we went up the mountain, none of the paths continued to the top. This was Day 8 (the first attempt) and it really challenged our group as by the end of the day we were almost out of water. Perseverance and good spirits prevailing throughout the day are two of the qualities that are making this a good trek. As we headed down the mountains after the third unsuccessful attempt at reaching the summit, it seemed the locals were right: what we are undertaking is crazy! We have had to keep going despite these challenges and each day we have to find the motivation to roll out of our sleeping bags, pack up our rucksacks and be excited by route-cards telling us it’s going to be a hard day.
 
Zulu 2 in La Amistad National Park, a few days into their trek
Motivation is a huge part of the Raleigh experience and everyone has their own reasons for being here. Ella is here to improve her self-confidence and we have seen a huge change through this phase. Colin is here ‘to get this wonderful group of individuals safely through the trek having an unforgettable experience along the way.’ Tom is here inspired by previous community work done in Bulgaria.

At the end of the day there can be a team motivator, but it is everyone’s personal motivation that will get them to the end of this trek.

Zulu 2´s motivation will get them all the way to the stunning Corcovado National Park and the amazing coastline at Carate. Some of us from Field Base have been to deliver one of their food drops there so have had a sneak preview of the incredible views they have to look forward to!

The trekkers will get here in a couple of days
Scarlet macaws spotted while delivering Zulu 2's final food drop


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Zulu 9 ask could you function on 25l of water a day?

Today we had a very curious challenge, meanwhile one of those awkward day reviews where we swear we had a wonderful time even though we sweat every last drop from our body, a great idea came up from our already dry brains... Why not use a 25l jerry can during the day and accept the deal to make the water last us for drinking, mess tin washing, laundry, shower and bathroom necessities? 





At the beginning this sounded a little crazy, but I’ve always been a crazy Tica, so I took it very seriously. My day began as if a log had hit my feet, they were so tired, and the fatigue of last day and the two previous phases were already on my shoulders, and the fact that we were going uphill to collect 16kg extra made me realise that my water use was going to be pretty high. Eventually the hours went by; after drinking around 9l, trying not to waste much in my mess tin and crying for every drop on the floor, I fought with PMs and partners but I took care of my container as my baby. The second part of the day I survived without a problem, and in Raleigh talking about how I go to the bathroom is no longer a taboo subject, I chose the long drop over the flushing toilet, saving more than half of my precious water; when shower time came I just filled up a bowl where I comfortably rinsed my now manageable curls, washed every part of my body and I was even able to do my dirty laundry. 




In conclusion...total success! And why am I sharing this from the most remote place in Costa Rica? Although this place has water in every corner, it is necessary to build up awareness to our people, a call to ask for the management of this resource. Lets remember that not everyday we carry the heaviest wood ever, work in the mountains, we don’t even usually build a health centre or sweat in our clothes until we think it has rained on us. This challenge showed me that despite our hard core day as a Raleigh venturer, 17 litres was plenty to cover our daily routine in La Carona, if that works here, how much less can we use in the city? 



Daniela (centre) our crazy Tica

Hoy tuvimos un reto bastante curioso, mientras en una de esas noches aburridos donde todos siempre decimos lo bien que la pasamos aun cuando por toda la mañana sudamos hasta la última gota de nuestro cuerpo, una buena idea surgío de nuestro ya seco cerebro… ¿Por qué no usa todo un contenedor de 25l durante un día y ver si el reto nos alentaba para hacer toda una rutina que incluía hidratacion, lavado del mess tin, limpieza de ropa, ducha, y por supuesto necesidades en general? 





En un principio pudo parecer un poco loco, pero como buena tica, lo tome de una vez muy personal. Mi día comenzo como si un arbol me huberia caido en los pies, el cansancio del día anterior, y 2 fases atrás ya estaban cargandose en mis hombres y el hecho de ir montaña arriba para bajarla con unos 16kg extra ya cantaban por un uso de agua bastante modesto. Eventualmente las horas pasaron, tal vez después de tomarme unos 4ls, pellizcando para no gastar mucho lavando mis trastes, y llorando por cada gota desperdida pelee con PM’s y compañeros  pero cuide mi pichinga como a un bebe. Sobrevivio sin problemas a mi segunda etapa del día,  y como en Raleigh ya hablar de cómo fui al bano no es tema tabú, les cuento que tuve la opcion de la latrina, lo cual me salvo mas de la mitad de mi contenedor; para bañarme  me las tuve que ingeniar y en una tina llenada a la mitad, cómodamente acondicione mis ya inmanejables colochos, lave cada parte de mi cuerpo y por ultimo hasta las 3 piezas que necesitaba despolvar pudieron pasar por una ducha de agua fría, en conclusión… 


The beautiful La Carona

¡Un éxito total! ¿Y porque compartir esto desde lo mas remoto de Costa Rica? Aunque este lugar tiene agua en cada rincon, es necesario un punto de conciencia, un llamado a que pongamos atención al manejo de este recurso, no todos los días trabajamos con la montana, cargamos la madera mas polvosa habida, construimos un centro de salud y sudamos hasta creer que ha llovido en nuestras empapadas ropas, para darnos cuenta que no es mas que necesario el uso de tal vez unos 17ls por día para cubrir nuestras rutinas… ¡Porque ni siquiera fue necesario el uso total de mi asignado contendor…! Juzguen ustedes si en la cuidad nos ensuciamos mas…  







Zulu 9 in front of the almost complete health centre

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

How is water affecting the building of a pre-school for Zulu 8?

Without a doubt, water is the most essential element required for our project in San Ramon. We suffered from a shortage of water one morning and without it we were unable to make cement which we needed for building. We had to stop working. It was only when we were lucky enough to be offered water by residents at a nearby house that we could continue. It was then that we noticed how much people, in communities like San Ramon, cooperate when water has to be shared. We wondered whether this sort of cooperation would be possible on a global scale. Would one country be willing to share its water with another in order to build for future generations?


Sin pensarlo mucho, el agua se ha convertido en realidad el elemento esencial para nuestro proyecto en San Ramón. Después de sufrir una escasez de agua una mañana, pensamos que sin ella no podríamos hacer cemento para construir y toda la construcción se detuvo, pero por suerte una casa cercana ofreció su agua. Fue entonces cuando nos dimos cuenta en comunidades como San Ramón donde el agua tiene que ser compartida, la importancia de cooperar. Después de más reflexión nos preguntamos si este tipo de cooperación sería posible en una escala global. Estaría un país dispuesto a compartir su agua con otro con el fin de construir para las generaciones futuras.

Greggae (eyes closed) and the maestro de obra
Here in San Ramon we have learned a lot about water because of its scarcity. It has been necessary to wet the freshly made walls, for making cement and even to drink (after purifying). It's hard enough waiting 30 minutes for the tablet to purify the water when we are thirsty that we can’t even imagine how it feels not knowing how long it will be before you will next have access to water. This project has opened our eyes as to what the implications would be should there be a water shortage in the future.

The pre-school was at roof level and should now be nearing completion
Aquí en San Ramón ya hemos aprendido mucho acerca del agua debido a su escasez. Nos ha hecho falta para mojar las paredes recién hechas, para hacer el cemento e incluso para beber porque tenemos que purificarla. Es muy duro esperar 30 minutos con sed para que la pastilla purifique el agua, no queremos imaginar como será tener sed y no saber cuánto habrá que esperar para poder tomar más agua. Este proyecto nos ha abierto los ojos acerca de lo que podría significar una futura escasez de agua y esto nos asegura que muchos de nosotros nos sensibilicemos al respecto.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Zulu 1 Coast to Coast by Gabriella Brunton



When I found out on Saturday that Vic, Paul and I would be PMs on the Coast to Coast trek I was overwhelmed with both excitement and trepidation at the task ahead: 270 kilometres, a team of seventeen, and the aim of reaching the Pacific Coast in nineteen days.
Comms officer Gabby no doubt got a detailed handover
from X-ray one's Rich

Cas, Matt and Iona were our day leaders for the first two days and did an amazing job of ‘raleigh-ing’ the team, allaying fears and getting everyone’s Positive Mental Attitude into gear. On Day 1 we had to stop the bus 3km short of our drop-off point which made our first day a cheeky 16km. We began the trek by dipping our toes into the Carribean sea then walking along the stunning beach for 5km taking in all the sights and sounds. We were passed by locals saying Buenos Dias looking unsure of what fourteen venturers and three PMs were up to with their huge packs on.

We carried on walking along abandoned train tracks and under the scorching sun for five hours until we reached our first stop. Henry spoke to the locals and managed to find a lovely Costa Rican family who let us sleep in their garden, use their water and their toilet. It is something I can’t imagine happening in the UK and something that provoked discussion within our group: would people back home offer a group of random smelly trekkers such amenities, especially something as precious as water?

On Day 2 we awoke at 3am, packed our tents and did our morning stretches to prepare for the 22km trek to Colonia. It was then down to business. We walked for miles through banana plantations and villages and by 11am, befuddled by our speedy pace, we had already done 16km. A local man invited us into his home and gave us coconuts he had cut down from his tree. The generosity of local people never ceases to amaze us and is something we find hard to describe. It seems as though at every corner there is a man, woman or child waving at us with a big smile- which on tough days can make a huge difference. We were offered a tour to spot poison dart frogs, as well as a trip to a cultural museum which some of the group participated in. Following this we had a lovely banquet table dinner, ending a tough but rewarding few days.

Day 3 saw us trek 22km, the last four kilometres of which was steep uphill. It was a tough ending to a long, hot day but we made it to our campsite, sleeping beside cows. With Tung Wing’s call of ‘Day 3 is complete’ we knew it was tents up and bedtime, although a few of us had a fun time trying to warm down.
Awaiting Zulu 1 in just under a weeks time - Cerro Dragon

With World Water Day coming up we have all thought more about the importance of access to water. Every time we use the toilet, have a bucket shower or drink we realise how dependent we are on it to keep us hydrated and healthy.

We have now entered Barbilla National Park which involved 12km of steep uphill, followed by some more uphill and the occasional downhill for good measure. Ascending to 450m, we reached an incredible vista overlooking the mountains. Eagles were soaring overhead and on the horizon we could spot the sea, where our journey had begun.

This morning a passing local enquired what we were all up to at four o’clock in the morning, to which Tom replied ‘we’re heading for the Pacific!’ It does sound pretty epic and to be honest, that’s exactly what it is.
The final destination, a chance to dip your toes in the other ocean

We would like to say a big thank you to all of our loved ones supporting us back home, as well as a thank you to the Field Base team who are always looking out for us- we couldn’t do it without you!

Love from Gabby, Paul, Vic, Iona, Kieran, Matt, Cas, Tom, Greg, Lilly, Merle, Anna, Henry, Adriana, Tung Wing Chow, Amelia and Olly.



Saturday, 23 March 2013

Zulu 3 - A tribe in search of water


Dear Blog readers, 

First of all an apology for the slight delay in blogs for this phase. Our resident blogger, Gabby, has been deployed as a PM on the Coast to Coast trek with Zulu 1 (she seems to be loving it). So it is up to the rest of us here at Fieldbase to deliver news of loved ones to you all. From now on we should be back to one blog a day starting with an interest twist on the trek phase from Zulu 3 focusing on the theme of this phase; Water. 

We are the tribe ¨Zuluthree¨ and our community has lost its sources of drinkable water. With no other option we have packed up our things and set off in search of a new place to live. Our first day took us through dense jungle and we could fill up at a couple of rivers along the way. However, soon the walk up the hill took us away from the water and we had to rely on our portable supplies until we reached the next rest.  Luckily the people sheltering us were willing to share water for cleaning and cooking.
Leonie and James soaking their worn out feet in phase 1
                         
The next day we were unsure when we would next be able to fill up with water and we thought of the 6-8 million people that die from water-related diseases each year. For us, the amount we carried proved to be adequate for the walk.
Our third day brought a change in terrain and a new challenge to face.  As we moved out of the jungle, the roads became easier to walk on but the sun blazed down on us from the sky. With the added heat we consumed more of our personal water supplies.  A member of our group was in trouble having only one container for carrying water. His supply was now very low. Only the support of the tribe members saved him until the next water source was reached. As many as 1.6 billion people live in countries with water scarcity. Their situation is a lot worse and more prolonged than ours.
Some of the rivers our trekkers come across are crystal clear

Day 4 proved to be the toughest yet as the walk was long and hot. 783 million people do not have access to clean water, and, as our tribe walked on we felt the desperation of such situations.  Along the way we filled up with water from various places such as garden hoses and taps. The end of the day meant we could drink our fill and we were once again content.

The 5th day was a simple walk but our ordeal began with a search for a place to stay and a source of water. One of our possibilities was camping by the river but some of the tribe worried about the pollution of such a valuable water source. Not only could the water be contaminated from upstream be we did not want to pollute it inadvertently ourselves. The alternative came from local residents as they let us stay with them and we avoided any possibility of pollution.
Today is the 6th day in our search and looking back we thank the luck that has seen us to this point. With World Water Day upon us we celebrate and think of others in similar or worse situations. 
X ray 3 weren't short of water in phase 2

Friday, 22 March 2013

World Water Day


Dom Lowe and Ben Jacobs of Zulu 7 bring you the first of a series of blogs from our groups about they have been spending World Water Day. 

70% of the Earth is covered by water but just 1% is suitable for drinking.

We are facing the challenge of distributing that 1% amongst a growing global population, expected to reach nine billion by 2050. 15% of the world’s people have no choice but to drink from unclean sources, putting at risk health and livelihoods.  And each year we face up to 8 million deaths worldwide from the consequences of water-related diseases and disasters.

Our global water crisis has its roots not only in demand, but also in increasing scarcity.
Berny and Cali getting the water flowing in Acuapa

Areas of North Africa and South Asia, for example, currently face extremely high levels of scarcity. Ultimately putting lives at risk, this problem of existing scarcity is exacerbated by poor management of finite global water supply.  Water pollution, abuse of water treaties, and diversion of sources are examples of careless use of the 1% of the Earth’s water that is available for drinking.  Sewage and industry pump 2 billion tonnes of waste into world waterways each year.  As a consequence of this behaviour, by 2030, 47% of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress as millions lose access to clean water or are forced to drink from dirty sources.
Therefore, looking ahead, it is imperative to protect our precious water supply through more sensible water policies.  Treaties must be respected, industrial waste must be regulated and diversion of water supplies away from vulnerable communities must be limited.
But it is not just on the international scale where water usage must be managed.  As individuals we all have an obligation to use water sensibly. 

Marie digging trenches for water pipes in Carara NP 
Zulu 7 spent world water day monitoring our water consumption and made an attempt to reduce our usage.  By taking just a five minute shower instead of a 15 minute one or by turning off the tap when brushing our teeth, we found that we could save a remarkably large amount of water.  Water-saving methods like these, if replicated widely, mean that future generations won’t pay such a heavy price for our irresponsible management of water.
In order to protect future generations, we must use water sustainably in the present.  

Phase 3: the Zulus

The third and final phase is upon us and everyone has now been deployed to their respective projects. As we waved goodbye to one another, everyone bemused at how quickly the time had flown by, the excitement for the forthcoming few weeks was palpable. Our seven-weekers also set off early yesterday morning. There were tears but many happy memories and lifetime friends made along the way. We hope everyone is having an awesome time!

ZULU 1 - Coast to Coast trek




Vic Moorhouse, Paul Davis & Gabby Brunton

Adriana Arce
Amelia Heimler
Iona Clark
Merle Boontje
Anna Bakker
Lilly Murmann
Henry Vasquez
Kieran Simpson
Tung Wing Chow
Tom Merrill
Olly Walrond
Matt Heathcote
Cas McCormick
Greg Obi

ZULU 2 - Corcovado trek


Sacha Lapins, Colin Houston & Marisa Dunn

Jeannina Barrientos
Katinka Halvorsen
Ella Howman
Ella-Kate Nye
Michelle Melchoir
Emilie Wesseling
Berny Garro
Tom Warren
John Warner
Dominic Orchard
George Clifton
Mark Saville


ZULU 3 - Turrisantos trek

Marie Duguid, Angie Turnball & Clive Arkell

Akalia Ouellet
Jess Nineham
Amy Davies
Florentine Claus
Céline Nobels
Lucinda Hamilton
Roger Zuñiga
Rakeem Shan
Thomas Bots
Josh Arbon
James Anthoney
Drew MacPherson


ZULU 4 - Miratombo trek

Gemma Hickey, Sarah McMurtrie & Sally Bell

Amy Finch
Kate Eskins
Brooke Jones
Flo Bottema
Alexandra Braun
Harini Dewage
Ignacio Vargas
Olly Diponio
Don Hill
Ben Robinson
Alex Bailey-Smith
Anthony Pollen


ZULU 5 - Carara NP

Kate Feeney & Pauline Clarke

Emily Carter
Robin van Gelderen
Laetitia Boels
Anouk Nolte
Jess Adsett
Issie Rughani
Nelson Rostrán
Victor Rojas
Alex Buehrich
Jaap Velenturf
Rob Angus
Frederick Brock
Anthony Thompson


ZULU 6 - San Lucas Island

Denise Hurden, Jess Black & Kat McClenaghan

Nathalia Tchaikovsky
Denise Quint
Charlie Dumoulin
Stella Aichholzer
Wisha Walker
Rachel Holey
Esteban Majano
Lewis Battes
Henry Ash
Glyn Wright
Conrad Hagger
Dougie Critchley
Anders Jacobsen


ZULU 7 - Cabo Blanco

Emma Nightingale & Helena Williams

Alejandra Ruiz
Fay Koster
Willie Aukema
Katy Johnson
Sarah Tilley
Elpha Perkins
Nina Lodeizen
Maykel Martinez
Matthew Hicks
Sébastien Henrist
Philip Kolff
Angus Richardson
Dom Lowe
Ben Jacobs


ZULU 8 - Siares, San Ramon

Sarah Legrand, Chris Powell & Lou Robinson

Adelina Vásquez
Emily Elliott
Emma Holder
Frances Savage
Cecilia Ricks
Luis Velasquez
Freddie Baggerman
Charlie Cunningham
Jelmer van der Ploeg


ZULU 9 - La Corona, Conte Burika

Shane Deverell, Dav Amin, Liz Boyd & Holly Howarth

Daniela Zamora
Abi Hayward
Eleanor Shilton
Ottalie Westerink
Izzy Letty
Jeff Young
Jos Swanwick
Charlie Lacey
Job Brenes


ZULU 10 - Arenilla, Miraflor

Antonio Moreno & Zoe Hudson

Adriana Cruz
Jade Sylvestre-Carberry
Eva McAdam
Jac Potts
Catherine Davies
Rosina Findlay
Kieran Bowen
Nick Verney
James Taylor
Philipp Noodt

You might have noticed the painted faces of our groups this time round? Everyone found out their final allocation by being smeared with a little bit of their team colours by their new PMs. Good luck to all our teams on phase three!!










Thursday, 21 March 2013

Changeover Skit Night


It was that time again on Friday night- skit night, where any self-dignity that remains from phase, vanishes in off-key acapellas and dodgy acting. Presented to the entire 13A crew and in front of a panel of three judges, the ‘Nica Chicas’: Jess, Alice and Holly, the skits were marked on humour, language, inclusivity and creativity. As with the first skit night, the second had hilarious moments and every group put in a huge amount of effort. Most incorporated a medley of songs within their skit- ‘It’s Raining Men’ appeared not once, but twice and the venturers’ experiences of D&V and other general ailments were harmonised in some very witty melodies.  The dominant theme was water, and anyone lucky enough to not get drenched whilst trekking in Phase 2 had their alms paid that night thanks to the enthusiastic use of water guns.

The winners of the evening, however, were X-Ray 9, who did a fantastic theatrical sketch of their time in Conte Burica and below is their transcript from the night.

            We present to you a skit of subjective interpretation. For your pleasure, for your knowledge, we created theatre. Our walk we depict, the events in order, from the onwards, to shortly thereafter. Our scenes we shape, our actions we ape, for a short time, we will stretch out this rhyme. Tonight, we give you our journey and our trek to Conte Burica, the walk.
            With night cloaking X-Ray 9, our journey began. The air thick with emotions aflutter, we began our time, with anticipation, nerves, excitement, with boots on we were gone.
            Beginning a walk rumoured tough, fearing worst, hoping wrong. Yet soon we were swamped by tide and ocean. We emerged from the waves, weighed down by the sun, returning to land. It stretched to the horizon. We reached the mountain, our hearts quickened, our throats heightened, the behemoth before us resolute in statue and nature. Yet Katy forced it down, she took it in her palm, without qualm. It fell away before her steps like Goliath before David. We come upon Eden, La Corona. Welcome awaited. Spoken in Guaymí, the language of Ngäbe hosts, we perplexed and tired, their harmonic voices lulled us to sleep.                      
              First light, work, carrying, sawing, trekking, hammering and most of all, tiring; our goal so far, yet four hundred locals depend upon us. The health centre was our all, medical our being. Despite some of our things fleeing, Sebastien, Patricio, Ronaldo, but potent and flaming, surrounded by ‘estrellas fuegas’, our purpose kindled. Older than the mountain, heavier than the waves: we are X-Ray 9.     





Monday, 18 March 2013

Artist's Blog: Changeover 2


We've had some fantastic work produced in Phase 2 by the X-Ray groups and much of it went beyond the art kits and sketchbooks, supplied to them on every phase. There were some really dynamic pieces involving not only the venturers but the local partners as well. After the Nicaraguan road trip which myself, Alice, Jess and Vanessa undertook, X-Ray 8 in San Ramon took to the task of continuing with the mural on the pre-school, which was started when we visited them a couple of weeks earlier. With the school children, the group created a beautiful mural consisting of a large butterfly with all of their handprints in and around the painting.

X-Ray 10 made a beautiful social map of the community, detailing their lives during their time at Miraflor. It included some fantastically detailed pictures of their respective houses and the characters that live in them. In Cabo Blanco, X-Ray 6 finished their path with wonderfully decorated rocks, lining the new Alberth Ingalls trail. The 600 meter path will be the prettiest in Costa Rica, for sure! 

Continuing on the theme of International Women's Day, X-Ray 7 worked with one of the homestay Mums, Sylvia, on some wonderful drawings depicting life in Achuapa. The group also used art as a means of learning Spanish and teaching English to the children in the community. PM Emma drew some beautiful images. 

Below is a roundup of theirs and others achievements over 19 days of second phase- good job guys!


X-Ray 8's Conrad and Billy get stuck in in San Ramon
Alpha 10's fantastic social map
Charlie: proud as punch
Merle and her beautiful design
Katrinka got stuck in and created several
Anna drew a picture of her homestay
Sylvia's lovely drawings