Ready to go...
Sep 8, 2007
|Almost two months after arriving in the UK, I'm ready to start my adventure with Raleigh International. It seems a long time since I met Nathan, from Raleigh in London, who came over to Bermuda in April and inspired me to take the steps to volunteer on a project to Kota Kinabala in Malaysian Borneo for three months as a logistics manager.
I chose (perhaps not the right word...) to abseil down 80 feet of cliff face at St. Davids Head in Bermuda as my fundraiser...never again...but the support I received was tremendous, both in encouragement from friends, Kristin at Raleigh Bermuda and the long-suffering Brian, my patient abseil instructor, who at one point thought he was going to have to spend the night on the climbing wall with me...and also in generous donations which have allowed me to exceed my target for fundraising set by the charity.
I left the rock on July 12th and a week later headed down to Dulwich in London for a Raleigh Staff Development Weekend. First time I'd slept in a tent in 20 years, first time I'd ever had a timer on my shower...but it CAN be done in four minutes and what was I thinking that summer had arrived in the UK...some weird kind of wet sunshine.
I have to admit to having had a very enjoyable couple of months in Blighty though, making full use of the rail and road networks to see friends all over the shop.
I also learnt to drive a 4 x 4 with the other two Raleigh logistics team members on a wet and muddy day in the south of England. It's all been a fun experience so far.
Then it was time to think about getting the never ending list of kit together. I've shunned Zara and French Connection in favour of North Face and Ellis Brighams...taking delight in finding a sleeping bag that squishes to almost nothing and an oh so cute mozzie net, along with my water bottles, mess tins, head torch and pen-knife...what do all those attachments actually do?! No mention of clothes yet...barely any room for any! I have, however, treated myself to seven pairs of knickers...we were recommended only four pairs (of dark ones...so they don't show the dirt...yeuch) but I figured mine are small and hardly take up any space...
Inbetween I've handed my arm over to various nurses for a myriad of injections. My body must be swimming with minute doses of Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid and who knows what else and today I added malaria tablets to the mix.
I've finally decided which rucksack to take...choice of red or purple...and now consider myself a "capsule" packer.
My parents have been brilliantly supportive through my planning, trip decisions and taking me in on a full board basis back home this summer (which has included a fabulous cup of tea in bed each morning...thank-you!!!!!). My mum does have slight delusions on what it is I'm going on though...last night we were discussing food supplies on the project and I mentioned we've been told it's gonna be a bit basic; porridge is the breakfast staple..."Oh Claire, don't worry" she piped up "I'm sure they will have alternatives"...right...mine's a full english with toast and marmalade.
SO...I think I'm about ready. My flight to Singapore leaves from Manchester at 10am tomorrow and I'll touch down in Kota Kinabalu at 11am on Monday. I hope not to bore you with too many entries...feel free to ditch them if I do! Thanks for ALL your support thus far and I'll be in touch again soon...