Participant accounts of phase two and phase three allocations

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May 13th 2007
Published: May 13th 2007
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Participants returned to field base over the weekend looking tanned and healthy, albeit a little scruffier as another phase took its toll on their expedition kit. There were lots of hugs and kisses as friends reunited to tell tales of the past three weeks and exchange gossip and photos of their time away. With two phases down and just one remaining they are now a hardened bunch and expert fire lighters, porridge makers and long drop constructors.

We wave goodbye to five more Explorers who swap expedition for home life and welcome two new faces for the final phase.

As before, we hear now from those out in the field who have put pen to paper to share their experiences. Once again, there were enthusiastic responses to the messages sent via the blog, so thanks to all those who got in touch with their loved ones.

Alpha 2 - Onameya School. By Helena Lamb and Mary Gee

The Official A Team got off to a great start at Onameya. On the first day we de-anted the area and made an impressive long-drop, complete with homemade (jerry can) toilet seat. After, we got to know one another with a few games of mafia around the camp fire.

Our first day on the building site was eventful due to Will M killing a snake and the group getting to grips with becoming brickies. That aside, we made really fast progress and were allowed a morning off to play with the school kids. Lee taught some football skills while some of the other children danced and sang songs for us.

We were fortunate enough to be invited along to the local church, where we were welcomed and were able to experience the local culture.

Along with killing a goat and two chickens, we ate extremely well and had chocolate cake three times and fresh bread every day. On the last day we completed the roof and left Onameya tired but with a sense of achievement and new skills in building walls and plucking chickens!

Alpha 3 - REST. By Saul Hardman

The Rare and Endangered Species Trust was set up to prevent the extinction of a fantastic (but not so fluffy) creature. The Cape Griffon vulture is slowly being killed off by quick-fix measures taken by farmers to prevent their livestock from being hunted by large cats. Before anyone knew it there were just 12 in existence in Namibia. Our inspired project partner Maria set up the organisation to prevent the species dying out completely. The new site for the vultures was where alpha 3 made its mark. Our group consisted of 10 venturers and two PMs.

The camp site was amazing, much to our delight - a green savannah located in the middle of nowhere. It was overlooked by a huge natural structure, going by the name of Baboon Rock. The numerous tracks provided amazing morning run routes and the views were breath-taking. A few of the guys took to guinea fowl hunting as a new form of entertainment and their continued empty-handiness after their daily hunts made the team laugh.

We had plenty of work to do - the first few days proved very productive but some planning problems led to a few days when activity was thin on the ground. But we had such a fantastic group that we kept each other amused with multiple games of football and rounders as well as hilarious conceptual evening. We had everything from cross-dressing nights to a full-on Scottish Celeidh - never a dull moment, that’s for sure. The nearby rock also doubled as an awesome campsite for the two nights we slept under the stars in just our sleeping bags - an unforgettable experience.

Our hard work resulted in a bird bath and partial wiring of the aviaries high ceiling, a painted hide, a newly constructed log walkway and one gigantic trench.

Alpha 4 - Cape Cross. By Jim Norton and Astrid Branum

Thirteen members of Alpha 4, 5,000 jackals, 250,000 seals and 200,000 kilometres of nothing. Looking down the never-ending road to Cape Cross, all that we could see was a big cloud looming over the camp site. As part of our home for the next three weeks stood a broken monument, a camp site in shambles and a sorry-looking viewpoint.

Enduring the pungent smell of seals and traipsing through numerous seal bones on our way to our work didn’t put us off our challenge. With our enthusiastic attitudes, a few licks of paint and a lot of cement, we quickly managed to turn around Cape Cross and make it far more pleasing on the eyes of the numerous tourists who visit from miles around each day.

Back at the camp site we spent several laborious days shovelling sand and moving rocks for a new camping area to ensure the visitors of the National Park were ready and rested to snap shots of one of Namibia’s unique sights.

When we had time off, we turned to our ‘holiday reps’ to keep us entertained and amused. Aerobics and yoga kept us flexible and there were plenty of eventful nights of ‘truth or dare’. Quiz nights stimulated our minds and Dave’s short shorts helped in other ways!

It was back to school for some as we competed in primary school olympics and rounders matches. Our creative minds were kept occupied by designing cards and presents for two memorable birthdays and our appetites were satisfied with superb camp fire cooking. Culinary magic such as ‘Daniel bread’, curry, flapjacks and luncheon meat burgers were the highlights but cooking was not without its mishaps. When waiting hours for the kettle to boil took its toll, we turned the nearby lodge with its filling food and hospitality.

Overcast days reminded us of the British coast but fortunately the sunny days soon turned Cape Cross into an exotic location. Our colourful group had a great time mixing with play to ensure we had an unforgettable three weeks.

Alpha 5 - Trekking. By Rebecca Hocking

Twenty days, six girls, six guys, three PMs and our knowledgeable Namibian guide Bernard left field base to begin the trek of a lifetime. Our journey began on a remote goat farm in the middle of nowhere and led us through a river bed, a canyon, across an open plain to a ‘pyramid’ and finally to the ocean of the incredible Skeleton Coast.

On our first day we were lucky enough to see a mother and baby giraffe as well as a family of baboons, springbok, jackals and snakes. We saw parts of the country few people have seen or will ever see and things we’ll never forget. We were rendered speechless by views we never thought possible and scenery that took our breath away.

There were injuries along the way but not even a scorpion sting (non harmful!) or inner thigh chafing slowed us down. We celebrated Lucy’s birthday on a day which coincided nicely with us sharing a camp site with the other trek group and had a rest day the next day too so nicely timed! Open showers at the Save the Rhino camp site will be remembered for a lifetime as will the goat dinner most of the group enjoyed that night.

Three horrible days began at ‘death camp’ when we had radio trouble and had to set up camp off route, ending up with two days of bees which had many of us hysterical, bearing the 50 degree heat in our tents to escape them! Few got away without stings.

Our trek support, Michael, and chocolate saved the first day and group morale and banter got us through the last. The trekking has been tough - we lost one of the team for a few days due to an ankle injury - days were long and challenged each of us in different ways. There were times when I wanted to give up and times when I never wanted it to end. I will never forget this time or the people I met and I can’t believe we actually did it!!

I’ve now come to the end of my seven weeks and will leave Raleigh for the UK in a few days time. As CD Jim said to us at the beginning “You came for the experience of a life time and you will leave with a life time of experiences” I will certainly leave will loads. Good luck to everyone for phase three. I miss you all already!

Alpha 6 - Trekking. By Jimmy Bruce

On April 22 a group of lively, young, enthusiastic bobby dazzlers came together to form the legendary ‘Alpha 6’. From that day forward the Namibian desert would never be the same again. Let’s hear their story: Our epic journey started north of The Brandberg where, under the blistering sun, Alpha 6 dressed as pirates and took part in a GPS assisted treasure hunt. We proceeded to find treasure of mechanically de-boned wieners and pork-free meatballs in a rich gravy sauce. After a few days with a combination of hot and spicy chakalaka with added peri-peri prepared by our saucy PM Mandy and lack of ‘5 tucker 1’s’, hearts were racing and love was in the air.

Each male participant took it upon themselves to escort there ideal woman for a romantic night out for two. Secrets were not revealed but suspicions were arisen, especially between Alex and Louise. From that day forward Alpha 6 re-united as one, even sharing sweat pools under tarpaulin in the flat desert plains. Alpha 6’s endurance was tested with numerous swarms of bees but was later comforted with rather too many cups of tea.

Naughty nights including games such as ‘Never have I ever’ along with ‘Truth or Dare’ where we saw some very revealing sides of the team. Sarah, Daisy and Laura once again comforted themselves with yet more cups of tea. A grand finale to what has been a memorable trek started off with a ‘school disco’ night where we all busted our moves south of The Brandberg. All that was left now was the crunch race between the two trekking groups Alpha 5 and Alpha 6. Preparations started early where those precious bikinis were burnt to lighten the load. The final day was the highlight of the trip where we woke up to Blur’s track ‘Song 2’ and then started carbo-loading and donning our animal costumes before day break. Accompanied by music, adrenaline and high spirits, Alpha 6 were just beaten by Alpha 5 by a matter of metres. A big thank you to everyone in the group especially to PMs Sarah, Phil and Mandy for all their hard work. We all had the time of our lives. Alpha 6 trekked further than any other Alpha in history, thus making them the strongest, fittest and funnest group of all time.

Phase three allocations and photos of the new alpha groups as follows:

Alpha 1. Onakasino playground

Participants: Matt, Nguyen, Owen Ensor, Lucy Martin, Annie Turner
Sarah Seymour, Fiona Wynn, Maximillian Taylor-Smith, Imogen Ainsworth, Victoria Payne, Brendan Cavanagh, Daniel Williamson, Jimmy Bruce. Project managers: Linda Fenner, Joanna Harvey, Stuart Everitt

Alpha 2. Onameya School

Participants: Thomas Rice, Richard Lewin, Claire Smith, Ali Scarisbrook, Iain Macleod, Kate Whalley, Sam Picton, Saul Hardman, James Norton, Daisy Faulkner, Astrid Branum, Nicola Harney, Billy Bambrough Project managers: Sophie Pell, Toree Weller, Rosie Jones, Stuart Everitt, Lenny

Alpha 3. REST

Participants: Daniel Boyd, Nicola Good, Trevor Ferros, Louise MacMillan, Laura McGuire, Susannah Larmont, Alexander Maxwell-Scott, William Morton. Project managers: Phil Duma, Sarah Walters, Stuart Everitt

Alpha 5. Trek

Participants: Alexandria Fair, Thomas Erikson, Imaan Petra, William Reed, Richard Thomas, Alexandra Smith, Josephine Close, Hannah Young, Sean Paterson, Amy Meza De Paz, William Balfour. Project managers: Alex Ridyard, Stuart Everitt, Monica Babb, Louise Powell

Alpha 6. Trek

Participants: Nicholas Reid, Lee Daley, Gemma Doherty, Ben Priest, Christine Johnson, Mary Gee, Rachel Smith, David Williams, Rosie Willmot, Kerry Usher, Chris Spencer. Project managers: Mandy Talbot, Simay Adil, Lucy Kentish

At the beginning of June we'll be hearing from participants about their last leg of the 07D journey. We'll also have one or two photos from 'wash up' which will include the participant party, an awards night and various other activities.. So, until next time, thanks again for reading and please keep your comments coming!

Additional photos below
Photos: 35, Displayed: 30


13th May 2007

Thanks for the update again! More great photos... I just wish they were a little bigger! Can't wait to see them properly when you get back. Hannah, Saints lost the first leg 2-1, but it's only half time! Keep thinking of the bike ride during the trek! The trek will be good training for the Race for Life that Jess has entered you into! Love you loads, see you in a few weeks! Andy xxx
13th May 2007

Well done Rog
Hiya Rosie!! Well done on phase two! It looks like you've been having a great time. Hope this phase was as good as the last. my mum says you look very clean, haha. Hope u got my letter, clarence sent one too. I hope the trek goes well, it looks like it's going to be really good fun, whip out the aussie hat!! I finish my course this week, at last. See you in a few weeks, good luck! Love from Suzel xxx
13th May 2007

Well done Max Taylor-Smith
Great to hear from you and see the latest pictures on the blog. Will keep the remains of the bread sauce for your return and you can fight Elvis for the chicken. Chelsea drew 1 all with Everton roll on the FA cup. Love all in Putney
13th May 2007

For Iain MacLeod Phase 2 trek
Well done for completing the trek, I'll order a new pair of feet! The report was really interesting. I'm not sure if Sainsbury's repetoire runs to goat - but I'll do my best. It was great speaking to you and I'm really looking forward to seeing the photos Love, Mum
13th May 2007

The Alaskan Pipeline
There's no need to feel like you're going to miss out on The Alaskan Pipeline's comeback gig, Hannah. You may already know that the gig on the 25th May has been cancelled, but I saw Chris this evening and he told me that they might be ready to play with a revised line-up in a couple of months. All together now, "I'm loooooooosing it!!!" Loves ya Hannie.
14th May 2007

Good Grief!
Okay, I have been scanning every photo looking for a bald/short haired man, but, that's you isn't it, under that hat?! I hope you have a really good time on the trek, previous reports sound fantastic. I have to confess to being rather worried about the bees, but with that hat they probably won't recognise you! Looking forward to seeing you and all your stories. All my love Benny xx
20th May 2007

hello Uncle Trevor
Hello Uncle Trevor, I have almost forgotten what you look like but luckily the photos remind me and Avo made spaghetti with meatballs in your honour the other day. When are you coming home? I hope you will take me to Nams (that's what you say, isn't it?) one day. I hear you are resting now. Is it like your usual way of sleeping in front of the TV at home all weekend? I can't imagine you being really active and outdoors all day, and then dressing up at night. I hope you will do that with me when you are back, love Xavier
20th May 2007

For Nicky Good
Hello, Hope everything is going well in Namibia- think of me back here in cold england doing my ASs. Maths tomorrow but then im done for 2 weeks, then there are all the rest. Im glad you survived the bee attack and I will send an email for you to receive on the 9th of June. Love from Vicky xx
21st May 2007

hello kerry usher
hiya mate gemba-gemba here. just wanted to say all the girls miss u and we hope u r having a gd time mate!! keep up the good wrk. presentation evening was good shame u wasnt there. carrots got a picture of u and put it on a stick!!!! keep safe mate and keep up the hard wrk see u wen u come back mate love all the girls from footie XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
25th May 2007

Happy Birthday, Thomas E!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Thomas!!What a place to celebrate! Hope you have a day to remember. I will finalise your booking for a day with Great Whites - the trip looks awesome! So glad to see you are having a great time - the photos bring it closer to us. Wendy's Sandy asked if you would like to take his place in Fat Face during Uni terms - good pay and v. good discount!! I will say yes (just to secure it). Hope your trek is better than you expected! Happy Birthday again from all of us here! Love, Dad and Ann
25th May 2007

For Thomas Eriksen
Hiya Thomas - Happy Birthday from all of us in Cape Town. What a different way to spend your birthday - am sure it is one you will never forget! Looking forward to seeing you soon and seeing all your pics. What an awesome experience - wish I were young again! Love Angie, Leif, Jo and Carl
25th May 2007

Max Taylor-Smith
Graham come up trumps with new season tickets. Apartment finished. Dog has same haircut as you. Last again racing at Donnington. See you at Gatwick. Dad and all in Putneyl
26th May 2007

Oh my goodnes, that has gone quickly!!
I can't believe that you are going to be home so soon. We all can't wait to see you and hug you again!!! We all got your letters on the same day, so cool!! Arrived on Barbar's birthday, he was so touched, he rang me to tell me!! Grandma rang to tell me too! All thrilled. I nearly cryed when I read your marathon of a letter! I/we am/are sooooo proud of you, you have achieved so much, I hadn't done all that at 17!!!! And I don't think I have ever had goat!!! Presumably it was a bit like skinning a rabbit?! Just bigger! You are a star and we all love you so much. xoxox Monday after you get back we're off to sort out college and get uniform!! Have had to book an appointment cos you were supposed to have done it all by May 22nd!! Oops said it was a bit difficult as you were in Africa!! They were fine! Well done you clever girl, hope the school project lived up to expectations. Can't wait to see you on Friday, love you sooooo much Mum xxxxxxx Off to barbar's for his birthday, he's started his chemo and is great at the moment, we'll go and see him as soon as you get back xxx Have a good flight home x We'll be waiting!
26th May 2007

Can't wait to see you Dan B
Hi Dan looking forward to seeing you. If you ring over the weekend can you make it sunday. time has flown it only seems like yesterday we left you at the airport.Can't wait to hear about all your experiences and see all your photos. love mum,dad,jamie and nicola xxxxxxxxxxxx
27th May 2007

Kerry - those boots were made for walking....
....... and that is what they have done!!! Hope you and Alpha 6 have had a memorable experience trekking. Well done to you all; a great accomplishment. Can't wait to here all your news. Once again, great accounts and photos, it's been great to read and share them with everyone at home. After the distance you have walked, how tall will you be in the up and coming photos!?! With much love mum and dad. xx :)
28th May 2007

I think there is way to many photos of alpha 6 what about Alpha 2 was so hard trying to find my sister Claire Smith dont worry sis youl be home soon with a nice toilet to flush!! lv vick xxxxxxxxxxxxx And get on sum more pics not seen you doin aythin over there tell alpha 6 they r all posesrs lol xxxxxxxx
28th May 2007

Jim Norton: when are you coming home?
Hi Jamie - We're sure you've had a fantastic time. And still more to look forward to. Hope you enjoy your two weeks or so of travelling after Raleigh. Let us know when you're returning - time, airport, flight number. At the moment we have 19 June. Lots of love, Mum and Dad xxx
28th May 2007

for 'Fairy Girl' Nicola Harney
Reading the blog and seeing your photo made me smile. Missing you lots, can't wait to hear all your news. I'm very proud of you darlin, enjoy the rest of your time there! See you soon, all my love mum x
30th May 2007

Hi everyone!!
Hi guys, How weird to be back in the UK, its actually my first day back at work :( I've been thinking about you all loads and wondering what I'm missing!! Its raining here and has been all weekend! Trevor and Brendan - I posted your letters! Nic Nac - I listened to Dans band, they're great :) My photos have come out amazingly and I've printed over 100 off and made frames which I'm sure Dan is thrilled I've hung up around the house (which is lovely by the way!). Can't wait for you to come and visit! Email me when you're in Windhoek! Tom - They lost, maybe Man U aren't so great ;) Luce - Choc Chip Cookie Cake recipe is on its way to you!! Enjoy your last few days, you'll miss it more than you expect!! Bec xx
31st May 2007

can't believe you are going to be home soon!!! i can't belive i leave on the very day you return!!!!!!!!!!!!! im missing you heaps and can't wait to see you again!!exams on Monday!!
31st May 2007

hello claire smith
hi again you said you would post a comment back sis play the white man noo thts not fair it wasnt easy I have looked at about a million blogs! You missin...............ME!! ha ha. When you home the 11th or the 18th? wb fay your younger sexier sister!! P.S. Eastenders has been brill a forgot to tape it sorry!! But the cheatin scum have still not been rumbled but it was very close!! xxxxxxx
31st May 2007

ali scarry!
hi al, another message!!so excited about seeing you cant wait. hows working at the school? bet all the kids are amazing! so desperate to see all ur photos and hear ALL the stories! wish i knew wat u were up to right now....thinking of you rave safe all my love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1st June 2007

Hi Rosie!
Hi Rosie, hope this finds you well, we are looking forward to seeing you so much, everyone sends their love. We are very proud of you. Can you bring back Nelson - I think he would be good for keeping the magpies at bay in the garden. We will meet you at the airport on 8th. Lots of love from Mum, Dad, Ollie, George and Kerry.
1st June 2007

Hello Alexandra
It has been lovely to see all the photos ; we have been thinking of you on your trek. I expect you will be nearly finished by now and at the coast. There was a fantastic wildlife programme the other night on the desert lions of Namibia- super scenery but rather mean looking lions so I hope you didn't encounter any! Phil has just finished his finals - only one disaster he said. Andrew phoned from New Orleans last week- he is having a good time. He has a lovely house sharing with 2 English girls and has been to Court once already. We (Dad, Phil and I)are off to Harrogate tomorrow for Charlotte's 18th celebrations which should be good Not long till we see you now. Enjoy your last week- we're looking forward to seeing you and hearing all your news Love, Mum and Dad xx
3rd June 2007

To Alex Fair - Greetings from home!
Hi Alex- it's not long now until you are back in the UK. We're all really looking forward to seeing you again and catching up with your news. You dad is working hard at getting your car through it's MOT. It didn't pass I'm afraid but nothing too major, a new number plate and some new windscreen wiper arms. We had already put a new exhaust on it too. Let me know what food you want me to stock the fridge with - and see you soon! Love mum x
3rd June 2007

For Iain MacLeod
Hope the school went well and is still standing! Look forward to seeing you on Friday at some unearthly hour love Mum xx
3rd June 2007

Richard Thomas
Hello, I hope the trek phase went ok and wasn't too exhausting!! I know it is your kind of thing so I'm sure you were great!! I am looking forwards to picking you up soo much now! Tunisia was amazing. My car is a write off (the engine broke again i didn't crash dnt worry!)so i will be picking you up in yours you will be glad to know. I love you so much less than five days untill we can see one another. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
4th June 2007

How's it going???
Hi Chris, cannot believe what you are doing!!!! Very impressed when your Mum and Dad told us ALL about it!!! Sorry you missed coming to Canada, I'm sure Bella the dog would have been very pleased to meet you! Really proud of what you have done, excellent job. Lots of love Helena, Pete, Louisa, Jessica and Bella xxxx
4th June 2007

You're back Noo Noo Good
I think today is the day you all arrive back at fieldbase! God I am jealous, I take it back, this work malarky is no fun at all! I got your letter on Sat, it was so nice to hear from you! I emailled your Dan and he emailled back saying how much he misses you (awww!), I think he'll be glad when you can be in touch more often :) Dying to hear how the phases went and what wash up was like, look forward to your emails when you're out and about in Windhoek! Not much news this end, Dan and I are looking at puppies, work is boring and I want to go off and travel the world! Kind of even miss our tent (crazy I know!!). Speak soon, take care love bec xxx
4th June 2007

Hi Dan, looking forward to seeing you on fri. nicki will be at the airport with us she's so excited your coming home(so am i).Sounds like you've had an amazing time,can't wait to see the photos. How does an indian take-away sound for dinner on fri. C U FRI love u lots mum xxxxx
4th June 2007

Nicola Harney
Really good to hear your warm sunny self! Dad will be at airport Fri, Louise has exam so i'm on Hudders run, champers in fridge for your return. Polly says beep! Don't worry about camera/photos, it's the lifelong experience and friendships that count (very deep lol!) love you mucho mum x
5th June 2007

Welcome back Gemma and everyone
Hi Gems. I hope you survived the treck you must be so fit now or totally exhausted. Did you have a good birthday? must have been slightly different to the last one ! I had to organise a party here just to remind me of last year, only 50 this time though !! We are all really looking forward to seeing you on Friday, Dad and I will be at the airport to meet you, Josh wants to come too but I didn't think it would be a good enough reason for a day off school, I said you would come with me to pick him up if you are awake! Lots and lots of love Mum xx
6th June 2007

For Suzie Booze
Guess what - your birthday letter arrived today, in time for Dad's birthday tomorrow, so panic over!! He'll be thrilled to think that admist all that heat and fun, you actually remembered him, so thanks kiddo!! Absolutely can't wait to see you at the airport - I shall probably cry....xxxxxxxxxxxx

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