For the First Part Read Below!
Then after that little exercise we then broke up into 2 groups, and we went out to build a tent. It was a family tent, that they give out to people in the camps that they set up to house the thousands of displaced people. They’re quite large tents, if you sat someone on someone elses shoulders, there would still be a bit of room at the top. They’re oblong shaped, with 3 large poles down the middle. So they’re fairly large, but then when you think that a family of around 8 people would be living in there for anything up to a year, they’re not so big!!! It was a real eye opener. Then after that, we had to put up a Basher! Basically, we were given a piece of tarpaulin, or a poncho in our case, and some string, and told make a shelter…this is the kind of thing that is initially given out, until the tents can be set up and/or handed out. It will probably save your life. It’ll keep you protected from the elements, and although not palatial, if it can sustain your life for a few extra days, it’s all good right? However, our group failed miserable, because our communication was awful, and we didn’t have a strong enough leader to just give out instructions. Then we were shown actually how to do it properly by one of the little Army dudes, who had had to live in a hole in Macedonia for 2 MONTHS!!! It was him and another guy, seriously living in a hole covered with the tarpaulin for 2 whole months, while they shot aeroplanes out of the sky! Nice huh???
After this we had our communications section. We were taken away from the main building, and sat down for a talk about the different kinds of communication equipment the ERU will take with them. They have VHF Radios (AKA Walkie Talkies), Satellite Phones, and GPS handsets, so that you know where you are, and can give co-ordinates. In our teams (we were Red Dan and the other team of 4 were Red Patan) we were given a couple of tasks to do using the equipment. We had to find our way to given co-ordinates, radio in to another base called Red James, requesting co-ordinates of the epicentre, go to those co-ordinates, and then radio the other team Red Patan with a situation report. It was sooo much fun! Then the other task was to set up the Satellite phone and call ‘Geneva’ and let them know that our comms were working. And them some other stuff with walkie talkies again. While all this was going on, we were also being hounded by the ‘press’!!! we had cameras in faces, and people asking us questions, all while we were trying to get on with our tasks. It was great fun!!!!!!!
Then we broke for lunch, which was just make your own sandwiches, ham, turkey, cheese salady stuff, mayo, mustard, pickle, crisps, fruit – they fed us well!!!! Then after lunch we had a talk about what kind of things the Logistics team actually do, and what the job entails etc. and also the kind of things you have to think about when setting up a camp. Then in our groups we had to design our own relief camp, and present it to the rest of the group. Ours was by far the best – obviously!! Tee hee!!!!! Then after that we had a bit of a break for a while, in which we got to have our phones back!! Yey! so I called the parents, and then daisy and rich to let them know what kind of disaster I was having…..then I managed to wash my hair! Boy did I feel better after that! It was amazing!!! Then we had dinner, which was pasta bolognaise, and very yummy it was too! Then we had some more talks about the stuff the ERU actually do, and we looked at slides and things from Richard’s time in Indonesia after the Tsunami and then in Afghanistan after 9/11. it was pretty harrowing stuff, but really interesting to see all the amazing stuff that these guys do. Then as a final thing before bed we had to nominate 1 person from each team to give a live feed to the ‘BBC’ plugging the Aid Campaign. We chose Nicola, who got up and did really well, with her 1 minute. It was really heartfelt and would have made me want to donate some money!!!! Then as a reward for that, each team got a bottle of wine. Mmmm we were allowed to take them over to our accommodation. So loads of people came to hang out in our room, and we did this thing were instead of going around the room and saying something about yourself, you had to introduce someone else and say what you knew about them. And them if anyone else had anything to pitch in they could. It meant that we all got to know on another a lot better! It was great! It was sooo funny – the more wine people drank the more relaxed we all were, and so the more chatty people got. But because it was only a bottle per team, no one got really drunk, so there were no nasty hangovers in the morning!! It was just great fun.
Part 3 (which is the final part) is on it's way...Also, i'm hoping to get some photos up here soon too. When i get them through the post! Watch This Space!!