Since we started our operations in Borneo we have gradually developed our infrastructure and camp. However in preparation for a busy team season over the next 2 months we took the decision to open a brand new camp. We always new our existing camps were limited in their capacity both for housing the teams but also in effective and worthwhile project work. And so we started our search for a new location – this is never an easy thing to get right having to balance the logistical needs of being reachable and not so far off the beaten track yet far enough away to feel remote and special. A selection of worthwhile projects is key, and not just superficial work which any community might like us to do. But the key is finding a community that want a camp but for all the right reasons – I always worry about the impact of putting a camp in a rural location, exposing them to hundreds of “funny orang puteh” – thats foreigners to you and me. We are weird – we lie out in the sun and get burnt to a crisp, we cant eat chillis and seem to have very delicate tummies, we walk around everywhere in great big boots and carry with us water bottles clanking off our belts – but most weird of all we volunteer and pay money to come and work on arduous projects for nothing in return – all very strange in the eyes of the local community. Anyway today is the day we open the doors to our brand new camp (Camp Bongkud) and welcome our first arrivals – Carshalton Boys School, fresh from the jungles of Batu Puteh have arrived. Its been a mad few months to get the camp established and built – just a few months ago it was just an overgrown patch of land. We have been speaking with the community for a while now, establishing contracts and rent and working on projects and staffing, but it is only the past 2 months it has come together to give us the amazing camp. And we have really hit the jackpot – sure its a great location, in the shadow of Mt Kinabalu and its park, surrounded by rolling hills spreading into Sabah Tea plantations through which we can trek straight out of the camp gates, and with some really great and needy projects to get stuck into – providing water for the 20% of the community who currently dont have it, helping re-build a community centre which doubles as a pre-school and communal focus, establishing a tree nursery, encouraging traditional dancing and music to once again flourish in the village and be passed on to the youth. But thats not it – Bongkud will be an awesome camp for us because of the community itself – never have I been in such a well organised community who are genuinely willing to graft together with us to complete the task at hand – they have come together to give their time and energy to help us get established. And so today is a great day for us here in Borneo and Camps – however the day belongs to the community of Bongkud – I look forward to many years of working with you, sharing some great highs and no doubts some lows too, but all within the bosom of the Bongkud family. Thank you. PS – Have been hanging on to post a picture of the first team in the camp but technology has been beaten by the elements – its raining there now and the connection is intermittent at the best of times – I will post one as soon as I get it – sorry!!