Thursday, 20 August 2009

In July 2009, Darby Allen, managing director of Team Momentum Ltd, travelled to Africa to help run a unique Team building exercise.

The aim of the exercise was to take 6 teenage boys (aged 14-18) from 4 countries with widely differing cultures, religious beliefs and family circumstances to work together for 4 weeks in the challenging environment of the African Bush. The exercise was designed to foster respect for cultural, religious and social differences whilst subjecting the group to a wide range of physical and mental challenges in a foreign and potentially dangerous environment.

The exercise took place in South Africa, Zambia and Kenya and was broken down into 5 phases:

Phase 1 – South Africa - Introduction to the history of South Africa, tour of the township of Victoria, visits to a number of Orphanages and schools. Tandem Skydiving.

Phase 2 – Zambia – White water rafting and 5 day kayaking along the Zambezin River, camping out each night. Emergency First Aid course.

Phase 3 – Il N’gwesi, Kenya – introduction to the poaching trade & anti poaching operations. 2 day anti poaching exercise working with the anti poaching unit.

Phase 4 – Lewa, Kenya – 5 day hike with a camel train. Each pair of boys responsible for the welfare of 8 camels. Lion and Rhino tracking

Phase 5 – Chyulu Hills, Kenya – 5 day tracking and survival course with the Massai Warriors

Phase 6 – Masai Mara, Kenya – 4 day Safari

Prior to the trip the boys were tasked with raising money for charity by getting sponsorship for the Tandem Skydive they were to complete during the first few days of the trip. The money raised was used to buy supplies that the boys then presented to a number of Orphanages and Schools.

During the exercise the boys had to complete a number of team tasks including; navigating over 50 kms in Kayaks along the Zambezi River whilst avoiding the potential dangers posed by Hippos and Crocodiles; completing 5 days of long hikes carrying their personal equipment over rough terrain; completing a 2 day anti-poaching exercise with the local anti-poaching squad; buying, slaughtering, gutting, skinning and cooking a goat for a group of Massai Warriors and completing a simulated casualty exercise resulting in the evacuation of a casualty via stretcher over 3 kms to a helicopter pick up.

The group spent most of their time on foot deep in the African Bush with no access to any form of power supply. Within the group we had 2 satellite telephones, 9 mobile telephones, 1 laptop and a variety of cameras and camcorders. With nervous parents expecting regular updates, it was important that we were able to maintain communications.

The only source of power available for the majority of the trip was the sun, a Solar Gorilla, a Power Gorilla, a power monkey eXplorer and solar monkey solar charger. With at least 12 hours of sunshine each day, the solar gorilla and solar monkey were in constant use throughout the 4 weeks. The units spent their time attached to the top of rucksacks, perched on the roof of a tent, secured to the roof of a Land Rover or tied to a Camels back!!

The units all worked perfectly throughout the trip. Their compact size, ease of use and minimal maintenance requirements made them an indispensible part of the kit list. They are robust under the most demanding conditions and most importantly look very cool!!

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