November 22nd, 2015

Volunteer Testimonial – ‘The activities that we have been doing have pushed me beyond my comfort zone & catapulted me into a king like world!’ by TP Volunteer Sam

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My days, and weeks, have been filled with exhilarating activities; the things that we have been doing have pushed me beyond my comfort zone and catapulted me into a king like world. I feel like the boss!

I remember my first day, when our team had fully settled into the village. We took a 20 person pick up truck and made our way down to the VoliVoli beach and feasted on a big pic-nic. We sang songs, chopped fire wood, grilled fish and prawns we had just caught, ceremonially sipped kava, and explored deep into Fiji’s beautiful coral reefs. The feeling of elation over-came my body as I floated inches above the vibrant coral reefs as the colorful fish darted through the labyrinth of what was the floor of the ocean. The sentence above does not do justice to my expedition into the waters, but it is a feeling unimaginable. I am loving life right now; what are you doing with your life?

Our next major expedition took us to a very hospitable village about ten minutes east of Rakiraki. We were greeted with open arms, warm smiles, a kava ceremony, and a very eager tour guide ready to take us deep into the mountains that border most of the villages on the west side of Viti Levu. About 15 minutes into the jungle, passing kava fields and spiders made up of the things only nightmares are made of, we made it to a towering waterfall that over looked natural springs and two watering pools. It was something out of a Wes Anderson movie; its aesthetic was beautiful.  Because of the the rock formation of the fall, we were able to water slide down the water fall and jump off the two gargantuan cliffs into the water holes. It’s a great feeling to open your arms and soar into a Fijian man’s arms.

rock pool ()

Quiz night is on Monday. The quizmasters were Chris, Jodie and Alice. There were questions in various topics such as film, geography, sports etc. The highlight of the quiz night was the challenge, called pass the mango. We had to pass the mango from chin to chin between team members without dropping it or using hands. The winner of the quiz was Sam, Jordan and Millie, who will write next week’s quiz.

Our team set out to Fiji during a really pivotal and special moment. Aside from the Fijian festivities that seem to stretch a full week long, our first Wednesday happened to fall on the Hindu holiday Diwali, which is the celebration of lights and the New Year. At the Waimari primary school, where most of us are teaching, the school’s administration is run by a Hindu family that live right behind the school. Since we are teachers of the school, we are also family; the whole Think Pacific crew was invited to a proper Diwali celebration at the house. When we got to the school, we were welcomed with warm smiles and bright lights…. Seriously, every thing in the house was decorated just like Christmas. We lit fireworks, drank kava, ate traditional Hindu food, laughed, chatted, and talked about what we wanted to accomplish in the new year.

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On Thursday we learned basket weaving. We had quite an audience of children by the end, all of whom were much better at it than us. The leaves we used were coconut leaves. It was much more fiddly than expected and really quite tricky. Everyone really enjoyed making them, even if ours turned out a bit rubbish. In the end we only really made about half our baskets, as the leaders had to keep coming over to fix them for us. We all finished with a complete basket eventually though, except for Sam who got too frustrated with his and so has a half finished leaf.

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It unbelievable that we had made it a full week! Teaching and coaching 65 rambunctious Fijian kids can take it out of you. Luckily we were able to escape the chaos and head out to Wailotua Village to enter one of the world’s largest caves.

Inside the largest part the cave, the roof stretched up to 90 feet. Bats blanketed the roof and their screams echoed throughout the cave. Even further into our descent, our tour guide shared Fijian folklore about the cave that matched our high ambition. After the cave, we traveled to the Dakuivuna Waterfall, blasting reggae music to most of the top 40 songs that we all hear on the radio. The falls acted as a playground for the inner adventurer in all of us and central meeting location for some of the other international travelers in the area. We were able to chat with some of the other travelers, swim, push some of our leaders into the pools, and replenish ourselves with a well deserved burger. We all cheer!

by Sam Goodman, Ra November 2015 Volunteer

November 22nd, 2015

Sports Development – Daily PE Classes & Sports Outreach Clinic in Ra Highlands!

sports pics in vatu ka cevaceva (18)

The sports development initiatives last week saw our volunteer team deliver daily PE classes at the Waimari Primary School, where they introduced ‘the beautiful game’ of football to students across all classes, and a Sports Outreach clinic at the Vatukacevaceva Primary School, situated in the highlands of Ra Province.

These programmes proved very successfull, as our volunteer Jordan mentions:

“This week we chose to coach football. It was difficult at first because we expected to only have a year group and ended up with the entire school – around 65 kids, but we adapted quickly. We taught 3 different skills – passing, dribbling and heading. 2 of us taught each skill, and we stuck to these skills all week. They were quite good at playing but they wanted to race through instead of doing it properly. By the end of the week though, they had the skills pretty well nailed.”

sports pics in vatu ka cevaceva (13)

Next week the volunteer shall continue their sports coaching at Waimari, whilst also delivering 2 further outreaches to rural primary schools in the area, as we aim to offer clinics and workshops to as many students as possible across the province, generating increased participation in physical activity, and greater knowledge and interest in a range of games and sports!

November 20th, 2015

Ra Team – Volunteers offer education assistance through Small Group Learning initiative!


Class 7 & 8

This week has been our first week in the village and at Waimari Primary School, I decided to assist classes 7 & 8 (the oldest children in the school). After speaking to the teacher, we agreed which children I should support, those who needed the most help with literacy and numeracy. I started off the week by going over common English words with the two girls I was helping. For all the words the girls didn’t know we worked on recognizing them, writing them and putting them into sentences. We then had fun making literacy crowns, writing and drawing all the words that we had learnt. They looked great. Next week we are going to practice rhyming words and do some maths games.

by Chris

Class 5 & 6

I was put into class 5+6 (ages 10-11) at the start of the week, I began by helping Mr Koro go through a comprehension workbook with the whole class, I used this to identify the children who needed the most help with their studies and took them into the library to go through some of the comprehension questions in more detail. I then developed on this the next day by giving the children word cards to read and create sentences with in teams. I also taught the children some new games to play in the classroom and found that they love to play cards and get very competitive!

by Jodie

Class 1 & 2

We have finished our first week in school; I was working with the class 1 and 2. Most of them haven’t been to kindi so numeracy and literacy was quite limited (especially their English). The week started with teaching the whole class which provided its own challenges, however as the week progressed we were able to take out the weaker kids and work with them specifically on particular areas in which they were struggling. I took out 3 girls from class 1 (ages 5 and 6) and we looked at the alphabet and addition; was tricky but feel we made a small improvement. Bribing with haribos helped a lot, they were always up for some friendly competitions! A challenging week but very successful.

by Alice

November 20th, 2015

Ra Team – Our volunteers launch House Cup competition with Arts & Crafts fun at the Waimari Primary School!

day1 house art (1)

It has been a week filled with creativity at the Waimari Primary School as our volunteers launched the House Cup programme with Arts & Crafts, choosing the theme of ‘Countries Around the World’.

Both the students and our team have had great fun cutting, sticking, pasting, and colouring, whilst also offering some education along the way, as our volunteer Sam says:

“We have a great thing going on called house cup. The kids seem to love this extracurricular activity. The point is to instill positive competition between the kids. In a broader term, we are responsible for advancing a deeper understanding of a certain topic or theme for house cup. For instance our House Art program decided to focus on ‘countries around the world’. Through our theme, our kids have explored creative ventures to represent the world.”

November 11th, 2015

Ra Team – Volunteers enjoy beach picnic and church service during first days in Vatusekiyasawa village!

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After arriving in their new home of Vatusekiyasawa village in the province of Ra on Friday evening, it was a busy first weekend for our volunteer team.

Following a visit to the Waimari Primary School on Saturday morning, the team and villagers loaded up into the truck and set off around the coast to a secluded beach spot for a picnic. There was fun for all during the afternoon, with some splash time in the sea, a few bowls of grog under the trees, and an incredible feast created by the mums.

On Sunday the team were invited to a Church service by the community members, where they were officially welcomed into the village, and with the youth and sports projects getting underway first thing Monday morning, there was a sense of nervous excitement for a big start to project life!

November 9th, 2015

Sports Outreach Scheme – Volunteers deliver Rugby, Football, Netball & Rounders for Nabasovi students!

Sports Outreach - Koro Sept 15 - Week 6 (12)

For Sports Outreach this we headed round to the other side of the island to Nabasovi village. This was our second visit to the village after our first being to watch the island games of rugby sevens and netball. With the sun beating hard when we arrived and we quickly set up our respective sports of football, rounders, rugby and netball.

Sports Outreach - Koro Sept 15 - Week 6 (73)

We kicked off as normal with a huge game of bulldog that has gone down a treat in all of our previous excursions, this game seemed to last much longer than normal as these kids had the ability to dodge our flying arms. The huge smiles were the biggest thankyou we could get, however the delicious glasses of juice provided went down a treat. What a great sports outreach to end a beautiful week on Koro!

By Tom