July 4th, 2015

Ra Caves & Waterfall Excursion; ‘It was one of the most amazing and epic places I have ever been to!’

Ra May - Caves & Waterfall (7)

With Think Pacific’s Youth  & Sports projects being launched in the province of Ra in 2015, there are opportunities for our volunteers to explore the stunning natural elements of this rural and remote area, offering incredible highlights to their experiences of traditional Fijian life, and during their final days our Ra May team were treated to a cave and waterfall excursion like no other! We asked Ed to share his thoughts on this epic day with us:

“Sine it was a bank holiday on Friday, the team took a long drive out of the interior to travel to one of the best locations I have ever been to. The Nubumakita Kindi teacher guided us to the cave followed by a waterfall. The cave was chilly, bigger and darker the further we went in. We learned all about how Fijian Warriors would hide in the cave, waiting for their enemy before capturing, killing them, and then eating them! Eventually the cave opened up into a massive cavern! It was filled with bats and even though you couldn’t see them, you could very clearly hear them. It was one of the most amazing and epic places I have ever been to, think Lord of the Rings type caves!

Ra May - Caves & Waterfall (1)

After this amazing experience we thought it couldn’t be topped. It wasn’t until we arrived at probably the most idyllic waterfall you could imagine that I realised I was wrong. It was like something out of a Hollywood movie with two waterfalls on top of each other leading to one large pool. It also came complete with tonnes of jumping points. We all went off the highest rock too! It was a very long day, and probably one of the best ones I have had on project. I will miss Fiji!”

July 3rd, 2015

Ra May Team – Face paints, cake stalls, beat the goalie, coconut shy & more during Sowanivo village ‘Fun Day’!

Ra May - Fun Day (12)

Saturday was our team fundraiser we decided to put on a village fair on the green. We decided on the stalls to run and organised everything the night before. We had to be creative to make our stalls, for example we used bamboo to make the football posts, and all donated unwanted clothes for the tombola. We had stalls such as face painting, eye brow threading, cake stall, tombola, bracelets, coconut shy and beat the goalie.

It was lovely to see the whole village come together and the weather was lovely which made for a beautiful day. Everybody had great fun and we raised $110. We have decided to donate the money to both the Kindis we were based at. It will be beneficial for them as they can buy new resources. Overall it was a fantastic day and a great success for the team!

By Jenny

July 2nd, 2015

Leeds Beckett Team – ‘Animals’ & ‘My Family’ themes in the Nausori Village & Nalawa Central ECE Centres!

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Nausori Village ECE – by Jody, Tom & Ryan

The theme we chose for Kindi was ‘Animals’. For our learning time we prepared pictures of animals such as lions, snakes, pigs and monkeys, etc. When we presented the cards to the children we got them to repeat the name of the animal and taught them a sound/action that belonged to that animal. The children really enjoyed making the sounds of the animals, particularly lion and tiger sounds! They picked this up fairly quickly and got better at identifying the animals in English as the week progressed. Towards the end of the week we introduced, ‘My favourite animal is…….’ into our circle time and in learning time we spoke about where each animal lived in order to keep the children engaged in the theme.

Arts and Crafts were something that the children enjoyed the most. Throughout the week we made animals masks, handprint butterflies and lions, and we painted the children’s faces like tigers. We also did an Animal Treasure Hunt which was chaotic but a lot of fun. To reinforce good behaviour, stickers were handed out for those who behaved in song time, circle time, story time, learning time, and best in tooth brush time. It was good to see this intrigued the children and got them behaving more than they had been. With painted Tiger faces all roaring it was truly a vision to behold when we said goodbye on Friday!

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Nalawa Central Kindi – by Liv, Chris, Erinn & Immogen

The theme for Central Kindi this week was ‘My Family’. We initially introduced key words related to family such as ‘Mother’, ‘Father’, ‘Brother’ and ‘Sister’. We used visual representations and sang songs to reinforce these words as the children’s English is very basic. As the week progressed we added more words to their vocabulary with ‘Auntie’, ‘Uncle’ and ‘Cousin’, as well as talking about Grandparents.

We first told them what the word was in Fijian then in English to ensure the language barrier wouldn’t be too much of an issue. We used Arts and Crafts to further reinforce this key vocab throughout the week, with each child making a chain family to represent their own. Then we took them on a nature walk where we spoke about our families, wildlife and their families, and any family we saw walk past.

The children grew in confidence throughout the week both in their application of vocab and general ability in their use of English. In ‘Circle Time’, a time where we get the children to say something in very basic English, they went from being prompted to say their name on Monday to answering questions like ‘What’s your favourite colour?’ on Friday on their own. That is something you can truly call success!

July 1st, 2015

Exeter University Team – Beach Picnic Adventure; ‘For many of us this was our first time ever that we had the opportunity catch our own fish, a very exciting prospect!’

Exeter Uni - Week 2 - Beach Day (5)

Saturday was beach day; the first group outing of the project so far. After a short ride through the Mangroves close to the village, we were out in the open ocean only 10 minutes from our destination, the stunning first beach. This was the perfect opportunity to sit back and relax after a hectic first week and enjoy Fiji’s amazing sea and sun! Jon, Ronan and Annily, accompanied by leader Lee, even braved the deep blue ocean and snorkelled out to the reef drop off. The sea life increasingly improved the closer we got to the reef’s drop off point.

Then to the main part of the day – the fishing! For many of us this was our first time ever that we had the opportunity catch our own fish, a very exciting prospect! The fishing lines were fashioned out of Fiji water bottles, a line and a hook. Although basic, between two boats and a few very skilled Fijians, we managed to catch around 30 fish, which we would then devour for lunch. Ronan and two local divers went spear fishing, catching two octopus and 3 sea cucumbers. After a successful haul and some definite sunburn we docked at beach number two.

Exeter Uni - Week 2 - Beach Day (21)

On arrival, the Fijians kindly got two fires going, one for ‘warmth’ and one for cooking. We began to prepare the fish by scaling and gutting them which was completed by the Fijians and Jon and Annily. To cook the fish we essentially spit roasted them with a long metal rod and ate them fresh with lemon, chilli and cassava. During the feast, Annily found a ‘wild’ coconut and prepared by removing the outer husk revealing the fresh coconut milk and flesh – an ideal dessert.

By this time, the sun was beginning to set and the tide was coming in. A few rounds of the team favourite, Mafia, and a lethal game of catch in the sea, leaving several of the team soaked, rounded off the day before we set off home. The moon and the stars were spectacular as we returned to the boats and headed home in the darkness, with smiles and full bellies as one of the most enjoyable days of the project so far had come to an end!

by Jon & Annily

June 30th, 2015

Ra May Team – An emotional farewell to Nasau Primary School for our volunteer team!

Ra May - Leaving Assembly (1)

On Thursday we headed to Nasau School for the last time. We were seated in front of the whole school for a leaving assembly. At the start we received flower garland made by the boarding students before the headmaster welcomed and thanked us for our work. The tears then started once the year 2 teacher started thanking us for everything over the 4 weeks.

Benji then said a word of thanks before Holly handed over the sports donation which consisted of various balls, cones, cricket set, volleyballs etc. To stop us from crying years 2, 5 & 6 performed a Meke whilst year 8 performed a play. The assembly was rounded off with the whole school singing the farewell song to us which was definitely the cause of more tears. Before leaving we enjoyed refreshment with the teachers and quick photo shoots with the children. All in all it was a great way to say goodbye and a fitting end to our time in the school.

By Charlotte L

June 30th, 2015

Ra May Team – The House Cup Finals reach epic climax; ‘It was a highlight of the trip and the kids loved every minute of it!’

Ra May - House Cup Finals (4)

Wednesday was our House Cup Final, which was such an exciting day, After lunch we split into our 4 house teams and each performed out team song and team dance, with some examples as ‘Thriller’ and ‘Cotton Eye Joe’. We then presented our artwork to each other and the teachers who were judging.

We then moved on to the Sports Day competition which every child in school participated in. Games included an egg & spoon race, obstacle course, welly throw and relay races. We then announced the winner and our house, Blue House, won, although it was a close competition! It was a highlight of the trip and the kids loved every minute of it!

By Jenny & Jasmine