April 21st, 2014

Gau 5 Week Team – Face painting, apple bobbing, cake stalls, raffle prizes and more..it’s the Nacavanadi Fun Day!


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As the climax to our teams time in the village when on project we arrange and host a community “Fun Day”, with the aim of providing some great games and activities for the youths, having lots of fun together and raising some much needed funds for the local primary school and kindergarten. On Saturday our March 2014 team laid on a fantastic day for Nacavanadi village!

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The stalls run by the team included face and nail painting, “bat the rat”, cake stalls, a tabola, lucky dip, apple bobbing and “beat the goalie”, and with pink nails on display, decorated faces, wet heads and lots of raffle tickets and satisfied apetites, it was a roaring success.

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Behind every Fun Day there is a very good cause, and this inspired the team and community for the event. As Kate says:

“I could not have asked for a better day or weather. It was filled with lots of laughter and smiles. But to top it off, we raised $212 to go towards resources for the school and kindi!”

April 20th, 2014

Youth & Sports Development – Think Pacific development officers conduct PE workshop for school teachers of Rewa Province


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Acting on a request from the Rewa District Primary School’s committee, our youth and sports officers headed into the interior of mainland Viti Levu on an outreach mission. One teacher from each school in the region was represented at Burebasaga District Primary Schol. The aim of the workshops being to provide coach education to school sports representatives, introducing structured sports session into the extra curricular activities of the Fijian school day.

To see a game of Volleyball, Rugby or Netball at the end of a school day in Fiji is a near on certainty, yet with such a passion for sports it is remarkable that Physical Education is largely absent from the national curriculum. Thus, the opportunity to provide new knowledge & resources to a group of educators was hugely welcomed by our staff.

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The workshop began in the classroom, breaking down the key components of a child centred sports coaching session. The importance of working through a process of 1) planning, 2) conducting and 3) evaluating was introduced. Followed by the discussion of the elements of each component:

1) Planning = what is your objective? = what skills do you wish to teach? = what are your coaching points? = Create a lesson plan!

2) Conducting = Out on the field!

3) Evaluating = Child’s reflection = Answer questions to show an understanding of what they have learnt.

Following the discussion of how to structure and create a progressive sports session, the group was given a step by step presentation of a completed lesson plan that they would be the participants of, giving a clearer insight with examples of time frames, cross curricular opportunities and differing pedagogues.

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With theory still fresh in the teachers’ mind, it was straight onto the field for them to be the participants in a ball familiarisation session within Rugby, delivered by our youth and sports development officers. With the focus being on delivery each aspect of the session was followed a period of question and answer.

A break to cool down and enjoy refreshments prepared the group for the second half of the workshop, during which the teachers would present a knowledge and understanding of what they had learnt.

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In the same format as previously taught, it was back into the classroom where the teachers broke into groups; the task being to devise one element of a lesson objective that was up on the board, which they would then deliver out on the field. The objective was to introduce the ’side step’ within a Rugby session. Group one was given the warm up and created relevant pulse raisers and a fun game; group two was given the skill element and created a walking drill which progressed into a sprint and; group three implemented a modified game of rugby/netball to achieve their aim practicing the learned skill in a game situation. Again, following each element there was a period of feedback and question and answer.

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The day concluded with an inspiring speech from the head teacher of Rewa District Primary, who highlighted that the education delivered shall indefinitely filter its way across the teachers and pupils of the whole province of Rewa. Holding youth and sports development at the core of our aims, we are thrilled to have had the opportunity to deliver the programme and shall certainly be delivering similar events in the future in rural and remote settings under the continued guidance of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth & Sports and National Sports Commission.

April 19th, 2014

Gau 5 Week Team – Huge achievement as volunteer team and Nacavanadi village celebrate the grand opening of the new community toilet block!


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The final week on build for our team was spent completing the painting of the new sanitation block, with the volunteers working in small groups to finish the walls and roof on Monday and Tuesday, before moving inside to the cublicles on Wednesday and Thursday. As always the painting proved a messy time, but there were smiles on faces and the effort and commitment was fantastic as everyone took such pride in adding the finishing touches to the build. The team logo, designed by the volunteers themselves, was also added to the side of the toilet block, a small memory for the village of the weeks spent together and the fantastic facility now standing proud in the village.

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It was then time for the grand opening of the block on Friday; a chance to celebrate side by side with the Nacavanadi community. As Natasha describes:

“We all gathered on the Friday evening in our formal dresses and flower garlands for the opening of the build. Everyone looked stunning. The whole village came to see the final outcome which had been dressed up in pretty cloth and ribbon. The Chief of the village thanked the team before the priest said a prayer. We then all shook hands with the villagers and I felt myself welling up with emotion. Their gratitude was overwhelming!”

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Think Pacific’s community development projects are overseen by the Fiji Ministry of Health, and are based upon the action plans devised by each village through community based training by the National Centre for Health Promotion. Clean sanitation is a fundamental aim of the “Towards a Healthy Fiji” initiative, and we are very proud of our volunteer team for their lasting legacy within this programme in the small village of Nacavanadi!

April 18th, 2014

Gau 5 Week Team – Grass roots development in sports coaching as volunteers introduce cricket and dance to Nacavanadi children


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For the last week of sports coaching workshops on project we wanted to make one big final impression, introducing 3 different sports for the kids to sink their teeth into! Izzie, Kate, Emma and Rebecca took dance classes, Claire, Sophie, Tash, Freya and Ellie took cricket and Craig, Elsa, Katie, and Hettie took hockey. Two of the chosen sports being taught to the kids had never been seen before at Nacavanadi school, which added an extra edge to the teams, and students, already impressive sports arsenal!

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Trying to explain the rules of the glorious English game of cricket was a challenge, as the kids only knew how to hold a rounders bat, but the team got there in the end and the students loved cricket! Dancing along to modern pop music, the new style of street dance being demonstrated went down an absolute storm with the kids, who were then seen dancing around the village after class has finished practicing their moves! The weeks hockey classes were the second round of lessons provided for the students, allowing the team to go into finer details about ball control, passing, dribbling and shooting. It was a joy for the volunteers to watch the kids progress from the first time they’d played the sport the week previously, and you could clearly see an improvement which is exactly what we aim to achieve.

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Sports coaching and PE development is a key aim of the projects, and the children, teachers and Think Pacific volunteers totally embraced the sports sessions in the afternooons! Through the sports you could see the bond that blossomed between the team and school kids, as everyone came together for daily sports classes, something which the children clearly appreciated through the effort levels and commitment shown!

April 18th, 2014

Gau Team – Epic finale to youth programme as Nacavanadi school students compete for House Cup trophy!


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The “House Cup” programme at Nacavanadi District School has been a huge success! For this past three weeks the team have been introducing new initatives for the students, and on Monday afternoon the school staff and village community gathered for the epic finale… the house cup speeches, dancing and singing competitions!

The Public Speaking was brilliant, with the kids doing fantastically well to remember their passages, chosen by the team as The Owl and the Pussy Cat, Love Actually (Prime Minister’s speech) and a section from Suffragettes. They were able to convey meaning and sentiment to the crowd that had gathered, and showed real progress from the help and guidance that the volunteers had provided. After great efforts from the students in each house, it was BSP who claimed the public speaking points!

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It was then time for the House Cup singing and dancing, and with Westpac House winning the photography, and BSP winning the arts and public speaking, it was already a very close contest! The two songs chosen by the voluneers for their houses were Don’t Stop Believeing for BSP House, and What Makes You Beautiful for Westpac House, and with a natural ability to sing and a new found passion for dance through the house cup programme, the kids certainly did themselves, and the volunteer team, very proud. After some close judging it was Westpac who took the points for the singing and dancing, which meant that as the houses moved to the sports competition there was just one point separating them!

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The house sports competition included a wheel barrow race, an obstacle course and a “changing clothes” relay. A highlight for all was the clothes race, with the cones in a straight line and a different item of clothing on each one. The kids had to put on each item of clothing whilst running to the next cone, and by the end of the course they were fully dressed in the volunteers clothing, tripping over themselves as they finished, which was greeted with cheers and laughter from the crowd!

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The Nacavanadi school students and volunteers had all worked so hard with the aim of winning the house cup, and after the sports round the two houses could not be separated, with each sitting on 4 points. And so, after 3 weeks of youth and extra-curricular activities and competition, it came down to a 6 person sack race…an epic battle was about to unflod! The teams of 6 set off in a relay, and as they entered the home straight BSP made their move, dashing out in front and crossing the line to claim the coveted prize of the Think Pacific House Cup trophy! We would like to thank the staff and students of Nacavanadi District School for embracing the concept of the House Cup initiative, and for making the youth programme such a success!

April 17th, 2014

Gau 5 Week Team – Volunteers embrace incredible traditional fishing experience with Nacavanadi village ladies!


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Living within a Fijian village allows the team to fully embrace aspects of the local culture, and four days after a proposal for marriage traditionally there is a huge celebration. So, with Craig’s Fijian brother proposing to his girlfriend, from the island of Koro, project was cancelled for the afternoon as Nacavanadi prepared for the celebration.

The men prepared a lovo feast for the entire village, including cooking a whole pig in the underground earth oven, as well as the local crops and dishes. The ladies of the village were then taking the bride out fishing, using traditional methods, so the Think Pacific girls were lucky enough to be invited along…what an experience!

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Twenty five of the ladies and volunteers waded out into the sea with their sulus’ on. The Fijian women led the team in a large circle, whilst holding the net out behind them. The entire circle then splashed and clapped the water whilst shouting and moving towards the net, with the hope of driving the fish into the net. For the volunteers to experience the traditional fishing methods of the island communities is always an absolute highlight, and the team and Nacavanadi ladies were able to secure a great catch of fish together.

As Izzie says, “When we returned to the shore, the village men seemed impressed by our eleven fish. I had such an amazing afternoon spent with the ladies, experiencing true Fijian culture at its best. Something I will never forget!”