In the words of Ratu…‘there is a time for everything’ and during our final week and a half on Nairai we did our best to experience everything we could. Reaping the rewards of our hard work we sang, danced and cried arm in arm with the villagers.
Our project day has included a decorative touch to the build, wrapping up our time in school, celebrating the end of a successful kindi programme and the opening ceremony of the girl’s dormitory. Nathan, Chris, Will and Fabio opted to take on the challenge of kindi for the final week. The boys capped off an amazing 8 weeks for the children in style. Dedicating the last few days of the programme to party games, the week’s theme was to…‘smile’. On the last day the kids attended in traditional tapa clothing and enjoyed a huge feast in celebration of the successful kindi programme.
‘Girls on build’ returned for the completion of the dormitory. Facing a tough job they finished the painting (and sanding) with an afternoon to spare. Bryony worked tirelessly to decorate the whole of the inside with hibiscus flowers. To think that 8 weeks ago the cement was still wet, our hard work is now tangible and….. the ’Hibiscus House’ is born!!
Danni came out victorious with her logo and was granted the privileged to decorate the dormitory with her individual stamp, complimented by Fabio’s and Lizzie’s efforts. Notably Cyril the smiling TP snail!!!!
Our time in school was brought to a climax with the Think Pacific awards ceremony. The morning was taken up with the individual awards, the winners receiving certificates in various categories such as Sportsman and Sportswoman, Endeavour and TP excellence. Culminating with the pinnacle of the awards…the House cup brought silence to the hall. The efforts of every ones extra-curricular activities had boiled down to this moment…and with the scores locked between two houses before the house photography was judged that morning…it was the Stingrays (Bernadette, Johann, Bronwen) whose efforts claimed the spoils and crowned them House cup winners!
Included in our evening activities, we brought bonfire night to Lawaki and with a touch of nostalgia we sat around the fire as we did back on Leluvia. Putting a new spin on the play on our words activities Fiona introduced a golden hour with her ‘song association’ game.
The opening ceremony was a day we had all been looking forward to for quite some time. Building our excitement with evening Meke practises it was the day rich with Fijian culture we all wished for. The Ratu began the proceedings with his touching speech, thanking the team for what they have contributed not just in terms of the girl’s dormitory but also the impact they have had on the community.
After a prayer and the cutting of the ribbon there was a traditional kava ceremony followed by a sea of tea and cakes. Taking time to digest and relax it was all back into the dormitory for the performances. In what was a packed out room, shoulder to shoulder, the school children performed their house singing to the parents. With an eagerly anticipated meke performance up next we headed off to change into our traditional warrior attire. Returning to the dorm with spectators having to watch through windows the atmosphere was electric. The girls opened the performance and the boys finished a sensational day celebration of our achievements.
Saturday’s event was exactly what is said on the tin. Kicking off with Danni, Bron and Bernadette’s oiled up tarpaulin the slip ‘n’ slide set the tone. Over at the stalls Fiona and Ally sold their cakes alongside Johan’s 10 minute mosh pit. Safe to say his tombola of prizes donated by the team stole the show! Either side of the stalls, Becci and Lizzy donated themselves to ‘soak the volunteer’ while Chris and Will proudly worked their coconut shy and Nathan and Fabs ended the Fun Day school fundraiser with an old school game of doubles football.
Farewell grog parties brought our time to a fitting end. Spending the night in Tovulailai on the Monday allowed the team to return to where it all started, having dinner with their families and then heading to the famous shed for grog and hophop. After breakfast, the team and the villagers of Tovulailai headed over to Lawaki for the final day! After enjoying our final feast, the team were given time to rest before making their way back to the hall for the farewell all night grog and hophop session. Finishing the party at day break the team ate breakfast with their families and bid their emotional goodbyes!
Winding down in the hammocks of the Beachouse we are enjoying one another’s village stories and reflecting on the things we have learnt from two amazing communities.
Vinaka vaka levu Tov and La’wacky
It’s been a ball!
Ps. Nnnnnnn tea!