With the school holiday still on-going, week 3 continued with our volunteer team smashing the build and Kindi projects and sustaining there incredible start. However with our gap year volunteers now becoming more fully accustomed to the Fijian lifestyle, week 3 also brought about our pilot run of a new project element… ’Kaiviti’; a host of activities to enable the volunteers to experience traditional Fijian skills and daily activities - from fishing and farming to mat weaving and cooking lovo’s, which has wasted no time in becoming a fans favourite!
The ROOF, the ROOF, The ROOF is on fire… not literally, but with a week of blistering hot sun, the team have worked tirelessly ensuring the build finished the week sporting its shelter. A number of the guys have conquered their fear of heights, non-more so than ‘Holly man united’ who supplying her own nails from home has looked a natural builder! Nevertheless the success couldn’t have been achieved without our amazing ground force team consisting of Sophy, Van the man and Rebecca!
The ‘little bundles of joy’ from kindi were treated to some new faces this week as Harry, Alice, Elle and Chloe became involved within our ‘sphere of learning’. The new personnel didn’t waste time bringing their ideas, as the beach bungalow was turned from chaos into a calm, educational haven, with soothing background music; the 3 to 5 year olds were in a silent trance throughout the morning’s learning. After a 10 minute wait, anxiously waiting for them to demolish Tea and cakes, they returned to their normal wild and overwhelming state, this became the story for the rest of the week. Although there was one child who didn’t wait the 10 minutes to devour the baked goods….Kili just couldn’t resist!
‘Kaiviti’ meaning Fijian people is our new aspect of project, which allows the volunteers to experience the authentic day to day life of a villager. Within their families the volunteers are taken to the plantation which is the families’ main source of food and considered their pride and joy, so it didn’t help when Langer sat on a 5 year old kava plant! Here they get a chance to plant and farm the land, with each volunteer returning to the village carrying the fruits of their labour. In the afternoon the guys are taken out fishing, the girls taking on the woman’s role of line fishing and the boys expected to become men by returning with a catch from spear fishing, a skill each Fijian male should possess in order to prove they can provide for a family.
This week Holly, Libby, Seth and Harry were taken out on Wednesday with the girls catching nothing more than a cold and the boys proving they can provide by cutting fired wood in the morning and then returning with some fish later that day. On Friday it was the ‘girl’s house’ Elle, Chloe, Alice and Christina accompanied by Langer who got the chance to become true Fijians, Langer made up for his mishap in the farm by returning to the village carrying a bundle of taro, the traditional way. In the afternoon they were treated to a trip to the island that sits in front of the village, where Sala taught the girls line fishing; however Chloe faced some difficulty as she refused to touch the bait of choice, crabs. Langer hoping to show the girls how it’s done and prove he’s the provider… returned empty handed! Luckily though, Jone caught and they were treated to lunch on the beach, an amazing experience which will remain a highlight during their expedition. With each family set to be taken out during the coming weeks it looks evident already, that Kaiviti will remain a fundamental part of project life.
The week’s evening activities kicked off with the weekly routine of Tuesday night = family night, which always involves a lot of grog. After partaking in family kava sessions the volunteers then decided to go on a ‘grog crawl’ resulting in everyone congregating in ‘Big Jon’s bar’, into the early hours of the morning. The boys finishing the night naming as many Manchester United players as they could, Poborsky, Van der Gouw, Pallister and Irwin receiving a deserved mention.
Still bearing ‘grog overs’ from the previous evening’s binge, Wednesday night allowed for some chilled village interaction, as the women turned up in their numbers to add to the volunteers souvenir collection and teach the new members of the community how to make bracelets, which then turned to headbands, once Alice modeled her new stylish addition. Thursday evening the team were treated to a huge feast within the shed, in appreciation for their hard work on the build and in celebration of the first roof panel being secured. The evening then continued with a packed out kava ceremony, which imitated a local pub from back home; with a game of poker taking up the back corner, the elder men trading stories about ‘back in the day’ and the women chattering away along with the young men indulging in a deserved few scoops for their hard days graft, all proving valuable ingredients for a memorable night. Saturday allowed for the week to end on a huge high, labelled as the best day yet! After breakfast the team made the way across to the neighbouring village, Lawaki, an hour long trek along Nairai’s scenic coastline. Arriving in the village we performed the traditional ‘sevu sevu’ ceremony as they welcomed us into the community. After the ritual we then headed off on to the waterfall trek, again a beautiful half an hour trek this time through the bush, we arrived at this concealed paradise, which the team wasted no time in taking advantage of by jumping in 1 of its rock pools.
Returning to Lawaki, the locals had laid on a huge delicious feast, the volunteers again wasting no time as they conformed with the ‘kana vaka levu’ (eat plenty) chants that filled the hall. The remainder of the afternoon was spent relaxing over a few bowls of grog before a carefree walk home. The day proved a fitting end to an unforgettable week, with the team in great form leading up to the half way stage.