Archive for the ‘May 2013 (Moturiki Island)’ Category

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Moturiki – Farewell to Niubasaga as our gap year volunteers depart

Gap Year Volunteering (41)

Our final week began with the team saying their very emotional goodbyes to the kids and teachers at MDS.  School is such an unforgettable and unique part of project and saying farewell is no easy task. For 8 weeks our guys have helped out in classrooms, from kindergarten right through to class 8, coached sport and continued the House Cup competition. Fijian children always bring so much energy and enthusiasm to projects; it’s what helps create a lasting impression with everyone in the team. Our last activity with MDS was performing the songs all the Houses had prepared for House Singing. It was a true underdog story for ‘Kasaqa’ House, who came through to win the overall competition. Harvey, Molly and Sarah were our Kasaqa volunteers and joined their kids in lifting the TP House Cup trophy!

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All the team and children at MDS put in so much effort for the whole 8 weeks so we can’t thank you enough. The team presented school awards to various children throughout the school who had impressed our guys in some way or another. From ‘hardest worker’ to ‘most improved in sports,’ it helped give praise to specific children. The children sang a farewell song to the team, which included the names of all our volunteers and leaders. With the team wiping the tears away, the Head Master offered his enormous thanks and gratitude to everyone who had created such an incredible experience for the children at MDS. The kids continued to sing farewell songs and performed a ‘Meke’ for the team. It was a truly humbling farewell and reflected what an impact our guys can make in just 8 weeks. It’s been amazing to see just how attached everyone got to the school and for our guys MDS will always offer them the memories of a lifetime.

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The build finished with everyone helping tidy up and making it look ready for the opening ceremony. Harvey put his artistic skills to the test by painting the team logo above the door. Inspired by Niubasgan folklore, he created an image which was very personal and symbolic for Niubasaga. This proved very popular amongst the whole village. Meanwhile, Tess and Sarah helped make the inside look extra special by painting tribal flowers on the back wall. We then handed it over to the women of the village who put up curtains, drapes and added any final touches. The opening ceremony of the hall was a very big occasion, seeing extended family members and friends coming to attend from all over Moturiki, Viti Levu (mainland) and even Australia! The magnitude of just what this project provided the community with was reflected when the village elders presented Harry, on behalf of the whole team, a ‘tabua’(whale’s tooth). This is the highest privilege in traditional Fijian society and something our guys will remember forever.

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The ceremony offered our team the chance to see just how much every villager appreciated their hard work. It was a great occasion and a special end to all our hard work on the build during project. The kind words and presentation of the tabua is something we can all be very proud of. After the extremely humbling open ceremony, we joined the village with a celebratory bowl of grog in their brand new hall. The grog continued to flow until the early hours as everyone celebrated in style. Moturiki has never failed to put on unforgettable evenings of grog and hop hop and this occasion certainly didn’t disappoint as the whole village erupted into dancing and laughter all night.

Gap Year Volunteering (1)

We awoke on Saturday for the Niubasaga Fun Day, a chance to raise some money for the village as well as having a great day with the whole community. From cake stalls to a coconut shy, the team helped create a great buzz throughout the village. The children from MDS even came along for the day, reflecting how much they have loved our guys being here. With plenty of sunshine and even more laughter, we raised $101.55. This was all down to the enthusiasm and effort of the whole team so well done to everyone!

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Sunday afternoon saw the team attend their farewell service at church. This was a chance to say a final goodbye to the whole village that has cared and loved them for over 2 months. The bonds we’ve made really do last a lifetime and we’re honoured and humbled to have a second home here in Niubasaga. It’s a truly unique and unforgettable experience and one both the team and the community can treasure forever. Wherever we go, a piece of us will always stay in Niubasaga.

p.s. From leaders Rob and Euan, a massive vinaka vaka levu to the whole team who have helped create such an incredible project. You’ll always be legends on these shores of Moturiki!

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Volunteer stories: Rhiannon and Tess look back upon their weeks on Moturiki

Tess in Fiji Volunteer Stories

Butterflies flared up in our stomachs as we waved goodbye to the beautiful castaway island (our home for the past week). We were starting to feel nervous as we skimmed across the ocean towards our new island home, however it was comforting to know we had each other as we embarked on this new adventure.

We were met by the most extraordinary welcoming party any of us had ever seen. As we waded towards the shore we were greeted with flowers, waves and big beautiful smiles. Our families with open arms and hearts, which made our nerves quickly turn to excitement for the project ahead.

Our first grog and hophop session was certainly unforgettable, as we tasted Kava for the first time and brought a little bit of home to the dance floor with our own take on Fijian dancing. After this it was safe to say we were fully fledged members of the village.

Now, as we sit here in our sixth week on project, we are able to look back and fully appreciate all aspects of our time spent here. Life in the village has given everyone a chance to reflect and grow as people.

Project life is busy as we split our time between building a community hall, teaching, coaching sports and keeping the younger children entertained in kindi. All this is immense fun. And allows us to bond as a group and become the best builders, teachers and coaches that we can be.

Adjusting to the culture and slower pace of life was a struggle at first but now its hard to imagine leaving this life. In Fiji doors are always open to visitors, love and kindness radiates from everyone and a genuine concern for other people is always there, the Fijian way of life is truly unique and it is a privilege to experience it as part of this beautiful community.

We will all come away having learnt different things about ourselves during this time, but one thing is for sure, every moment has been amazing and unforgettable.

Rhiannon and Tess

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Rugby on Moturiki Island

Rugby Fiji pic

It’s very hard to encapsulate the atmosphere of an island rugby match in Fiji. It’ll be the talking point around the villages for days before we step foot on the pitch. The atmosphere will pulsate with villagers and children from all around charming the pitch side, laughing, joking and enjoying the spectacle. For anyone that’s ever played rugby in Lomaiviti, they’ll know the feeling we’re talking about! The whistle will blow and the crowd will erupt into cheers.

Our TP girls never came up short, offering bellowing cheers and screams, a sure way to help motivate the boys. Our Niubasaga May Team have been blessed with some very talented guys who have made sure the Fijians have worked for every loose ball, for every ruck, for every scrum and for every point! Through rain and shine, we’ve marched side by side with our brothers and friends from Niubasaga and made sure Moturiki know who we are!

Rugby Fiji team

Ben joined his Fijian brother Tuvili in the second row, getting all too familiar with tackling and has given the crowd something to cheer about more than once. Josh, our team captain, led by example and put his body on the line in every play. This flanker turned a few heads in his brief Fijian career. Harvey grabbed his tries in true winger style, chasing balls and taking any opportunity he could. Meanwhile, Jacob controlled the games from 10, designing plays to break down even the most talented of defenses. Pete was our versatile back, playing 9, wing and full back and showed no fear in making the big plays.

The goosebumps continued well after the final whistle blows as both teams stand arm in arm in a huddle to say a word of thanks. Whatever happened on the pitch is forgotten as rival teams sing the incredible, ‘I know the lord.’ As this song echoes around the pitch, not one person is left feeling anything but passion for Fiji and rugby! The words are sang with such gusto and always left us feeling emotional and honoured to be playing along side these players.

From playing touch sevens during low tide in the bay of Niubasaga to putting on the Moturiki jersey and representing our village during highly competitive island matches, it’s been a pleasure!

Rob, Euan, and all the boys in Niubasaga!

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Moturiki team – Our volunters introduce a ‘health day’ workshop

After discussing through a plan for the health day with the villagers of niubasaga and the nurse on Moturiki, it was decided to create an event that focused more on emergency health (e.g. first aid) as this would be very beneficial to the villagers. So with that in mind, the team set to work on brainstorming some key areas for the villagers to work on and making posters.

We decided to kick start the event with going through ABC – airwaves, breathing and circulation. With the leaders going through demonstrations first, our team then mixed in with the Fijian villagers to help them understand the different scenarios. For example, what to do if you find someone with a sick coming out of their leg or if you find an unconscious body who is unresponsive etc. We related the scenarios to a typical fijian villager on moturiki and dangers that they might face in daily life. The event even had to be put on pause when some of the ladies of the village wanted to grab their diaries to take notes!

The event then moved on to go through choking, and broken bones as well as severe bleeding. All the time, with the leaders demonstrations and then the team working with the fijians to make sure they understood it. A baby even cried when she thought her mum was actually injured during the event. With a raffle to finish and some prizes (plasters, dettol, toothpaste, toothbrush etc). Lots of laughter as well as all the Fijians saying how much they enjoyed the event was a sure sign it was a great success. With knowledge of health care lacking so much in the other islands, this kind of workshop is something we can hopefully replicate in other villages too.

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Moturiki team – Recent adventures and village life.

fijian village life (3) fijian village life (5)

The cultural immersion continued for Jacob, Josh, Sarah and Ben who went out night spearfishing on Thursday. The guys had an incredible time and witnessing a Fijian catch a fish with his bare hands will be hard to forget! It’s not every day you get to swim around a coral reef in the Pacific Ocean on the lookout for dinner so it’s sure to be something the guys can treasure for a long time. The villagers helped our guys make some very unique and beautiful jewellery out of coconut shells. From bracelets to necklaces our team have got some amazing personal mementos to take home with them. After scraping the coconut shells they all designed their own jewellery using a saw to cut shapes and symbols into the shell.

fijian village life (1) fijian village life (4)

The week finished with another rugby game for the boys in which they triumphed 25-10. The game was fast paced and saw out guys getting fully involved. We then headed to another village for some grog and hop hop which developed into an impromptu sleepover, much to the delight of the villagers and our guys!

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Moturiki volunteers – Impressive singing and hard graft makes for great progress on the building project this week!

Building volunteer project (4)

On the building of the village community centre, our volunteer team set to work on the walling this week. With some slick sawing and some impressive hammering, our TP builders have continued the outstanding work in Niubasaga. There’s been no stopping our guys on the build who have ensured every piece of walling gets sawed and nailed to perfection! Fijian sisters Sarah and Katie helped Jody, Lucy and Jess attach walling boards to the front and back of the community centre, while Harvey and Josh continued on the sides. With singing and laughing going hand in hand with the hard work, it’s been a great past week on the build. The much anticipated community centre in Niubasaga is already becoming a talking point around Moturiki with Fijians all over the island coming down to see the progress our guys are making!