Archive for the ‘October 2013 Expedition’ Category

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Levuka-I-Gau – Kindergarten by Sophie

Bula! Sophie here, writing on behalf of all of us who have been in Kindi this week. It’s been another busy and exciting week for both the Kindi kids and the volunteers. Myself, Sarah, Giordi, Angus and Alex chose to take on the challenge of keeping the kindi kids engaged and enthused this week and it has been great fun…as well as a little exhausting. There are now 8 children attending Kindi which is a great improvement on just three children being present when we first started our project three weeks ago. I’m sure I can say on behalf of every volunteer that seeing more and more children attending each week has really made us realise how much of  a difference we are making here. The theme of the week us 5 were given was ‘days of the week’, which we made as fun as possible whilst still ensuring they learnt them!  At the start of the week most of the children couldn’t pronounce any of the days so it was an amazing achievement when we reached Thursday and all of them were able to not only pronounce every day but also recite the days of the week in order. We also introduced ‘what time is it Mr wolf?’ in play time and whilst 7 of the kids thought it was the best game in the world, adorable little Siti thought Giordi was the scariest wolf in the world and burst out crying. However, he was quickly comforted and smiling again in no time. On the Wednesday the Kindi teacher asked us if we could teach the children a dance which they could perform at the end of the year, which was great fun for us all! We decided to teach them the Macarena with a few added claps, spins and jumps which went down really well and was picked up incredibly fast! Seeing as it was the last week in Kindi, we ended a very inspiring and heart warming time with the children by having a pretend Christmas day on Friday (because everyone loves Christmas don’t they?) which involved Christmas songs, party hats and a Christmas tree made out of a collection of tree branches found from around the school grounds (well done Luke and Alex). The children put up their decorations they had made in arts and crafts and we all sang loudly to our favourite Christmas songs! After going through the days of the week for one last time it was time for us to say goodbye to Kindi and the wonderful children who have learnt so much there! Feeling very proud and rather emotional Sarah,Giordi, Angus, Alex and myself sang the goodbye Kindi song for the last time and waved goodbye to the class!

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

New sanitation facilities created for Levuka-I-Gau

Fiji volunteer building (6)

The building project is proudly completed in Levuka-I-Gau, with new sanitation facilities created for the community!  it’s been a tremendous achievement in a short time by our volunteers, leaders and the villagers.  Here is Zach’s take on the final week on the building project..

The final full week of build started with the fixing of the beams onto the roof and further concreting of the septic tank walls. The rain overnight mixed with the overcast mornings made conditions favourable for the roofers, safe from the sun but proved problematic for those having to bail all of the rain water out of the tank. The team’s ever improving carpentry skills was audible as well as visible around the site with wooden wall panels and roof beams being hammered in at a fast rate!

As the week progressed, the corrugated roof sheets were passed up and hammered in giving others the chance to dive into the formed cubicles and assemble the toilets. The team worked in their daily groups very well showing the right mix of initiative and willingness to ask for help that ensured each member gained the knowledge and confidence that was integral to the team spirit.

Next was the construction of the toilet doors and the daily rotation of “Team Septic”. This eentailied the duties of re-bailing the water and the patient but often frustrating process of patching up the leaks in the walls with concrete or clay whilst concreting the breeze blocks to make the wall. The team were kept level headed and reassured during these times by the good examples set by the Fijians and Expedition Leader, Lee.

As the doors were nearly complete and sanded down for the final fitting, I branched off to commence the pluming of the toilets under the guidance of Build Manager, Semi. We measured the distances for all of the pipe connection points which led to the sawing of the pipes and the assembling/glueing of the joints. We then were free to experiment with the gradient of the pipe leading to the septic tank; a too steep gradient would cause the flushed water to move too quickly for the solid wastes to travel through the pipes, while a shallower gradient would prevent the waste from moving at all. In my own time during heavy downpours at the School postponing afternoon sports, I found a Degree level book in third tier Fluid Mechancics attempting to overcome our predicament, but as I couldn’t grasp the concepts and Semi couldn’t read it, we reverted back to the practical approach all the way to completion – mega lolz!

Refreshed after a weekend including a successful beach picnic with friends and family and a church service at Nukualoa village, all of the team assembled on Monday for the priming and overcoats of paint to brighten up the site and transform the toilets into proper lavatories.

Leader, Luke guided me on further plumming as it was the turn of the sink to be fitted and the taps glued in. The rear piping ran into a seperate trench dug by members of the team after they had bailed the Septic tank for the final time, giving space for Leader, Lulu to guide the construction of the sealing concrete on top of the tank. It was a massive final push by the team and the high morale was plain to see as we added the final touches of paint to the build including stunning logos on the outside walls.

Overall I’ve had a fantastic last week on the build with my team that I can call my brothers and sisters in arms (when we’re all holding our paintbrushes) and it has been a memorable excursion to Levuka village, Gau Island.


Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Fiji beach picnic by Madeleine and Kholoud

Bula, it’s Madeleine and Kholoud here to tell you about our day out to the beach – Fijian style!

It began with a 30 minute mini trek past some loose cows which was slightly scary.. It was a fun day for all, as all the families came together on a scorching hot Saturday for a picnic by the sea. With the volleyball net set up, the Fijian women fishing out on the reef, the men starting to make the lovo and the children washing kasava and taro in the sea, some of us took to the sea and went snorkelling. Watching the lovo being made was fascinating, as they created an oven out of leaves, sticks and stones. The only downside was that the food took a long time to cook, so we were all given freshly cut sugar cane, papaya and coconuts. Yummy!

Whilst the women sat in the shade cooking the fish they had caught, some of the young men created swings out of vines and sticks, which allowed for lots of fun and entertainment for the children… and us!

One thing we forgot was cutlery, which makes it quite difficult to eat noodles, but added to the experience of the day. After a large lunch, the Fijians went for a ‘bath’ in the sea, and attempted to create a human tower for about half an hour before they finally succeeded, with the help of our leaders. One of the Fijian ladies even dived in which was great to watch. Everyone being there really made the day, a brilliant way to spend our last Saturday in the village! We were all shattered by the time it came to going home, so being able to relax for the rest of the evening was much appreciated!

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Levuka-I-Gau – A tough trek to the peak of Gau Island!

trek (11)

Saturday saw the entire the team head out of Levuka village on a trek up to the top of the mountain, it started off with a trek along the road on gau and shortly took an exit into the wilderness, crossing streams, rocks, coconut trees and getting very muddy, then after half an hour of trekking the team stopped at the top of the hill and had a relax for 5 mins. The team were very supprised when the Fijians said it was time to carry on as they thought that they were already at the top of the hill, but as they followed the finger as to where the Fijian was pointing we realised that the trek had only just begun!  Looking over the valley to a hill that was four times the height of where we were, we knew we were in for a gruelling trek, and to make things better the ground was very wet and muddy as it had been raining all night. So the team set off to the top of the mountain and after 3 hour of trekking, climbing and even crawling on hands and knees at some points the team finally reached the peak of the mountain and were rewarded by an amazing view of the island of Gau and the beautiful reef which surrounds it. The team then had lunch which was prepared by their families at the top of the mountain before having 30 minutes of chill time, taking in the magnificent views. It took another 3 hours to get back to the village and on the way down the team spent most of their time o their bums sliding rather than trekking, but arriving home exhausted the team were grateful for a nice shower and a relaxing afternoon.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Teaching in Fiji by Georgie


Hi, it’s Bambi- Georgie- here. Thought I’d write a bit about my week in school teaching the year 7s and 8s. Just me from the group in school at the moment- there are also the kindi teachers from the group though- as most people are now on the build. The teacher’s been pretty chilled on what I teach them and how I teach them, on Monday I was more of a teaching assistant but Tuesday, Wednesday and today- Thursday- I taught the year 8s by myself. There are 8 of them, and I’ve spent most of my time teaching them maths, geography – I now know all about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks- and their Charlie Chaplin speeches for next week’s competition. I will be completely honest when I say I’ve been teaching them things that I can’t remember, which caused a few problems when I was trying to teach rotational symmetry on the first day and had a complete brain freeze…It’s fair to say I was mocked for this by the group members from kindi later in the day. It was also pretty hard trying to teach them GMT, time zones and daylight saving, just because it’s quite hard to explain them to twelve year olds when they are still struggling with speaking and understanding English anyway. But despite the difficulties in trying to get them to understand me, it’s so satisfying when I quiz them later and they get it right. Still got tomorrow to go, but I’m sure it will be just as good as it has been the past few days.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Levuka -I-Gau – Bula from Kindi!

kindi (4)

Bula all,

Hey, it’s Kholoud, Vicky and Cat here we’ve just finished our first full week with the little darlings in Kindi. The children are aged 3 to 5 years old, so we got the chance to brush up on our lego and nursery rhyme singing. At the start of the week we tried to put a structure in place which consisted of circle time, where we elect a leader for the day to say morning prayers, start off any games and they receive a pretty shiny sticker. We also introduced story time, learning time and toothbrush club. At the start of the week the children struggled with even the basics, saying their name, counting to ten and naming colours. Over the course of the week we picked daily themes, such as ‘Under the Water’ ‘Rainy Days’ and on the Friday we had lots of fun dressing up as pirates – face paint moustaches included, Lee even got involved. We found ourselves overwhelmed by their progress. By the end of the week all five of the children could say ‘my name is … what is your name’ and now they do it effortlessly including the newest addition to our class Siti who is only three. Even though we had heaps of fun and really enjoyed watching the children come out of their shells, and the progression in their language skills, Kindi is by no means all about colouring in. We’re all truly shattered and amazed at the kids’ boundless energy. By the end of the week we found it very difficult to say goodbye and all shed a tear on leaving.