Archive for the ‘January 2014 - Vione’ Category

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Gau 10 Week Team – An emotional farewell to Vione village!


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On the last week of our stay in Vione village everything has been moving slowly as our time of departure to leave this beautiful and lovely place is drawing close. On Monday morning we had a team treasure hunt which was organized by the leaders, involving solving clues and team activities around the village. After lunch we had to get things set up for the village funday during which lemon bobbing followed by ‘flower bobbing’, coconut shys, cake stands and face painting were all in full flow. Needless to say the Vione favourite Twister made an appearance and the afternoon was rounded off with a TP vs Kids tug of war (we lost!!!). It was a fun afternoon and we raised a little bit of money for the village.

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The days events were followed by grog which kept flowing every night this week in our new village hall. On Tuesday afternoon we had house cup sports day which involved wheel barrow races, coconut darts, an old school relay and finished off with an assault course unlike any other. One of the little ones even got himself lost under the tarpaulin; a particular highlight! Wednesday saw us head to school for the last time to have the finals of the House Cup; public speaking and singing. Afterwards we presented the winning house KAKA with their very own house cup trophy, which was received with copious smiles and cheering. We then awarded some of the kids who had shown real improvement in class and sports since we arrived with a very unique TP certificate. We also presented the school with the fundraiser money ($134) to help pay the kindi teacher’s wage. With that we said our very last farewell and a massive thankyou to Vione Primary school. To all of the kids, Ana, Nunia, Mereoni and Master Joe – Vinaka Vakalevu!

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Thursday morning eventually saw us venture back out onto the reef to do some snorkeling with nemo one last time. Then in the afternoon we had a fun game of netball between TP boys and TP girls which was followed by our last rugby match where vione and TP battled it out against Lekanai. Rugby was the winner in this contest by far! Friday rolled around and somehow our last day in Vione came. We spent the day with new friends and family before the massive feast and farewell church service. Everyone was then showered with presents from their new Fijian families before indulging in our last grog and hophop party in Vione village. Everyone went out with a blast staying up to see the sunrise before jumping on the boat on Saturday morning. After one last big breakfast in Vione we were waved off with some of the village boys singing their last farewell song. It was a sad and very emotional farewell, and we would like to say a big vinaka vakalevu to all of Vione for making us such an integral part of their amazing community over the last eight weeks, we shall never forget, sota tale!

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Volunteer Stories – “The Pinnacle of our time here in Fiji”, by Joss


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The climax of the trip, the pinnacle of our time here in Fiji, the reason we have slaved away day after day powered only by tea and a diabetic dose of sugar…the opening of the hall. If only it were so simple, there were meke steps to be remembered, an astonishing amount of grog to be drunk and hop hop threatening to rhythmically beat its way through the night. We began with the formal side of things with the presentation to the TP team of a whales tooth, the greatest honour that can be presented in Fiji, accompanied by grog so strong that it left Fud wincing and thumping his clenched fist through the questionably stable floorboards of the chiefs front room.

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We left the house to witness the site of Lucy dressed in Fijian ceremonial masi doing a walk in Fiji time from the pastors house to the new hall. She was flanked by three warriors from the clan of the chiefs bodyguard carrying the traditional war clubs. The whole occasion was finished with a pair of kindergarten scissors placed on top of a pillow carried by Lucy. The opening of the hall fell to Holly and Nicky’s grandfather, a poignant gesture given that only a week earlier he had been in exceptionally poor health and had only recently regained full mobility, and as we soon learned, he had been the one to campaign week in week out that the village was in need of this hall, we had been told on arrival in the village that this project ha ad been 50 years in the waiting!

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And so the double doors of Vione’s new hall were pushed open and it was time to use the hall for its true purpose…grog. After the obligatory feast of pork, fish , dalo and noodles, the team dragged themselves into the hall. With the immanent threat of Hurrican Lucy hanging on Fiji’s shore there had been jokes all week about our own Lucy whipping a hurricane of her own on the dancefloor, and this proved to be very close to the truth. The now omnipresent men and women from Lekanai village were ready and waiting and we had barely set foot on the freshly painted steps when we were whisked or dragged (as some of the women can be very excitable when hop hop is involved) onto our feet to the rhythm of pounding grog and guitar strings. As the evening went on the atmosphere warmed up much like the hall that was now packed with bodies, leaving many in need of regular ecursions for a breath of fresh air, but nevertheless the party went on.

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I must now confess that both the heat and the constant stream of high tides (that being the term for full bowls of grog that the TP boys have been afflicted by ever since our misplaced enthusiasm at our first hop hop night) rendered me incapable of surviving past the 2 o’clock mark. Yet others showed greater tenacity as Lucy and a couple of the girls cracked the 5 o’clock barrier. There were a number of locals though who stayed on through the night and could still be found gulping down bilos at 7 30 the next morning. It was amazing to witness the whole village settle into the hall as if it had been there since its mental conception 50 years previously. I am in fact sitting in the hall as I write this while the locals drink and play cards. To think that when we go home we can stop at any moment and think that 10,000 miles away there are some Fijian lads sitting around the kava bowl, chatting smack and smoking sukis, is an amazing feeling and really for me what this trip was all about!

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Gau Team – A big last week at Vione primary school and kindergarten for our volunteer team!


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Back in school this week were some very familiar faces; Cora, Fi and Kate ended the last week flying the TP flag very high! Kate headed into class 1,2 and 3 to help their little brains with telling the time and discovering and drawing their favourite part of Fiji. As well as the normal class routine she glazed the children with a magic touch of her drama enthusiasm and took them through the drama jungle, transforming them into Timone and Pumba in a slightly Fijian rendition of the lion King’s Hakunamatata! Cora nurtured English reading skills in class 4,5 and 6 and even learnt some maths herself when aiding the children when battling against big numbers! Fi had class 7 and 8 to herself for a couple of days but didn’t let this faze her; she embraced the chance to mould the tasks to her taste and had the children imagining ‘a day in the life of your favourite rugby player’ when learning about daily routines.

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Some fresh faces in kindi saw Holly and Jake teach the littluns all about leaves; through the aid of finger paints and some jazzy colours. They jumped right in and got involved with ‘leaf painting’ (the Fijian version of potato painting!) which the kids were able to take home to show their families, with Jake even spending more time on his than the kids in order to get his picture on the wall! Yet again ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’ and various other kindi favourites were enjoyed by all after break time.

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For sports this week we decided just to have fun! By playing mass games of dodgeball and rugby-netball all of the kids were getting stuck in, with some of the smaller kids being given a taster of what it will be like when they grow up and get a little taller. As we ran, laughed and messed around the kids and our guys loved every minute of it, making the most of our last week of sports with the kids.

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So all in all, a big thankyou to the team for their enthusiastic involvement with the school and for bringing in all of their great ideas that will hopefully leave a lasting impression, and also to all of the teachers at Vione Primary School for allowing us all to be a part of the school over the last 8 weeks, vinaka vaka levu!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Volunteer Stories – ‘Goldilocks & the 3 Bears’ in first ever drama lesson at Vione primary school, by Cora


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We approached Wednesday’s drama lesson with some trepidation as we weren’t sure how much practical theatre, if any, the children had been exposed to. We needn’t have feared though as after the initial confusion and giggling at watching the three of us acting like idiots the kids threw themselves wholeheartedly into the lesson. We started with some classic drama games to warm up and allowed the kids time to realise they were being actively encouraged to be as loud and boisterous as possible. The last game was called ‘Three Bears’ and, whilst in itself a washout due to the outrageous amount of cheating going on, was a perfect segway into the lessons main theme: Goldilocks and the three bears. We hoped that by taking a story they knew well they would have more scope to explore the tale creatively and we were very happy to see that they did. Their response to the story was amazing!

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First, we asked them to create freeze frames of various images, e.g. the armchair or the three bowls. Then we set up the forest scene, each person playing a different aspect (There were about 15 frogs which seemed appropriate for the residents of Gau Island) Afterwards, they were divided into groups and each given a different section to create. We ended the session by narrating the whole story with each section being acted out and giving the kids a chance to watch what they had created in such a small space of time. The whole lesson was great fun and it was amazing seeing the kids act so creatively together!

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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Gau 10 Week Team – Huge achievement as new community hall build is completed for Vione village!


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This week saw us finish the build! So from Monday the task was painting which at points did turn into painting each other; Saki and Semi both loosing hair and beards due to paint attacks! We cracked on with finishing any odd jobs using a very Fijian scaffold of oil drums and left over wood to reach the tops of the build. The slightly more vertically gifted were key in this role! As the music played on and the paint dried the build began to look like the finished article, allowing everyone to see for the first time just exactly what we have sweated for. As Luca put on the finishing touches to our very own TP logo for all future boats to see as they come into the village, the men of the village wired up the electrics for the build so we would have lights on our opening night; and with that Vione village is complete!

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After waitin for so many generations the village finally have a community hall to use for all meetings, village groups or hosting events. SO we must say a huge thanks to the team for all their hard work, Semi for controlling the whole build, the village men for all the added muscle when we needed it and of course the ladies for making tea break everyone’s favourite time of day! So Vinaka Vaka Levu Vione!!!

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Volunteer Stories – “Space” week in Vione kindergarten, by Zee & Matt


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5,4,3,2,1, Euston we have lift off…This week Matt and I ventured into space with the kindi kids. Our journey began with the creation of 3D pop out star and moon space hats of all different colours. To get to space, our kindi astronauts needed space-ships and so began the making and colouring in of individual space-ship, which we raced against each other in a competition. Space masks were also cut and coloured so the little space-people could travel to planets far and wide. Our astronauts made the planets with paper Mache using recycled paper with lots of glue ending up on clothes and faces! We then painted these in an array of eclectic colours, which the kids have been learning the names of throughout the week and created alphabet lettering to stick on the planets, which we then made into a 3D hanging solar system display in the classroom.

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We concluded our week by creating a space map and outer space flag and playing ‘find the planet’, suiting up in our space attire and following the space map around the school complex to find each of the planets which had been hidden. We then made our way back to planet earth and had an unscheduled nap time in the kindi class where we were all ‘spaced out’!