Everybody was dressed in their Sunday best for the final church service in Nacavanadi. It happened to fall on Palm Sunday or ‘Children’s Day’ in Fiji so the whole church service was taken by the children in the village. This made it all the more emotional. All of the children got involved, whether it was a bible reading or singing hymns. The headmistress from the school read out a speech, saying thank you to the TP team for all their hard work in the village. Following this, seven of the volunteers gave their own thank you speech on behalf of the team, touching on the various aspects of village life and the project. As the children had grown very close to the team over the past four weeks in the village, saying thank you speeches with the children’s beaming little faces looking up at them, and the rest of the village being moved to tears, made it an emotional moment for all.
It was then time for the team to sing the hymn they had chosen for their final church service; ‘Shine Jesus Shine’, a classic they had been rehearsing all week and which was very well received by the community. The children continued taking their church service and after church, the volunteers stood in a line and were thanked individually by the church congregation. It was a very moving ceremony, and one which the volunteers and the people of Nacavanadi will never forget.
It was then time for the farewell dinner together, before the evenings grog and “hop hop” began. The team and village danced late into the night together, as one last celebration of the 4 weeks together. By sunrise the emotional good bye began, as the team loaded into the boats and set off around Gau Island, which had become a home away from home for our volunteers.
We would like to thank the community of Nacavanadi village for their kindness over the 4 week project phase of the expedition. Our volunteer team were able to immerse into kaiviti life and experience Fiji’s wonderful culture and people, and we leave with so many special memories. Vinaka vaka levu Nacavanadi….sota tale!