Archive for the ‘April 2014 - Vutuna’ Category

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Nairai Team – An action packed and emotional final day in Vutuna village for our volunteer team!


Pic 1 - Fun Day

The final day in Vutuna village for our volunteer team was upon us, and it was a busy, action packed day! The team awoke slightly groggy from the grog party clebrations of the night before, but they were certainly ready for the day ahead, and prepared their stalls for the TP Fundraiser for the Waitoga Village School. Georgia, Becky, Madhu and Morag had a facepaint stall, with the addition of some amazing biscuits that they had made, whilst Will and James did a penalty shootout and Theo, Ciara and Reamus had the coconut shy. The villagers had a huge amount of fun on the different games and stalls, and along with the raffle, held by the expedition leaders, the team managed to raise a staggering $225 dollars for the school. A massive amount raised, a happy school and a very proud team effort!

Pic 2 - Fun Day

TP and Vutuna village then battled it out in a strongman competition, with the volunteers joining in and supporting the “contestants”. Sumo wrestling, sand bag racing and the gladiator game went down very well with the village, and all did themselves proud, but in the end, Big Reamus took the title!

Pic 3 - Fun Day

After lunch the team got into formal dress and headed across to the school for the donation of the money raised during the fundraiser, and to present a donation of sports equipment for the school. The school put on an afternoon of song performances, the Fijian Cibi, and presented the team with traditional Fijian flower necklaces as a thank you for the teaching and sports coaching assistance at the school.

Pic 4 - Fun day

The team then made their way to the Church for the farewell service with the village community. The team prepared a speech and performed a song by Newton Faulkner, called Dream Catch Me. The village themselves sang some amazing hymns, and there was a speech from the Ratu, and a speech from the Families hosting the our volunteers. It was an emotional service for all, and a poignant moment within such a busy day and crazy 4 weeks!

Pic 5 - Fun Day

It was then time for the final feast in the community hall, and after spending some time at home with their families, the team headed back to the hall for the official goodbye ceremony, the Tatau. The team danced, sang and grogged into the early hours of the morning, a great way to see out an amazing 5 week project!

As the boats arrived the families stood along the beach as the band played the farewell Isa Isa song, with all of Vutuna and our volunteer team waiting to say their final goodbyes to their family, friends and neighbors that they had gained over the past 4 weeks. It has been an incredible and memorable time in Vutuna, and an experience that our team shall never forget it! To Vutuna village, a heartfelt “vinaka vaka levu” and Sota Tale!

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Nairai Team – Grand opening of community toilet block in Vutuna village, with team performing traditional iTaukei mekes and enjoying grog party celebration!


Pic 1 - Opening

After all the hard work, sweat, and fun in the sun, the opening day of the Vutuna community toilet block arrived! The team dressed in their formal jaba dresses, sulus and bula shirts for a Church service with the community in the hall, before joining the village for the official opening ceremony.

Pic 2 - Opening

The block was opened by the Ratu of Vutuna, with Madhu dressed in the traditional Masi to present the chief with the scissors to cut the ribbon. It was a fantastic moment for all, with the culmination of all the effort and commitment across the build project. An opening speech was then delivered, and as the applause and cheers from the village echoed out, the team got into their meke dress and prepared to perform in front of the whole village.

Pic 3 - Opening

The girls performed perfectly, and received a massive applause from the village, whilst the boy’s posed in a bush and waited for their turn to impress. The boys had the Fijians in stitches as they jumped around with massive enthusiasm and lots of noise for the meke, finishing by smashing their fans together, followed by collapsing to the ground! The whole team did themselves proud with their mekes, and the villagers were certainly impressed and amused by the Kaivalagi moves!

Pic 4 - Opening

After a shower and quick change we headed back to the hall for tea and cakes with the village, after which a band and a grog bowl quickly appeared and before we knew it, it was time for a party! As always the team enbraced the grog and hop hop, as leader Frankie lead the way with Tutu Nene up and onto his feet for a hop hop, whilst Madhu danced away as she was serenaded by Te on the guitar. It was a cracking party and a wonderful end to a special day!

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Nairai Team – Youth programme culminates in house cup Sports Day at Waitoga Village School!


Pic 1 - Sports.

To cap off the last day on project the team headed across to the school for the much anticipated event of the house cup ‘Sports Day’. Being Nairai’s answer to the Olympics our volunteers planned 4 different competitions, ending with a huge relay race in which the team went head to head with the Flying Fijians of Vutuna and Waitoga school children.

On our event stations we had Theo and Morag delivering the long throw, whilst James, Adrienne, Madhu and Reamus led the Long Jump. Will and Ciara were overseeing the 100 metre races, with Becky, Georgia and our very own expedition leader Frankie attempting to control the mass relay races!

It was a great day for our team with the school children, and a fantastic way to bring to a close our time at the school, and the youth and sports initiatives. The school staff and children have proved an absolute highlight for our team, so to Waitoga Village School, a huge “vinaka vaka levu”!

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Nairai Team – An epic project finale in the Vutuna kindergarten!


Kindi Pic 1

With just 2 days left of Kindi, Morag, Adrienne and Madhu were eager to finish on a high note, planning a fun filled two days which Vutuna Kindi will never forget!

For arts and crafts the team made balloons with the kids, allowing lots of creativity when decorating them, and whilst the plan was to make “balloon faces”, it soon became a crazy art session where leaves, glitter, flowers and paper were glued to balloons, themselves and the Kindi team! Adrienne also had the children in the palm of his hand for story time, as he read some fairy tales in his authentic French accent, which the children loved!

Kindi Pic 2

Tuesday was the final day for our volunteer in Kindi; A sad day for most teams, but a crazy day for this team! As the rain poured down, Morag and Madhu took the kids outside along with Ataila, our Kindi teacher, for a massive clash of the titans water fight! Hoses, water balloons and plastic bottles were the main weapons, and the kids loved every second!

It was an epic end to a fantastic 4 weeks in the Vutuna village kindrgarten, set up by our volunteer team with the support and kindness of the community. The kids have shown real progression and a wonderful enthusiasm for each and every aspect of the kindi programme, and they will be very much missed!

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Volunteer Stories – Time in Kindi a massive highlight of Think Pacific experience! by Madhu


Pic 1 - Kindi

My time in Kindi has been a massive highlight in my experience with Think Pacific in the village of Vutuna! The children are as bright as they are mischievous, making for some very vibrant, crazy days in kindi.

Their individual personalities make every circle time, every song and every learning time unique and entertaining, I have been fortunate enough to have shared special moments with each and every one of them. My little sister Diana’s shyness slipping away with each day with myself and the team, watching her really enjoy herself, sharing her beaming smile with us all…priceless moment for me on project.

Tukai showing me his toothless smile after toothbrush time, Sossi’s cheeky wink just before he ruins a puzzle we have done twice already, Moce’s wave in our daily hello how are you song and Pate’s ablity to outrun the entire team in duck, duck, GOOSE! Mocking me as I chased him with all my efforts…. I was not a worthy competitor and Mirri and Sela’s amazing sisterly bond, made me smile everyday without fail.

Incorporating a schedule and a routine into kindi was a massive aim for us on this project, making sure that when we finish our project here in Vutuna, the village can continue to educate the young children, and prepare them for one they reach primary school. Myself and the Kindi team have kept them busy with sand castle building, learning colours, shapes and educating them on which foods are good for you and which are bad…”FRESH IS BEST”. And of course….what would Kindi be without face paint!

And not forgetting the little man, Ratu… always drifting in and out of Kindi whenever he pleases, and reappearing each time with a different piece of food. Without even trying, the Kindi children having given me a week I will never forget, and I will truly cherish every moment I shared with them….always!

Vinaka va levu, Madhu Birdy

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Nairai Team – Weekend Surprise for Volunteers; Village visit, grog party, beach picnic, lovo feast, snorkelling and sand castles!


Pic 1 - Beach

After yet another rollercoaster week in Vutuna, it was time for a surprise weekend for the team to celebrate all the efforts. With project completed on Friday afternoon the team jumped on the outboards and headed around Nairai to the village of Tovulailai for a night of grog and hop hop!

After meeting the village elders and the Ratu of the village, the team took part in the traditional welcome ceremony called the Sevusevu, before sitting down to a delicious Fijian feast, prepared by the ladies of village. With everyone more than content, and with the band going strong until the early hours of the morning, the team were on their feet throughout, only sitting down to have a bowl of grog; much to the delight of the Tovulailai men and women!

Pic 2 - Beach

After the long night and early morning of grog and hop hop, the team rested and stayed the night with families in the village, awaiting their next surprise on Saturday morning. The team were excited as they jumped onto the boats and headed out to a beautiful small island just off of Tovulailai village, arriving on the sandy island in amazement at the blue waters and beautiful view from the beach as we settled in for a big day of lovo feasts, snorkelling and beach time.

Pic 3 - Beach

After the food was all enjoyed, the team relaxed for a little while until it was time to head back to Tovulailai for the Tatau with the elders and the Ratu, before getting back onto the boats and heading back around Nairai to our home of Vutuna.