Archive for the ‘April 2014 - Vadravadra’ Category

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Gau 10 Week Team – Memorable finale to life in Vadravadra village for our volunteer team; ‘Fun Day’, traditional mekes & emotional Church service!

Pic 1 - Meke

It was a memorable final weekend for our volunteer team in Vadravadra village. On Saturday it was time for the village ‘Fun Day’, with the team offering a good old fashioned cake stall and some ‘fete’ classics such as ‘Pin the tail on the donkey’, ‘Lime bobbing’ and a penalty shoot-out. With the sun shining bright the village and kids were out in force, and the community as a whole was buzzing with activity. In the afternoon we also had the official opening of the toilets to the village families, with a small ceremony for the 10 new flushing toilets & septic tanks!

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After a quick costume change it was then time for the team to perform their traditional Mekes that the village had been teaching them over the previous days. The boys dressed as the Fiji ‘Bati’ (Warriors), and with the help of “Captain” (the elder who had been teaching us) they threw themselves into the spear dance, doing their very best to appear intimidating. Whilst the villagers may not have been scared, they loved every moment of the meke and gave our boys some cheers, before they finished with the Cibi, Fiji’s traditional war dance.The girls then took the stage with a far more civilized Meke, and with no spears in sight they all looked like pro’s who had done it for years,whilst once again the village went wild!

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Sunday saw an emotional farewell Church service, where the team had written a couple of speeches thanking the village for all the amazing things they have done for them in the past 8 weeks, and it is certainly true that whilst the team may have arrived into Vadravadra as strangers, they leave very much as family and close friends! We would like to say a huge ‘Vinaka Vaka Levu’ to the community of Vadravadra, and we look forward to returning home to the village one day soon!

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Gau 10 Week Team – The House Cup reaches its climax and volunteers say farewell to Narocake District School as students perform mekes & dances!

school farwell-housecup finals27

With the extra curricular and youth programmes being nurtured within the house cup competition, where the students and volunteers compete together in a range of activities and interests, this week saw the epic conclusiong, with the public speaking, singing and sports competitions! After one last week of practice in the afternoons it was time for all the houses to put on a show, and after some excellent efforts during the public speaking, the kids and team took the roof off with their renditions of some UK hits! After a very tight competition the Green house won the singing with “Angels”, and with it they clinched the coveted House Cup trophy by just one point!

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The House Cup Sports took place on Thursday afternoon, with the ultimate event of an assault course proving a massive hit with the team & kids alike! It was then time for a farewell feast together with the students and staff, who are such as huge part of the experience for all our volunteer teams. With lunch enjoyed the volunteers were treated to some Meke & Dance performances by the kids, before the day drew to a close with goodbyes being said, and our team heading for home one last time along Vadravadra’s beach!

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Gau 10 Week Team – A truly exceptional and unforgettable experience as volunteers participate in traditional & unique ‘Avirau’ ceremony!

Pic 1 - Fishing

During the final days in the Vadravadra village, the team were lucky enough to take part in a very traditional and unique Fijian ceremony, commemorating the late Ratu of Vadravadra. Known by the term, ‘100 nights,’ this is a celebratory day in which extended communities come together for a feast and grog. After spending 8 weeks living within this community, it was a massive privilege for the team to be a part of this ceremony. Think Pacific’s involvement reflects just how integrated our volunteers become within the village.

Pic 2 - Fishing

Before the team tucked into a feast fit for a king, and an evening of grog and dancing, we were offered a truly exceptional and unforgettable opportunity, to take part in an ‘Avirau.’ In the weeks leading up to this day, the fishing clan in the village had been hard at work preparing for this. Palm leaves wrapped around a bound branch stretched the length of the horizon, as well as fishing nets getting laced with layers of seaweed. In its very simplest description, an avirau involves using the long palm leafed branches to form a circle in the ocean, and slowly decreasing in size to lure the fish into the net.

As the tide started to go out, we put our snorkels on and set off into the crystal clear ocean just in front of Vadravadra. Holding onto the avirau, the TP volunteers, along with many Fijians, slowly began to form a giant circle in the shallows. As the circle slowly got smaller, the avirau crossed into deeper waters. It soon became clear that the avirau was going to offer a scintillating opportunity to enter the dazzling world on a Fijian coral reef. It didn’t take long before cheers and yelling came from the volunteers as turtles and rays swam past in their hoards. This coral provides a habitat for some of the most amazing underwater scenes in the world and certainly left the whole team breathless. It was also a massive success as the village looked on excitedly at the sight of the fish that had been caught.

Pic 3 - Fishing

The history that is embedded in such an activity also makes it such a special one. Only a handful of Fijians will have ever taken part in an avirau, so for our volunteers to get this chance is a real once in a lifetime opportunity, and one we shall forever remember!

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Gau 10 Week Team – A fun last week in Kindi, with plenty of bubbles, giggles and a first ever “Kindi Den”!

Kindi Pic 1

Our trio of Ruth, John and Ted made it an epic last week for the kindi crew, with the kids enjoying plenty of bubbles and giggles with the team taking them out to make their first ever “Den”, which they then decorated with stars and pictures they made in the kindi classroom beforehand! They had story time in the woods just outside their new camp, and also had time for a walk along the beach and games on the grass. There is never a dull day in Kindi, especially when setting up base camp!

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Gau 10 Week Team – Build Project Completed; All hands on deck as volunteers complete toilet and septic tank build for Vadravadra homes!

Pic 1 - Build

For our final week of project in Vadravadra the whole team opted to be on the build, as we had one final push to complete the 10 toilets and 7 septic tanks for the homes in Vadravadra village. The team hammered, nailed and painted their way to completion, with all pipes fitted, septics set and pans ready for use! A massive thanks should go out to the whole team and village community for their hard work over a huge 8 weeks on build, as throughout the digging of septic pits, mixing cement, sifting sand, setting blocks, nailing timbers and painting irons, everyone always had smiles on their faces, and the achievement is something we can all be extremely proud off!

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Gau 10 Week Team – Community Health Day; Interactive 1st Aid session for Vadravadra village on Gau Island!

Pic 1 - Health Day

Saturday saw our Vadravadra Team set up an interactive health day for the whole community. We began by rounding up all our mums, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, and even dogs to take part in the Westpac walk. This was a great chance to get the whole village together, as well as helping raise awareness for rheumatic heart disease. With the sun shining down we headed along the longest beach in Fiji, marching in union as the crystal clear ocean lapped against our feet. It was an amazing turn out with over 100 villagers participating in the walk!

Pic 2 - Health Day

After some refreshments, the Think Pacific expedition leaders led an interactive first aid session with the assistance of the village health worker. With the whole village of Vadravadra in attendance, as well as the village health worker designing a program that was most relevant to the villagers, it was a perfect chance to raise awareness for better health practices. This involved going through basic first aid techniques, such as how to deal with choking, and putting someone in the recovery position. The team then helped go through these steps with the Fijians, helping them understand the importance of basic first aid. We also went through different scenarios for injuries and examples of how clothes and other items could be used in emergencies to help bandage and aid an injured person.

Pic 3 - Health Day

The guys went the extra mile and made lots of posters illustrating the importance and value of a healthy lifestyle. Our future dentist, Liz, also went through the importance of dental hygiene with everyone at the event. With lots of laughter and giggling, it was a fun morning as well as an educational one. We finished the event with a raffle which certainly made sure everyone stuck around for the end!