Archive for the ‘Sept 2014 - Nukuloa’ Category

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Gau Team – An emotional farewell to the wonderful community of Nukuloa as our volunteers leave a lasting legacy on the shores of Gau!

Pic 1- Last Night

After a great final week relaxing, exploring, fishing, trekking, splashing, house cup finals, final church service and more…the big last night of grog and hop hop arrived, and it was with mixed feelings of sadness and excitement for our volunteer team.

The team spent the day relaxing with their families, taking pictures and enjoying moments with the kids, until the farewell service began. The team prepared and practiced speeches and the Marron 5 song ‘Daylight’ to perform together, in the new community hall, before the lali began to beat as the church service began.

Pic 2 - Final Night

The team enjoyed a number of hymns and a speech on behalf the village, including very kind words of thanks for their new community hall, and all the work the team had done within the school, the village, the island and the time and love they’ve shown to all the families and their fellow villagers.

The team then performed their lovely songs, and Sophie, Vicky, Tommy, Georgie and Libby read the speech on behalf of the team, which was amazing and beautifully received by the village. After an emotional goodbye service, the team all went for a massive fest with their families and clans, before having a rest and heading over for our traditional ‘tatau’ to the Chief.

Pic 3 - Final Night

After some rest, the team arrived in the hall ready for a massive night of grog and ‘hop hop’ until sunrise, and to wait for the boat to come and collect us from our home away from home. The team were hyped up after the sad day, and were all up dancing with the village, clapping hard for their bowls of grog and having a great last night with their families.

As 6am approached, the team gathered their bags, and loaded them onto the boat, and said their last emotional goodbyes to their families and friends in Nukuloa. The whole village and children gathered along the sea wall and in the water to wave the team off, and sung Fijian goodbye songs as we left our amazing village.

Pic 4 - Final Night

Our Nukuloa volunteer team has left a massive and lasting impression on the village, leaving behind a community hall that the villagers will enjoy for generations to come, a huge programme for the children whom they’ve coached and taught, and of course family, friends and memories that will last a lifetime. A big ‘vinaka vaka levu’ to our amazing hosts in Nukuloa, and a massive thanks to our amazing, hard-working and fun team, as without both, none of the incredible experiences that have taken place over these past 9 weeks would have been possible!

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Gau Team – Spear guns & line fishing for our volunteers, and turtles & reef sharks spotted during snorkelling fun!

Pic 1 - Fishing

In the final week in the village, the team also got to opportunity for some last minute fishing trips, some heading out into the waters with the spears, and the others taking a boat trip to different spots around the beautiful reef trying their hands at fishing with the line.

Pic 2 - Fishing

The spear fishers were taken out with some experienced Fijian boy’s, and had a successful day catching some big fish, especially Vicky who caught a massive puffer fish. The team also saw some turtles, which was an amazing experience to see these rare animals in the wild!

Pic 3 - Fishing

Our line fishers however only managed a few smaller fish, but there were enough to take back and enjoy! But team enjoyed the varied shades of blue sea in the reef, and enjoyed amazing views when they snorkelled, with some even spotting some reef sharks!

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Gau Team – Plantation visits, fruit feasts & waterfall fun during final days in Nukuloa!

Pic 1 - Trek&Rock Pool

This week the team once again split into two groups, with half visiting the jungle plantations, and the others hitting a trek to a beautiful natural rockpool!

As half the team set off for their trip to the plantations, they were guided by a village farmer. The team were treated to a spectacular view of our village and the reef, and were also shown pinepapple bushes, Yaqona plants (Kava), and all the traditional Fijian fruits and root vegatables, including some sugar cane for some energy to walk the steep hills to reach the farm.

The team were then treated to a feast of the fruits, with pineapples, pawpaw, sugar cane and oranges, which the team enjoyed a little too much!

The rockpool group took a short trek from the village, through farms, around small rivers and through a small opening between two huge rocks… to a two tier natural rockpool. The team climbed up the small waterfall into the top pool and enjoyed jumping off the rocks into the deep, cold refreshing pools, whilst also claiming some amazing pictures in the process! Great day, and a well deserved relaxing soak in the pools for our team!

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Gau Team – Huge excitement at Nukuloa Village School as youth programme reaches its climax during House Cup finals competition!

Pic 1 - House Cup Finals

At last….. the House Cup Finals had arrived. The team were excited and anxious to get started and cheer on their houses, as they had looked forward to seeing them perform their songs and speeches which they had all been working on for the last 4 weeks. Alongside this, the houses took part in a quiz, with questions based on each year groups curriculum, in which the team also competed, determined to get those important extra points for their house! Houses Yasi, Yaka, Dakua and Vesi all competed brilliantly, and the whole team were proud of their houses, whilst their performances also proved a tribute to how well the team have interacted and influenced the children at Nukuloa Village School through the youth and extra-curricular programmes.

Pic 2 - House Cup Finals

As the drums rolled the kids and volunteers all chanted and cheered for their houses as loud as they possibly could, and after much aniticipation…Dakua were crowned our winners, winning by just a single point from Vesi, Yaka and then finally Yasa.

Pic 3 - House Cup Finals

The House Cup competition is a really important part of project, and is a real chance for our team to get stuck in and work with the kids on a different level than in the classroom. Our team become part of their houses, and as the team saw, the students have allot of pride for their house, which always makes for an amazing House Cup competition. The children of Nukuloa Village School have been so happy to have a very lively, crazy and enthusiastic team of volunteers once again, and they’ve loved every minute of it!



Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Gau Team – A big ‘Birthday Bash’ in Nukuloa as volunteers Sarah & Beth, and TP Leader Solo, celebrate their special days together!

Pic 1 - Birthdays

This week we celebrated three special team members Birthdays in true Fijian style…Cake, tea and of course, grog and hop hop! The team all came together and signed Fijian flags for our birthday boy and girls , and dressed in jaba’s and Bula shirts and sulu’s for the big night! We asked volunteers Sarah and Beth to share a few of their birthday memories:

“Donning our very fashionable jaba’s and sulu’s, Beth and I were escorted by Danny to or birthday bash. On arrival we each received a snazzy birthday crown courtesy of the team, and tucked into cocoa and delicious chocolate cake and custard pie after they sang happy birthday to us. A tonne of tea and cake and a bit of a rest later, and we all joined together again for a very enjoyable night of grog and hop hop. A very enjoyable Fijian 19th birthday, I wouldn’t have wanted to celebrate it any other way!”

by Sarah O’Neil

Pic 2 - Birthdays

“I’ve been lucky enough to elebrate my 19th birthday with Think Pacific this week, and it has been a birthday I will never forget. Nukuloa Village threw a joint party for me, Sarah and Leader Solo on Tuesday, where our fabulous Fiji mums pulled out all the stops! I got to wear my Na’s beautiful chamba dress, we even got given a huge birthday cake each and a wonderfully hand woven mats with our names on them. We and the team enjoyed the mountains of cake a little too much, and needed a little rest after before the grog and hop hop started. After the cakes were digested and everyone recovered from the cake coma’s, myself and the team hopped, grogged and laughed late into the night!

As my actual birthday was the day we left the village, I had to say goodbye to all my new friends and my amazing Fijian family, and leave my new home away from home. Although it was really sad to say goodbye to our village, the team cheered me up and made my day when we arrived back to Suva… the leaders bought me a cocktail and a chocolate brownie with ice cream and the team all wore party hats. All in all, an amazing end to a brilliant project, and a happy ending to an emotional day, Vinaka vaka levu!”

by Beth Clements

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Gau Team – A proud moment & fantastic celebration for Nukuloa village and our volunteer team as Community Hall is officially opened!

Pic 1 - Hall Oprning

Today is the big day. We are finally opening the community hall. After 7 weeks of hard work, sheer determination, ups and downs, and on occasion blindly following Semi’s instruction, we have built the hall. I don’t think any of us can quit get to grips with the idea that we have done it…but we did and we are all so proud!

Pic 2 - Hall Opening

Half 4 rolled round and everyone was there (thankfully), although the rain had seemed to get persistently worse. Once the hall had been officially opened and everyone was safely inside away from the storm, we started on the speeches. Leader Danny gave a really nice one from Think Pacific, followed by one of the elders, and then the pastor read a passage from the bible and blessed the hall. One by one some of the villagers came and thanked us individually, shaking hands and sniffing us as is tradition!

Pic 3 - Hall Opening

After all the important stuff the grog started to flow. We all sat in the hall until 7pm, and then we made our way over to the old grog shed one last time as a group for dinner made by all the lovely ladies. It was amazing, especially the pork! After dinner we headed back home to change into our clothes for the meke.

Pic 4 - Hall Opening

Us girls all wore TP stash with flower headbands and bracelets, while the guys all worse grass skirts and very little else! The meke’s all seemed to go pretty smoothly, with only a couple of hiccups, but regardless everyone seemed to love it and there was a lot of clapping, shouting, noise and general carry-on!

Pic 5 - Hall Opening

Once the meke’s were done it was time for some major ‘hop hop’ and grog drinking. Everyone was having a great time and it was amazing to be using the hall that we had built. Slowly the night turned into the early hours of Saturday morning, and before we knew it, it was 8am and we were doing a conga line through the village! Very surial moment having the kids watching you dance around and knowing they have just got up and we hadn’t even gone to bed yet. I think it’s safe to say that we gave the hall the opening it desevered! A day I will always remember! 

by Vicky