Archive for the ‘Sept 2014 - Lekanai’ Category

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Gau 5 Week Team – Tearful goodbyes to the generous and loving families and villagers of Lekanai!

Pic 1 - Final Night

On Friday evening we celebrated our final dinner together with the villagers of Lekanai as one huge feast full of lots of amazing Fijian food. This was followed by a traditional leaving ceremony ‘Tatau’ to thank the elders, and all the villagers, for allowing us to be part of a fantastic village. Everyone spoke few words of appreciation and thanked all the Nas’, Tas’, elders, children and all of Lekanai.

Pic 2 - Last night

We all “hop hopped” all night long till sunrise, drinking grog, dancing with everyone and making the most of our final hours in Lekanai. The Fijian Na’s made us our final Fijian pancake breakfast at 5.30am. The team said their tearful goodbyes to the generous, loving Fijian families and entire village of Lekanai. Half the village got out on boats to give us a final wave off. It has been a wonderful experience!

by Lucy

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Volunteer Stories – Meke Performances; The village appreciated us learning such an important part of their culture, & hopefully it will be remembered for a long time to come! By Katrina

Pic 1 - Mekes

On our final night in Lekanai we surprised the villagers by performing a boys and girls meke. A meke is a traditional Fijian dance that is performed on special occasions. We had spent the final week being taught our respective mekes after school, by the schoolgirls and village boys. Although we were a bit slow to pick up the routines at the start, we had grasped it after a few practices!

Pic 2 - Mekes

After the build opening ceremony we went back to our houses to put on our Think Pacific stash and Fijian grass accessories (made by our Fijian Na’s). We then headed over to the shed in the centre of the village where all the villagers were eagerly awaiting our arrival! The girls meke was first and the villagers sung the accompanying song along with cheers and calls of ‘Vinaka’ as we performed. The boys meke was next, and the villagers were howling with laughter every time Ben shouted out his chant as he was louder than all the men put together!

Pic 3 - Mekes

Although our performances weren’t perfect the village definitely appreciated us taking the time to learn such an important part of the Fijian culture, and hopefully it is something they remember for a long time to come.

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Gau 5 Week Team – Official opening of new Health Clinic a very proud moment for the Lekanai community & our volunteer team!

Pic 1 - Build

To provide key infrastructure and resources for rural and maritime communities is a key aim and long term ambition of the Think Pacific Foundation, and once again the opening of the completed build project proved a special moment for the community and our volunteer team!

After 4 weeks of effort and determination, the Lekanai village Health Clinic was officially opened by the Ratu (Chief) of this wonderful village, and the village health worker shall now have a key facility for community health and wellness.


The ceremony itself included a blessing of the building from the village priest, before a bible reading was offered and speeches given, on behalf of the village our team. The ribbon was then cut and the doors swung open, as everyone took their first look inside the new building.


As our volunteers Kate, Ella and Tash explain, it was a fantastic occasion:

“The village priest cut the ribbon over the door and the villagers were eagerly awaiting their chance to have a look at the inside. They were so full of appreciation and showered us with cake and pie. It has been amazing to see the progress of the build over the 4 weeks, and we have all been so happy to have contributed to it.”

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Volunteer Stories – Youth programme reaches an epic climax at Vanuso District School with House Cup Finals and Sports competitions! By Hanna & Ashley

Pic 1 - House Cup

On Tuesday we had a great day of House Sport. The two houses, Duibano and Kaunitoni competed to win the school cup. The competition included games such as sack races, egg and spoon, wheel barrow, clothes races and a classic tug of war to finish off the day. The highlight of the event was the clothes race where the children had to run to each station and put on an item of the volunteers clothing. Tash kindly donated her knickers and the kids ran through the finish line with them on their heads!

Pic 2 - House Cup

On Wednesday the children then took part in the House Cup competition we’d organised for them. They are divided into two houses – Duibano and Karutoni – and us volunteers were split into two as well to help. During our time in Lekanai we helped the children with House Art, House Dance, House Singing House Photography and House Speaking.

Pic 3 - House Cup

For House Art the theme was decided as ‘Britain’, and the children were able to do anything they wanted within that. One house decided to create a giant tea party scene, cutting out tea cups and plates, creating paper cucumber sandwiches and a giant pink birthday cake with candles on the middle of the table. The other house had created a 2D model of Britain, sticking onto an outline of the country little models including a double decker bus, the Loch Ness Monster etc. It was great to see the children enjoying themselves cutting and sticking and going crazy with the glitter pens we’d brought with us.

Pic 4 - House Cup

House Dance involved each house learning a routine which us volunteers had choreographed. One house went for a sophisticated but simple routine, whilst the other created a dance involving lifts and free styling. The children’s Fijian dance moves were very impressive and they didn’t hold back. For House Singing one group sang ‘Mamma Mia’, and the other did ‘Build me up Buttercup’. In true Fijian style the children all sang really loudly and tunefully and it was a delight to hear them.

Pic 5 - House Cup

In House Photography we volunteers were instructed to take a photo of the children doing something special, and one house used their bodies to spell out ‘T P’, whilst the other house took a photo of all the children hanging from the branches of a large tree. House Speaking involved picking the best children from each year group to perform a speech we’d picked for them. Class 3 and 4 performed a tongue twister, 5 and 6 did a Charlie Chaplin speech, and 7 and 8 did a section from Obama’s inauguration speech. All the chosen kids were really impressive – we couldn’t believe how they memorised such long sections of English, it was great. We found an unbiased judge to come and watch the performances and view the photographs, and he gave the scores to the leaders at the end of the afternoon to announce.

Pic 6 - House Cup.

Duibano were the winners for the first time in 3 years, and it was safe to say they were ecstatic about the results. It was a wonderful day and I think the children all enjoyed themselves immensely which, as always, was the most important thing!

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Gau 5 Week Team – Volunteers enjoy trek to village plantations to enjoy stunning views and traditional lovo feast!

Lovo (6)

On a spur of the moment decision we went on a trek to the village plantation with some of the village men, and a few of the children of course. The trek was long and hot but with some amazing views, especially when we reached the shed which sat on top of the hill. We were blown away by the view of Vanuaso school, the sea and the neighbouring islands.

We were then taken to the plantation fields where a whole pig was being barbecued for our lunch. As we sat around a hut made of leaves we filled our boots with pork, mango, yam and even a little bit of ketchup! The walk back was equally as beautiful, and all were in agreement that it was a fantastic way to spend a few hours!

by Sammy

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Gau 5 Week Team – TP ‘Fun Day’ hits Lekanai, with a tombola, coconut shy, lime bobbing & more offering fundraising excitement for kids and villagers! by Hanna

Fun Day Pic 1

On Saturday we did a fundraiser for all the villagers; both the adults and the kids. We set up all the different activities around the village: a tombola, a cake stand, bracelet stand, coconut shy, lime bobbing and penalty shoot out. It was really sunny and everyone (including us volunteers) were all really excited to take part. Ashley and I organised the tombola and asked everyone in the team to donate items that they didn’t want and these ranged from small plastic cars and bubbles to items of clothing. As soon as we declared the fundraiser ‘open’ the tombola was under attack and the villagers came at us from all angles, and within minutes we’d sold all our items (an even number on their ticket was a win).

Fun Day Pic 3

Ella and Kate managed the cake stand and sold the cakes that they had made the night before (with the help of some others). These went equally quickly as the tombola items and all the village Nas’ (mothers) were all over it. The bracelets that we’d all made the night before were handled by Jen and Sammy and the coconut shy by Lucy. Nathan and Tash were running the penalty shoot out and Tash made an impressive goalie, making sure that no participant got all three shots in goal. Ben was in charge of the lime bobbing and it was hilarious to see the chief manage 10 limes in thirty seconds. It was a very successful day and when we told our families we’d raised 300 fijian dollars (100 pounds) they were blown away!