Archive for the ‘Jan 15 - UPS’ Category

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Moturiki Team – Emotional goodbyes with friends and family as our volunteers depart their Fiji home of Uluibau village!

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Although the last few days were certainly enjoyable, they did come with the huge emotions of saying goodbye. This began on the Monday when the school put on a tea party to say thank you to the team for their efforts over the past 8 weeks. A place was laid for each member of Think Pacific, and as everyone tucked into tea and cake the school teachers and students made very genuine speeches, something that was very moving for all!

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The final day saw some big goodbyes between our volunteer team and the villagers of Uluibau. After a quick rest and time to pack bags after the opening of the Kindi, the festivities kicked in, with everyone ready to celebrate the eight weeks they had spent together. It started with a giant feast in the Community Hall. With every type of food imaginable, the team ate as much as possible to sustain energy for the rest of the night, as it was going to be a long one!

After the food had settled, it was time for the team to perform their Meke. After practicing for weeks, it was another opportunity for the team to take on the task of being a true Fijian. The Meke is a traditional dance, and the village certainly appreciated and enjoyed it as our team performed the Mekes they had prepared. With a couple performed by the girls, three from the boys and finishing with one Meke for the whole team, the hall was rocking as the villagers cheered and clapped along with our team.

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After this the Kava started flowing, the music started playing and the hop hop began. With this being the last opportunity for the team to party with the families and friends they have grown so close to it was everyone’s intention to stay as late as possible. Although some understandably had to call it a day needing a bit of sleep before the 6am meet time on Thursday, many stayed up all night, partying right up until the bags were ready to go on the boat.

With everyone united again at a communal breakfast at the Ratu’s house, it was then onto the heartbreaking moment of the final goodbyes. The whole village congregated on the beach, and there were few dry eyes as the team hugged and kissed goodbye to the people and the place they love and now call home. Thank you to all our family and friends from Uluibau, you’ve made these last few weeks so special. Sota Tale!

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Build Achievement – Extremely proud moment for our volunteer team & Uluibau community as new UPS Kindergarten is officially opened!


After 8 weeks of hard work and dedication, Wednesday proved an extremely proud moment for our volunteer team and the Uluibau community as the new Uluibau Primary School Kindergarten was offiicially opened! The day started off with a traditional ‘SevuSevu’ ceremony put on for all the guests who had come for the occasion to be accepted and welcomed to the village.

Whilst we were doing this the ladies of the village decorated up our new building, and so when we stepped out of the room where the ceremony was held, the Kindi was truly something to behold. With palm leaves over the door, and balloons and banners on the inside, it was a clear display of how appreciative the village was to our team for the hard work they had put in.

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The rope was cut by the Ratu, or Chief, of the Village, and the building was announced as open. Following this the team, the people of the village, and all the school children went inside as the building was blessed by the Preacher. The school then sang hymns and the Headmaster made a very moving speech about what this Think Pacific team had brought to the village; not only in terms of the building itself, but the attitude and team-spirit they had demonstrated.

We were then taken out onto the field outside the school for a tea party, before the school performed a traditional Meke dance for us. It was a very special day, and it was an incredible moment to see the building in all its glory!

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Moturiki Team – House Cup reaches epic climax with public speaking, singing, dance and sports finals!

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The Tuesday of the final week saw the culmination of the Think Pacific House Cup. The remaining events were Public Speaking, House Song, and House Dance, before going out onto the field for a classic Sports Day to see which house would be crowned the winners.

The Public Speaking was competed for by one person from each house in Classes 3 & 4, 5 & 6, and 7 & 8. The children were judged on their clarity, posture and pronunciation. The children did amazingly well after being coached in their English Classes over the past four weeks by the volunteers. The team had chosen a tongue twister of ‘Betty Botter’ for Class 3 & 4, a speech from the Hunger Games for 5 & 6, and the poem ‘Invictus’ for 7 & 8. It was a proud moment for everyone to see all of the children do the speeches, and although winners were crowned everyone deserved all the credit in the world.

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Following this it was onto the House Song. Each house prepared a couple of verses and a chorus of popular songs with their house, and each performed in front of everyone else to see who would come out on top. There are few sweeter things in the world than seeing a group of Fijian children sing-a-long to songs with the biggest smiles on their faces, and again it was a total success.

Dance was equally wonderful to watch, with short routines prepared and rehearsed by the team with their houses. One of many things everyone has learnt is Fijians love to dance, and this gave the children, and the volunteers, the perfect opportunity to show off their skills. With the competition exceedingly close, we then went out onto the field for the sport side of events.

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The houses competed in a sack race, three-legged race, a tug of war, and finished off with relay sprints. One of the highlights for the team has been getting them out on the sports field, and to have one final opportunity to do so and compete against each other was amazing for all involved. After a very impressive showing in the sports, dance and song, the winning house was House Hunt, captained by Aimee, Archie and Harriet H. House Cup has been enjoyable, and an activity that certainly brought the volunteers closer to the school children across the 8 week programme!

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Moturiki Team – ‘Some of our greatest memories from project’; A huge final week of activities in Uluibau for our volunteer team!

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Bula! Time is absolutely flying here in Uluibau as the TP team have just completed our last week of project. The week’s activities have been especially memorable for us all. Every morning and afternoons we’ve been having hymn practice for our leaving service in Church on Sunday. This was tricky to begin with but has progressed over the week with the team now even trying out harmonies!

What has been emphasised more this week than anything else has been the kindness and generosity of the Fijians, shown on Monday when we were invited to a meal as a whole team hosted by one of the village families. This was an extremely enjoyable evening as we dressed up formally for the family to show their appreciation towards us. Following on from this we held our last team quiz, it is something we have done every Monday, and something we have enjoyed every Monday!

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Terrific Tuesday was another cracker starting with Meke practice after sports, where we practiced the mixed Meke dance. This was great fun and we have all started to get the hang of it and are all excited to perform it for the village next week. Tuesday was a free night of kava drinking for most of the team. However, Harriet H, Clemmie and I went out with our leader Charlie and some of the village boys for a night of spear fishing under the stars. This was an amazing experience for us all as we were all quite nervous, which made actually doing it so much more. We were out for about 2 hours and caught lots of fish and I even got a lobster. Spear fishing has been something everyone would call a highlight of the trip.

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Following onto Wonderful Wednesday, the afternoon activity was collecting wood along the beach for a bonfire later that night. Getting all the bamboo together was a big team effort but stands out as one of my highlights of the week as we watched one of Fiji’s famous sunsets over the ocean. The bonfire itself was so much fun chatting, taking pictures and listening to music under the stars, a truly incredible night.

Thrilling Thursday was a rainy day which means one thing …. Touch rugby! We had a great game with some of the volunteers carrying on to play netball with the village ladies. In the evening the generosity of our new friends was demonstrated again with another invite extended to the whole team for another delicious meal. It was caught, cooked and served by two of the village boys, Asaeli and Manasa, two of the people we have grown closest to in the past two months. The feast they had prepared for us was incredible being two key spear fishermen in the village, the meal consisted largely of huge fish. We all then went to the beach, stuffed, to discuss ideas for the fun day on Saturday.

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Funky Friday was already so focused with the whole team on the build, and then going straight into another game of touch under the hot sun. The night was perhaps the most memorable for all of us. It began with another feast for us all, this time put on by the chief, with a delicious variety of food, finishing up with a nice cone of ice cream. We then all headed to the community hall for cross dressing evening! The girls got into their bula shirts, even drawing on facial hair, and the boys put on their colourful dresses which were accessorised with hair clips, jewellery and hand bags! It was a hilarious evening that we will never forget.

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Sunny Saturday was our village fun day! The team were all assigned a different stall, for example a cake stall, an assault course, lime bobbing, and throw a sponge at a TP member! The day was a success with the team raising money for the benefit of the village. In the afternoon we practiced our Meke, and then spent the night drinking many bowls of kava.

Special Sunday was another absolute highlight of the week as it was our farewell church service. The team prepared a speech which was ready by Olly, Finn and I to the congregation. We also performed our song for the village which was a special and emotional moment for us all.

Rounding the week up we would all agree that this has been one of the best yet for activities and have given us some of our greatest memories from the trip. I love Fiji!


By Hannah

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Volunteer Stories – ‘After a month in school I still do not feel even nearly ready to leave!’, by Finn

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We have just finished our last week of project and it’s been an emotional one. After a month in school I still do not feel even nearly ready to leave. Every week has been better than the last, and I am so happy that I managed to put on all the lessons that I planned. On Monday morning we had a competition to see who could recite a poem with a straight face while everyone tried to make them laugh (I lost!), so for the rest of the day I only had to look at some of the kids before I would burst out laughing. It is moments like this that have really made school meaningful for me.

On Tuesday Jess joined me in Class 8 to give an English lesson that culminated in the entire class dancing to “Hot’N’Cold” by Katy Perry. It was a way of describing the difference between synonyms and antonyms, however getting the kids up and moving is a great way to get them excited and involved with the lessons. On Friday Hugo joined me and we teamed up to teach a fencing lesson. It turned into a mini tournament that ended with a tense final between two of the kids!

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I was also not the only one in school this week, as Hannah and Harriet H taught a lesson on the wonders of the world, discussing Stone Henge, Niagra Falls and many others that finished with them building a human pyramid on the school field. Again, getting the kids outside and active is one of the best ways to teach and get the kids involved. Even now it has not really hit me that I am leaving them but, for me, school will be one of the hardest things to say goodbye to. So for the last time, goodbye children!

By Miss Finn

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Moturiki Team – Final touches applied to new Uluibau Primary School Kindergarten as team complete epic build project!

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With a blink of an eye the final week of project is finished and along with it was the completion of the new Kindi. We started off the final week by finishing off the coats of paint for the outside. As a team we absolutely smashed it and had the entire outside done by midday on the first day, finishing with a lovely cream coloured classroom.

Painting the inside was a bit trickier; having to get in all the small holes and ridges of the wood definitely took its time but strong positive mental attitude (PMA) drove us all forward as the more we painted the more like a finished piece the classroom became. The only downside to working so fast is that a lot of mess gets made with sky blue paint colouring the floor, which led to some very serious sanding to get it as clean as possible.

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The penultimate day of build consisted of this sanding, sanding and more sanding. Not fun by any means but it had to be done with help of a good music speaker and another dose of good old PMA. The last day of build arrived and every member of Think Pacific was onboard and ready to finish our building. Music, sanding, painting, jumping and singing is what brought the construction of the classroom to a close.

As we all added those final few ever so important touches, something every Think Pacific build project needs is a good logo, and this is where Harriet H stepped in to make one which is absolutely great. The logo is a simple silhouette of a palm tree in the sun but is so simple and done so well; our Building Manager has been quoted as saying it is one of the best logos ever.

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It’s amazing being able to look up at the school and seeing a completed classroom, one which looks so well done and gorgeous and be able to think that as a team we did this. The weeks on build have literally consisted of blood, sweat and tears but the pay off is completely worth it and we are all proud to offer the school what we have achieved!

By Olly