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!
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.
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!