We woke up Thursday morning faced with the prospect of our final day saying goodbye to the schools! First up we went to Nalawa Central to say out emotional goodbyes. They put on a fantastic morning for us. They presented us with our garlands first, then went into speeches and a very emotional song. A great way to start to the day, and they provided nice refreshments for us too!
We then went on to Vunikavikaloa School, where they had a similar plan to Central school. I personally got given 3 garlands which is a new record! Both the team and the school made some speeches thanking each other for the efforts made over the last few weeks. I got up to say a few words where I wanted to specifically highlighte the contributions of a Class 7 boy named Seru to my House Cup team, where he was exceedingly enthusiastic in his rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody!
Finally on to Dobuilevu Muslim School, this one was highly anticipated as a rumour was going round that they were producing a Lovo lunch for us. The rumour was true and they produced a fantastic lunch which was a strong contender for the group meal of the project! Brilliant food and a brilliant effort once again from the school, and after some speeches, ‘thank yous’ and goodbyes, a dance off seemed to break out amongst the school and team. It was an amazing send off from the schools, as we really got the sense we truly made a difference to the children of the school and even the teachers.
As we made our way back to the village for the final time it started to dawn on us that it was the final night. A sense of sadness but also of pride; pride because we came as individuals but have left as a family.
The night began with our final church service. It was an opportunity for the community to say thanks. There were a few speeches, prayers and lot of singing. It was also an opportunity for the group to thank the village. Three of our team spoke on the behalf of us; Jack, Jess and Abbie. Each of us voicing our memories and thanking people on behalf of the whole group. Emotional, funny and well written, they were all great speeches. Following the speeches we sang a hymn of our own and then to close off we all got in a line and each member of the village shook our hands saying thanks and goodbye.
The night ended with a meal in the community hall, a last chance to dine Fijian style. As always the food was awesome. After this was complete, the plates went away, it was our chance to perform our ‘Meke’ for the village. Meke is a traditional Fijian dance, and we had been learning it every night over the last week. The villagers went crazy for it, and cheered us through as we finally had the chance to show them our take on a part of their culture. After this the speakers and Grog bowl came out and we danced and sang the night away with the people we now call our family.
A great night to end a marvellous trip…bed at 4:30 and up again at 6, but that’s another story!