Archive for the ‘July 15 - Ra’ Category

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Ra July Team – ‘We have all had an incredible time in Fiji and will remember the memories of our experience of Fijian culture forever!’

Pic 1 - Last Day

Unfortunately, like all good things, our time in Namarai had to come to an end. The last two days in Namarai gave us a last chance to enjoy the village and to spend time with our new families. Thursday was family day and the plan was to spend the day at the beach with our families. To get there, some of the more adventurous families took bamboo rafts; others took the more comfortable option of a boat with an engine.

Once at the beach, there were a variety of different activities undertaken including football, rugby, snorkelling and fishing (very relaxing indeed). We then had a spot of lunch which included some freshly caught fish which was very pleasant.

Pic 2 - Last Day

Getting home was a little more difficult than we may have thought. Some took bamboo rafts, one of which broke its paddle half way back meaning they had to get out and push (well, jump in and push).They say a broken clock is right twice a day…in Fiji, a broken clock can be right all day and, true to form, the boat was an hour and a half late. Still, there are worse places to be stuck on than a beautifully sandy beach in Fiji!

In the evening, we had our official leaving ceremony, it was a day early due to the next day being the sabbath. The whole village gathered in the community hall to celebrate the occasion. There were passionate speeches from both the village elders and the think pacific leaders thanking each other for everything that had been done over the last few weeks. Then everyone sat down to have a meal together, each family preparing and contributing dishes to the overall platter.

Pic 3 - Last Day

Once the meal was finished, it was the volunteers’ time to shine. We all went to get changed into our traditional Fijian garb consisting of plant skirts, bracelets, anklets and head decorations. We then performed our meke (a traditional Fijian dance) we had been rehearsing over the past few days which went down very well. There was an unexpected ‘freestyle’ which slightly flummoxed some. However two members in particularly grabbed the opportunity with both hands, delighting the crowd with their, shall we say ‘unorthodox’ moves. We finished the evening drinking kava and dancing with the villagers.

Friday was our last day in the village so we chose to visit the waterfall nearby as we had earlier in the trip. A swim there was very refreshing after the half an hour walk up on a hot day. We returned to our village to finish packing and relax in the afternoon before our final evening spent with our families. Half the group had a big dinner together where it got very emotional when it became clear how much we and our families would miss each other. After dinner we returned for a final evening of kava drinking, and then to bed before our departure day. The other half of the group experienced a dinner cooked in a lovo oven – a traditional Fijian underground oven. The chicken gave KFC a run for their money! Their evening was also followed by kava drinking lasting until 2am.

Pic 4 - Last Day

Saturday morning was the most emotional time as our final farewells were said to our families before our bus departed Namarai for the last time. We have all had an incredible time in Fiji and will remember the memories of our experience of Fijian culture forever. Finally, a big thank you to our leaders Saki and Solo for keeping us laughing, and to Namarai village for the amazing hospitality and making our trip so memorable.

By Holly and Tom

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Ra July Team – Speeches, mekes, feasts and grog & hop hop as Nokorotubu District School farewell our volunteers!

Pic 1 - School Farewell

Our last week at school came to a close last Friday, finishing with a farewell ceremony the school had prepared for us. Not only were the school involved but mothers, fathers and village elders from the different villages came down to say their farewell and thanks. (The men, of course, were celebrating by drinking grog from the early hour of 11am!)

Still recovering from the injustices of the house cup the 10 of us were seated in a row on wooden chairs outside the school. To start off, a group of the kids presented us with beautiful wreaths to wear with attached trains made from brightly coloured flowers, leaves and wooden shavings. To follow, the Deputy Head said a moving few words of thanks to us which, I believe, brought a tear to all our eyes as it sunk in how much the school had appreciated and enjoyed having us for the past three weeks.

Our nominated speaker, Jack, then offered some words of thanks to the school. Afterwards the kids came forward with lots of handmade gifts from the families of children in the school from all the different villages. It is easily said that some of these gifts were incredible. They ranged from palm leaf woven bracelets, baskets and fans to intricate stitching on handmade mats and bags. The families had been incredibly generous!

The ceremony changed its tune from then on in and the music started! We blessed the sports equipment with a necessary cup of grog, what else?! The kids then performed the Fijian national dance, the Meke, in their individual classes. We were not expecting the Fijian dance to be so hilarious! The music was a drum rhythm played on a Fijian Lali whilst the girls sang. Dances which stood out were the class 7&8 boys and class 1 dance.

In class 7&8 the boys stood in a long line in traditional dress; bare chests, black war paint, a leaf skirt and a wooden stick over their shoulder. Part of their dance consisted of running across the audience pretending to be old women, old men and many others. We were in fits of laughter. Class 1 also had us in stitches as the little girls and boys took turns to shake themselves in pairs much to the amusement of the crowd watching. It is no wonder Fijians are such good dancers when they’re learning from such a young age!

Lastly, running on a much delayed ‘Fiji Time’ we were served a delicious feast cooked by all the mothers from all the various villages. We tucked into a delicious meal of traditional Fijian food comprising of chicken, cassava, dalo leaves and much more. Plenty of dancing and a few cups of grog were to follow finishing a very emotional and happy day.

I think I can speak for everyone in saying that we have thoroughly enjoyed our three weeks at Nakorotubu District School, and are grateful that they accepted us with open arms to their school!

By Amelia

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Ra July Team – Houses collide in arts & crafts, public speaking, singing and sports as cup competition reaches dramatic finale!

House Cup Finals (11)

During the weeks at school, we split ourselves into the four different houses of the school; red, blue, green and yellow. In the selected house we prepared for the house cup, consisting of three events: a tongue twister; a speech and a song.

The sorting hat chose the red house for Amelia, Louise and I. With boss Amelia on our side, I felt victory was within our grasp. For the tongue twister we chose little Adi, from Namarai who was from class 3. With the song “waka waka” and “The Great Dictator” by Charlie Chaplin our speech, we went about teaching red house each performance.  I found that when speaking as a mob the children were loud and abrasive; however when taken from the mob they were incredibly timid and quiet. Eventually we found two rough diamonds that were to do our speech, and Louise went about polishing them.

House Cup Finals (13)

To start with, we had to push the kids quite hard to get any results, but as judgement day drew ever closer, they started to come together, and the quality rapidly improved. The singing varied from a controlled chorus, to a screaming playground. Taking them from the classroom to outside, they started eyeing up the competition, creating a competitive spirit. Some houses (yellow) clearly had a way to go, while others (not naming any names) were being pushed hard by their overly competitive leaders.

On the day we spent the morning relaxing as Saki prepared the plan for the day. With judges and us seated, the red team was the first to start. The tongue twister was the first event. All the children did a great job. The next event was the speech. Our now polished diamonds, stepped up, spoke clearly and loudly with confidence. The other houses did well also, however I felt that red had first place secured.

House Cup Finals (14)

Lastly the song, the show that everyone had been waiting for, began. Red started with a strong performance of “waka waka”, a hard act to follow. Next up was blue, with “shake it up”, green with “baby” by Justin Bieber and finally yellow with “Don’t stop me now”. Green ambitiously left the rap in, and I was really impressed as it must’ve taken a lot of confidence to rap part of a Justin Bieber song in front of a huge crowd. Two boys wearing black sunglasses performed the rap and even with the microphone cutting off every second they did well. The leaders of green (again left unnamed) were sure they had won the song, and still are!

The results were in. Red came third in the tongue twister and won the other two events, leaving the whole house ecstatic as they had worked so hard. With the house cup over the judges announced the final results. Blue fourth; red third; green second and yellow first. Initially we were confused by the results as yellow had almost exclusively been third or fourth in the events that day, but remembering the cup was for the kids, we graciously accepted our loss.

It had been a really rewarding experience, and we could tell by the end the children all had a healthy competitive spirit and also had really enjoyed the whole day!

By Haaris

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Ra July Team – Inter-house sports competition at Nakorotubu District School; ‘We prepared a programme of matches and points system to decide who the winner would be.’

sports (1)

After finding out that the other schools wouldn’t be attending sports day at Nakorotubu District School we planned our own inter-school sports day between the four houses. We prepared a programme of matches and points system to decide who the winner would be.

Myself and Daisy ran Rugby, Harris, Lily and Amelia ran Rounders, Louise and Bobbi ran Dodge ball and Tom, Holly and Amy did Volleyball. The start of it was delayed by an entertaining march by the Kindi mums in their fancy dresses with music in the background. With the kids going crazy over the mums, the starting whistle was blown and the first matches were under way.

The afternoon soon became very hectic, trying to fit everything in. The final whistle was blown and the scores were added. The children gathered round and the results were announced, with the Blue House taking the win.

After we finished we took up the opportunity to play a few games of volleyball, with the Kindi mums putting up a sturdy challenge against the Brits and the Fijian ‘Chuckle Brothers’. To cap off a good afternoon we walked back as a team to Namarai!

By Jack

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Ra July Team – Maths quizes offer excitement to student revision at Nakorotubu District School!

school (11)

During the first week we split ourselves up among the different classes.  After seeing the younger children in class, I decided I was better suited to class 7 & 8, the oldest class, who were preparing for their upcoming exams. The day consisted mostly of revision, so I decided to throw in some quizzes to spice things up a bit. The children were slightly too enthusiastic, although having prepared the quiz myself, I couldn’t blame them!

I chose Maths as the topic, and was impressed by the range of knowledge both classes had. I prepared each lesson by teaching them how to work out the certain problems and then making questions based on these problems. Once again I was impressed with how fast the children grasped certain concepts.

By Haaris

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Ra July Team – ‘In Namarai we have been able to further immerse ourselves in the traditional Fijian village lifestyle by carving Grog bowls and weaving baskets’

bilo n basket (4)

During the evenings in Namarai we have been able to further immerse ourselves in the traditional Fijian village lifestyle by carving Grog(kava) bowls and weaving baskets. Tuesday night was our opportunity to try our hands at Grog bowl making.

We were shown how to carve dried coconuts into small smooth cup shapes called bilos using knives and broken glass. We tried our best, but after a couple of hours, and after some of the villagers took over with their masterful hands, they had completed what had taken us hours in minutes!

On Wednesday night, a couple of the fathers – Daisy, Lili and my Ta (Fijian dad) – came down and demonstrated the deceivingly complicated art of basket weaving.  The aim was to plait the leaves from a coconut tree and form a circular shape. Our Fijian fathers would then cut it down the middle to create the final kava bowl. Despite the effort that Harris and I put into one basket, Ta decided our work wasn’t quite up to scratch and took it apart to start again. Despite this the two nights were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone involved!

By Louise