Archive for the ‘July 15 - Universities’ Category

Friday, August 21st, 2015

July University Team – An emotional farewell to the incredible community of Nabalabala; ‘It was truly amazing how close we all became with each other and our families and they will stay in our hearts forever!’


July Uni - Week 3 - Final Days (4)

The last day in the village was always going to be full of emotion and this was never truer than in Church when we said our farewell speeches and sang our leaving song to the whole community. The song was “Jealous of the Angels”, and with Emma playing the guitar it was a really moving but special moment for us all.

Our mood was lifted however by having lunch in the village hall with all of our families there with us. It was an amazing spread of food and yet another display of the generosity of the Fijians we now call family.

The afternoon was very relaxed with a mixture of sleeping and packing before we all headed to the hall for one last big grog and ‘hop hop’ session. The evening went on until six o’clock the next morning and although only a few of us went the whole night it was the perfect way to spend our last evening in the village for everyone. It was truly amazing how close we all became with each other and our families and they will stay in our hearts forever!

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

July University Team – House Cup Finals Day; ‘It was the perfect way to round of an incredible three weeks in the school!’


July Uni - Week 3 - House Cup Finals (22)

House cup finals kicked off with us displaying our House Art, which we had worked on in the earlier weeks of project. All four houses had used the theme of ‘The Village’ and the art was amazing.

July Uni - Week 3 - House Cup Finals (9)

Everyone then settled down as public speaking started with the class fours first doing their Harry Potter speeches. It was so incredible to see how far they had come in the few days of learning the words to be able to stand up and recite the piece without words and acting it out. They were all done really well. It was then the turn of the class eights who were doing the more serious speech of Charlie Chaplin. This again was delivered brilliantly with the kids understanding the nature of how the speech should be done.

July Uni - Week 3 - House Cup Finals (18)

Finally we had our singing and dancing to perform. This was what we had all been looking forward to most and it was epic.  The kids loved it and the singing was amazing! Finally we had a sports day which was relay races for the whole school and again the noise that was made and energy from the whole school was immense. It was impossible not to get caught up in the events, ending by us being able to race against each other. It was the perfect way to round of an incredible three weeks in the school!

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

July University Team – Horse rides, waterfalls & boat races during trek excursion!


July Uni - Week 3 - Trek (5)

Saturday saw the team head on a trek to find a local waterfall just outside of Nabalabala. We set of and after around an hour of walking came to a bridge where we decided a 5-minute break was justified. These five minutes quickly became half an hour, as we all jumped into the cold river water to go and do some exploring upstream. As we got out we met 3 Fijians on horses, which gave some of us the chance to rest our feet and ride the rest of the way up to the waterfall!

We all regrouped and had another swim and explore around the waterfall before sitting down to lunch in the knowledge the biggest event of the day was still to come…the boat race! After we had finished our lunch we took to the forest to find and create the best possible boats to race. These ranged from the simple leaf to more complex boats with sails for added speed. The Fijian boys also made some boats, which put most of ours to shame however we were still confident. The races were a huge amount of fun and a good way to round of the afternoon.

What seemed like a short walk later we were back in the village and rewarded with some much needed lemon leaf tea!

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

July University Team – ‘My bilo will definitely be a special reminder of my time in Fiji and will take pride of place on my mantelpiece at home for everyone to admire!’


July Uni - Week 2 - Bilo Making (10)

As one of this week’s evening activities, we tried our hand at traditional bilo making. A bilo is the cup used in kava (or grog) ceremonies and is made out of coconut shells.

To begin the process, everyone was given a coconut, husk and all. Our first job was to de-husk the coconut using a metal spike in the ground (with the help of the Fijians, of course!). Despite the rain and after some hard graft, our coconuts were ready.

We gave them to our Fijian mums to split and then began the long process of removing the coconut flesh from the shell. Although some of the team “cheated” and let their expert families scrape the coconut out for them, the determined ones amongst us persevered and were left with an empty half coconut, ready for the next step.

With a piece of glass, we had to scratch away the hair and excess mush from the coconut, leaving just a smooth shell. Although none of the team managed to finish the process that evening, I can safely say that my bilo-in-progress will have become a fully-fledged bilo by the end of our time of the village!

It was fantastic to experience traditional handicrafts in this way as it really makes you appreciate the hard work that goes into such a simple-looking item. My bilo will definitely be a special reminder of my time in Fiji and will take pride of place on my mantelpiece at home for everyone to admire!

By Josie

Exeter University Student

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

July University Team – ‘It was onwards to the coast where the rain eased to reveal an idyllic stunning ocean against a luscious rainforest backdrop!’


July Uni - Week 2 - Beach Trip (5)

On Saturday we had a day on the beach! A quick drive to RakiRaki to stock up on some treats for ourselves and families, including some typical purchases including jam, cake, fresh fruit & gifts, and then it was onwards to the coast where the rain eased to reveal an idyllic stunning ocean against a luscious rainforest backdrop!

After a futile attempt at starting a fire we graciously stepped down and entrusted the task to the locals. Koro breathed life into the fire and we smoked some fresh fish on the coals, dressed in a lemon, chilli and soya sauce glaze, presented on a banana leaf – very Fijian!

Then it was time for some snorkelling and rugby in the sea (tough on the legs!) We even set up volleyball in the sea where we created a full volleyball pitch, which was new for all of us – even the Fijians were impressed! The fantastic day was enjoyed in the finest company and there could not be a greater end to week two. Bring on the final week!

by Cat

Cardiff University Student

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

July University Team – U14 Rugby 10s & Netball – ‘I feel truly honoured to have been able to provide the students with the lasting experience that I’m sure they will remember!’


July Uni - Week 2 - Inter-School (8)

On Friday we travelled to Navunibitu Primary School to link up with the Cardiff team for an afternoon of inter school rugby and netball matches. Game day preparation at Nalaba started immediately as the volunteers rallied together with class 8 to produce a series of chants, pom poms and oversized banners to get the school spirit flowing and the adrenaline pumping.

After a quick break for recess, we were straight out onto the training paddock for team run throughs and some vital pre-game prep. I took Nalaba’s rugby A team through a brief warm up, contact drills, and team runs before practicing a couple of plays ready to unleash once we took to the field. During the training, I couldn’t help but admire the professionalism and passion of the team. For such a young age, the students were incredibly organised, well drilled and communicative, and when this attitude was combined with their athleticism and sheer passion for the game, I knew we were onto a winner.

After our break for lunch, the students and volunteers alike all crammed to the back of the truck before setting off for the games. The atmosphere was electric as we bounced along the track in full song, and pulling into the school we must have made quite a spectacle as the whole truck was belting out school chants. I gathered the team under the posts and we all took a knee for our final team talk.

July Uni - Week 2 - Inter-School (13)

What followed was a spectacular display full of fiery encounters, Fijian flair and a standard of rugby, that I must confess, I had not expected. As I was on the pitch to help referee the match, I was in prime position to witness the contest first hand and it was a fantastic experience to be in the thick of it with the team. At half time, we were up four tries to one and feeling confident going into the second half. The team once again took the field, boosted by the support from the students on the side lines, whose chanting carried the team through a brutal second half performance. The final whistle the score was eight to one, and we were victorious.

Our afternoon was, however, not over yet, as we headed over to the netball court to give our support to the Nalaba girls who were already locked in a heated match. The team joined the rest of the students on the side lines, and I was again struck by the athleticism and professionalism of the girls. The girls played their hearts out and came from behind to take the game nine to six. Another well-deserved victory for Nalaba!

July Uni - Week 2 - Inter-School (12)

We then held a huge game of rounders with all the Universities mixing teams but still keeping a competitive edge! Some flying catches, balls getting smashed out of the park and some daring runs between bases caused a great atmosphere between the 40 or so volunteers and leaders!

In the carrier on the way home, I looked around at the sea of smiling faces sandwiched into the back of our truck and could not help but beam with pride and immense satisfaction of what we had achieved as a team. Sports outreach has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of my time in Fiji, the students were exemplary and I feel truly honoured to have been able to provide the students with the lasting experience that I’m sure they will remember for days to come.

Mai Nalaba mai!

By Rob

Exeter University Student