I’m having an amazing time in Naicambecambe. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. We’ve been here for about two weeks now and the idea of leaving makes me sad, I’ve literally fallen in love with this place.
I’ve just done two weeks of building and I’m so proud of what the team have accomplished already. I have had so much fun collecting rock, making cement and building a bridge. I’ve decided I really like the manual labour side of life, feels good to graft. I love getting involved. At first there was a clear divide between the Fijians and us, now we are all as one and I love it. The Fijians make it so much fun, the guys are so playful and the women laugh like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It’s really refreshing to be part of something so close and it all shows in the building we’ve done.
I’m so lucky to be surrounded by amazing people, beautiful scenery and a great atmosphere, especially now the suns beginning to shine longer, yey! I’m already so proud of the team and everything we’ve done. I personally have faced pretty much all my fears that I brought with me from England. The other night I went spear fishing with Scott n Emily and we had an amazing ‘Fiji Moment’. Not only was I swimming with fish but it was in the dark, with the possibility of seeing a shark. I loved it, I killed three fish, one was a puffer fish that was wide and flat when I shot it and then it blew up into a huge big puffer…good times for the family that ate that! It was definitely one of those things in life I will never forget. I can’t wait to do it again.
My family…they’re amazing, I’ve fallen in love with them, my dad Benni is such a legend and I have amazing children, they have so much energy, all the time! My mum, Una, is away most of the week working in Levuka but she comes home at weekends and she is so lovely. And then there is Lythia, who is like my best Fijian friend, she’s hilarious. I think me Alice and Fiona have all settled really well here and it’s all thanks to them.
After two weeks, im very settled here, I’ve almost forgot what my life was like before being here. I can’t remember what flushing loo’s and actually hot showers felt like, a definite sign of fitting in. The lack of luxuries no longer bothers me. Especially when I am surrounded by amazing team members and Fijians, who are all making this experience as good as it can be for me.
For everyone back home, my experience here is unbelievable, being here could not be more different than being in Norfolk. I have fallen in love with Fiji, it was too easy!
Life in the village is not what I expected it to be and I mean that in a good way. I was really apprehensive about living in the village, especially after the lovely talk we were given by Harry, Benji and Tim. In which we were basically told to expect the worse and that we would probably suffer a massive culture shock. When we arrived in the village, although being anxious about viewing my future living conditions, I was really excited about meeting my new family. I couldn’t have asked for a better family and although we’ve only been in the village for 2 weeks I know it’s going to be difficult to leave at the end. Living with Emily and Rachel has helped to adjust easier to village life as well as it’s not as daunting as living with a family on your own. Everyone in the village is warm and friendly with you not being able to walk anywhere without being greeted with ‘bula’. As friendly as village life is, the culture shock has been massive and at times quite difficult. Cold bucket showers and water seal toilets take some getting used to but I’ve surprised myself with how quickly I’ve adapted. They’ve just become part of the daily routine and all sixteen of us are in the same position. Since the work has started, time seems to be flying by. I’ve really enjoyed working in the Kindi, starting it all up with Danielle, Fiona and Rachel. It’s been great fun working with the younger kids in the village, singing songs and playing games. As well as being pleased about village life, I’m really happy with the group of volunteers that have been picked for the expedition. Everyone is getting on really well and it makes the whole expedition a lot easier. With the ‘buddy system’ helping us get closer and have someone to talk to when we’re feeling down. This makes a big difference when you’re so far away from home. I’m really looking forward to the rest of my time in the village and the work we’ve still got to do.
Following an earthquake in Samoa today there was a ‘general alert warning’ for a tsunami in the South Pacific region. To put all friends and family’s minds at rest, I just wanted to confirm that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has officially cancelled any warnings for Fiji. The Fiji times reports that “local authorities can assume that the threat has passed”.
The team in Fiji were briefed of the possible tsunami alerts earlier today. The TP UK office has been in contact with our expedition leaders in Fiji several times this evening with updates. All the team are fine and daily life continues as normal on the tiny, beautiful and peaceful island of Moturiki.
On behalf of the whole Think Pacific team, our sympathies go to those effected by today’s earthquake in American Samoa. For more information regarding the tsunami warnings earlier today please visit http://www.fijitimes.com/
Simon and the team.
Atama here (Adam in Fijian). Time is flying by; days are occupied with two building projects on the go, sporting in the afternoon, homework evening classes and plenty of UNO and Cheat playing! I’m finding majority of the time is spent eating “Kana Vakalevu” (eat a lot!). At first washing was also time consuming with the fear of having to tip a cold bucket of water over you, but this soon became quicker with the thought of mosquito’s lurking nearby ready to pounce.
I have grown to love rocks! This week has been spent quarrying rocks to mark the foundations of our beautiful pathway/second bridge. Previously a journey across the stepping stones involved getting very wet but now you can cross and be nice and dry, until your onwards journey where the path finishes and the mudslides begin.
Spear fishing the other night was awesome…
I was petrified whilst cruising out, the thought of snorkelling in the dark, with thunder and lightning, in the freezing Pacific surrounded by Sharks, Jellyfish and Stingrays whilst having your team fire spears all around. After about the fourth “get in Atama” I threw myself into what is another dimension, and a warm one too. The sea was surprisingly warm and all my fears soon vanished. All the coral glowed from a single torch with the aid of the lightening, the sea life asleep and my fellow spear fishers well clear of me. You spear at night whilst your prey sleep and cruise round searching mainly beneath coral. When you find dinner, you load (well my Fijian friend did) and fire. I thought it was going to be long range firing requiring the skills of a sniper however it was simply a case of leaving a little gap between the spear gun and the little thing and firing. So close you would think it’s difficult to miss but I managed 8 misses to 7 kills. If successful the fish would remain on the spear otherwise he would make a dash. If too close you risk poking the fish and awaking him. With my Fijian dad a fisherman and with my 7 kills, I am finding I’m consuming a lot of fish, for breakfast too.
Everyone here is beyond friendly with Bula (hello) being thrown about a few thousand times a day!
What can we say the last few weeks in Fiji have been incredible! After one week in Fiji we eventually arrived in the village and since then we have had a blast! The actual project started on Monday and I (Joe) began by working on the building project. On the first day, we focused on the community hall and had to tear up the rotting floor, which meant Joe and Ollie being let loose with the hammers! Over the course of the next two days, despite being bitten to death by mosquitoes in the forests, we began work on the bridge which seems to have come along pretty well!
By Thursday Joe had joined me (Maria) in Nassauvuki to take on a small army of year 8’s at the Moturiki district school. Being two of the youngest volunteers, it feels crazy to be ‘in charge’ and called Madam and Sir but it’s a really exciting job and so far we are loving the experience. The typical day begins with English followed by Maths and rotation in the afternoons. We’ve put our heads together and come up with some new ideas to get the kids a bit more motivated, our main focus has been to incorporate more interactive learning and learning “through fun’’ which no doubt has been a great success! The kids are great! So well behaved (they even stand to attention!) and their desire to work is inspirational. It has definitely been a manic but rewarding week!
After a morning of either building or teaching, lunch is followed by sport coaching in the next door village. I (Joe) have been focusing on rugby coaching which has been amazing. On the first day of coaching, I tried to get a game of touch rugby going however this went down the drain after the first minute when a massive hit went in. The raw talent and physical ability of many of the kids has often made me question my decision to join in the games of contact, often returning to the village battered and bruised.
The family I (Joe) am living with are fantastic. Myself, Ollie and Scott are living with Terressa and Tevita who have welcomed us with open arms and have made us feel so at home. Their 5 children have also ensured that there has never been a dull moment in the house and have been useful in being our 6am wakeup call! The food that they prepare for us is amazing and when eating the main words Terresa and Tevita will say is ‘kana va levu’, this means eat more! Not once have I left a meal feeling anything but stuffed.
We’ve only been in the village for just under two weeks and already we’ve all grown really close as a team and majorly attached to our families and all the crazy children in the village.
Despite the torrential downpours over the past week, Fiji is still incredible and the September expedition is certainly proving to be an experience of a life time!
Joe & Maria xx