Archive for July, 2010

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Chris makes a real impact on the building project

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I have just finished my first 4 days on the build and it has been so rewarding seeing the progress we have made in such a short time. It’s really tiring digging for 4 hours a day in the heat of Fiji but speaking to the villagers about how much it means to them it’s worth every second.  They have spent their lives walking down to a well to shower and they are so excited to be able to have a shower at their house, something so simple that I have always taken for granted. I have enjoyed helping on the build so much that I am going to carry on and not go to the school to teach so I can see it start to finish.

My time in Savuna has been brilliant I have been made to feel so welcome and I feel completely at home after just a week. Everybody is so eager to please, when you walk past a house you just hear “drink tea, drink tea” and they always want you to eat more no matter how much you have just had.

Hop hop in the evenings is so fun. You drink kava which they like to do a lot and dance. The longer you stay up the more they appreciate it I seem to always be the last one up and the men really like it that you have joined them in what they like to do to relax.

I have been teaching football in the school every afternoon after the build which has been good because you can really see a difference in the kids confidence and technique by the end of the session so I feel I have passed on some sort of knowledge.

I went crab fishing the other night with my new older brother, David and his new dad, we had to trek through the jungle then through the mangroves and then along the sea shore at low tide all just using a lamp and a torch.

My experience has been amazing so far and the family I have been put in is brilliant they have looked after me so well and are so much fun I wouldn’t change any part of my trip so far.

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Hannah leads kindergarten class

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Bula, bula! As I write this I am looking out over the school grounds at MDS, and it’s a gorgeous sunny day. Kindi has finished for the day, and myself, Kerry and Amy (who I’m working with) now have a couple of hours to clean up the paintbrushes from this morning’s activities. Looking back, asking a group of hyper active 4-5 year olds to paint the numbers 1-20 keeping within the lines was a bit of a tall order – why bother when you could just cover each other in the stuff? It’s only the second day we’ve worked at kindi, and I’m having such a great time, the kids are amazing – they’re absolutely hilarious! So full of energy and always smiling. Back home in Savuna it’s fab too. I live with mum, dad, matthew, watty and little joe, who is 5 and has one ear that is larger than the other one – he is ADORABLE. Every time we return home, we’re sure to be greeted with a huge hug and food. That’s one thing I wasn’t prepared for – the ridiculous amount of food (especially carbs and sugar) that these Fijians get through. Every meal is absolutely enormous, with at least 9 plates of food in front of you. Tea is a good time of day too – Mum’s coconut scones are a DREAM. I’m off to make some posters for Kindi day, which will be….mental, and cover myself in deet, the mosquitoes are having a field day.

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Bula from Kerrie in Fiji

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BULA!!  From the South Pacific!

We are now in Savuna and settling into village life and the ways of the villagers, it has been a bit of a culture shock but I’m finding that I’m getting used to freezing cold showers over looking what looks like a jungle and pit toilets and eating fish that still have heads and tails, although one thing I really will not be learning to like are the mosquito’s they are eating me alive and love to catch me in the shower when I’m free of repellent. I’m learning lots from Kiti my Fijian mum and also from Jim my Fijian dad he is a man of many talents he has built us a whole dining room outside which is fab and he’s a pretty good cook to! We have been invaded by rats in the house at the moment as Kiti and Jim have not been living there for a while so Lindsey and Richard and me have been screaming like little girls in the middle of the night haha! But Jim is in the process of ridding the house of the pests. Today I have been working in Kindi with Amy and Hannah, the kids are great!!  So energetic and playful and are great fun and a handful at the same time, today we learnt not to let them loose with paint as were all pretty much covered in it now! This afternoon were teaching Sports, I’m teaching Badminton, yesterday was our first attempt at teaching it to class one and it was pretty much a disaster so today we have a plan, control is the key!! Wish me luck!

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Monday, July 26th, 2010

Amy gets stuck into volunteering in Fiji

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Bula from Fiji! We’re now getting started on the main reason we came on the trip – the project, and it’s great to be helping out in all areas at the school and on the build in our village, Savuna. The days at school are manic, to say the least. Yesterday for me started with a morning in Kindi, where the kids use you as a jungle gym and regularly call out “teacher! teacher!” to attract your attention – they have insane amounts of enthusiasm. The children are slowly getting to know us and are also helping us learn some Fijian words, including the very charming ‘chiko-lo’ meaning shut up. In the afternoon Lindsey and I coached netball; the group of 12 very polite girls who ran up to us at the start of the session soon transformed into fearless competitors, lunging, skidding and diving over each other, all the while keeping an eye on their footwork, legends! Dinner time is always a highlight after the boat ride back to our village. The head of mine and Sophie’s house, Jope, seems to like the way I say ‘massau’ (prayer) before eating and so it has become a bit of a tradition that I say it before every meal, fun times. Sipping lemon tea with Sophie and Fizz after is the perfect way to end the day, before rubbing in copious amount of 100% deet mosquito repellent!


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Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Catherine’s first week in Fiji

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Bula from Fiji. I’ve just spent my first few days in the tiny village of Savuna, and already it is feeling more and more like home. For instance after returning from our first day of school yesterday we were greeted with a big hug and kiss from our mum, and of course tea and more food. Village life has surpassed all my expectations; when we first arrived we were all worried about the cultural expectations, trying to remember when to remove flip flops, how to wear sulus and how many claps to make for the kava bowl, however since moving in, all these things seem far more natural, and I’ve certainly found myself really embracing the culture. Our first few nights of hop-hop and grog were really great fun and really made us welcome into the tiny Savuna community of 17. Also we’ve been picking up Fijian bit by bit with a lot of help from our families and from my school pupils, a very useful phrase our dad taught us this morning was the Fijian for ‘I am full, can I please now relax?’ which will definitely come in handy due to the massive amounts of food we’ve been given. Every meal is a feast, and even every cup of tea is accompanied with a feast, but these are thankfully followed by the whole family just lying on the floor- we’ve begun to wonder why this isn’t common practice in the UK. So overall my first impressions of Savuna have been amazing, the community are warm and welcoming, appearing like one big family and living in a gorgeous village, the view from our bedroom looks out across the sea and opposite islands, a great way to wake up in the morning.


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Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Richard begins life as a teacher in Fiji.

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The morning commute to work is a world away from home. Firstly it involves a bumpy 20 minute speed boat ride from Savuna to Nasasarra (waterproofs at the ready) and a 30 minute walk along the coastline, an opportunity to dry off and take in the scenery.

When I got there we were all introduced to classes, and I had the joy of having the largest and most boisterous class, the infamous class four.

In the morning Ms Meg, the teacher, ran through a comprehension test, which gave me an opportunity to get to know the class and help out those who are falling behind. After lunch, it was class story time and an opportunity to put my creative skills to work with some drawing. This may have descended into mayhem at times but everyone got involved and nothing a raised voice wouldn’t sort out.

And when I thought the day was over we had our afternoon session of sports. Trying to teach a group of 6 year olds (who didn’t speak English) badminton was a recipe for comedy.

And then a snooze on the commute home!