Monday 24th January –
This morning the team were packing up their kits and getting ready to head out to Batiki island for the 8 week project phase of the expedition. We picked Jack, our building manager, and made out way to Levuka town where we met the Batiki boats. It was not long before the team and bags were loaded and we made our way out to the island. With the sunshining and no wind it was a quick and easy crossing, and the team were into their new home. After changing into sulus, shirts and jaba dresses we presented a sevusevu to the Ratu and village elders, and the team then headed off to their new homes with their families to settle in. The team and community then attended a welcome church service together before having a huge feast and of course some grog and “hop hop”…it was great for Think Pacific to have finally touched down in Batiki!
Tuesday 25th January –
With projects due to start tomorrow today was spent prepping the various elements. In the morning the leaders took the team through the plans and drawings for the community hall, before taking a walk down to the school to meet the headmaster and teachers and see the classrooms and the kids. Back in the village they meet Liti, who shall be assisting us with the kindergarten, before heading home for lunch. The afternoon was spent relaxing as the expedition leaders took the ppps’ with each of the team
( * ‘ppp’ stands for ‘personal project planning meeting’ –Each volunteer is assigned to one of our leaders and every week, our leaders have a one-to-one talk with each volunteer to discuss their role, their experience and anything they wish to discuss in confidence. This offers individual support to each person in the team).
Following the PPS there was an evening de-brief and the project rotas were pieced together so everyone can play a full role in the teaching, building, kindergarten and sports development project. Everyone is now ready and excited to begin tomorrow!
Wednesday 26th January –
This morning was a huge morning for Think Pacific and our January 2011 Batiki team as projects began on Batiki island for the first time!
On the build Ben, Tavis, Charlie, Georgia, Bryony, Harry, Dan, Rupert and Matt were busy digging holes, mixing cement, setting the posts and carrying timbers, and by then end of the day 20 posts were completed to show the huge effort put in by everyone.
In kindi it was a very good, if slightly chaotic start, but that is the beauty of kindi! With it being the first day ever for the young ones to come to a kindi Fanny, Gillian and Livvy decided to focus on games and fun, before starting to introduce the routines tomorrow. So they sang songs, had outdoor games and played musical statues, before story time to end. And with 9 children turning up it was a very positive first day.
In school it was a slightly slower start, with the children and teachers settling in to the new school year and the most effective roles of the team within the classes still being set. But with Oli in classes 3 & 4, Satnam in 5 & 6 and Kerry in 7 & 8 we will be developing the support they can provide in the classroom so the volunteers roles are fully defined in the next few days.
As ever sports coaching started with a bang, with Kerry, Matt, Gillian and Georgia taking the girls from classes 1-4 for rounders, Livvy and Bryony taking the girls from classes 5-8 for netball, Oli, Rupert, Dan,. Fanny, Satnam and Tavis taking the boys from classes 1-4 for football and Harry, Ben and Charlie taking the boys from classes 5-8 for rugby.
In the evening it was party time as we looked to celebrate Gillian’s birthday! The team and community came together in the shed for a huge feast prepared by the village ladies, and after a short rest (with more food of tea and birthday cake) it was back for some bowls of grog. In true Fiji style the guitars were of course there and the “hop hop” was in full swing, quite a way to spend a birthday!
Thursday 27th January –
On the build this morning the team dug the final 15 foundation holes before setting the posts and cementing them in to complete the foundations which is a fantastic effort in just 2 days.
In kindi the team began to introduce a few of the structures and ideas, including hand washing and tooth brushing club before and after snack time. There were also more games of duck duck goose and song time, before “Alice in Wonderland” was read during story time.
In school it was another slightly difficult day for the team, with their involvement limited as the school teachers get everything ready for the new term. In the afternoon the attention turned to sports coaching, with our volunteers leading the coaching for all the age groups, who rotated between different sports.
In the evening it was quiz time, written by “Team Canada” which of course included a round all about Canada, as well as song intros and more. And after the battle of the brains it was team “Quiz on your face” who won the day!
Friday 28th January –
With the posts completed yesterday this morning the team began sawing the posts to bottom plate level, before measuring and cutting the studs to size and nailing on the outside wall bearers. It has been a big few days on the build, and next week we shall look to have the frame up.
In kindi the kids went through their shapes and colours during lego time, and during arts and crafts they painted their hands to print onto the card which they absolutely loved. For outside play there was a wheelbarrow race, a hopping race and a skipping race!:)
In school it was a far more productive day as the teachers and team begin to settle into a rhythm. Oli read a story on droughts with classes 3 & 4 before asking them to draw a picture and write a few lines about what may happen during a drought. In class 5&6 Satnam was assisting with their work on tens, hundreds and thousands, and also took comprehension for English, and in classes 7 & 8 Kerry read a poem and then took the classes through the questions.
Sports coaching was once again in full swing in the afternoon, with classes 5-8 boys doing some tackling drills and some 2 v 1 before playing a controlled match, whilst in football the team split classes 1-4 boys for coaching before playing some 5 a side. In netball the 5-8 girls were showing some real talents, and the little ones were striking the ball nicely in rounders.
In the evening the team and community came together in the shed to play some cards, have a few bowls of grog and “hop hop”, and the atmosphere was absolutely amazing, exactly what life in Fiji is all about!:)