Wednesday 16th February
This morning the team had some time to relax in the village with their families, with a few heading up to the plantations, and others taking a swim in the sea. In the evening it was party time as the team and community celebrated Harry’s 20th Birthday, with a huge feast prepared and grog and “hop hop” to enjoy!
Thursday 17th February
Today was another day for the team to enjoy some village time, with a few making bilos and with a game of sea rugby kicking off. A few also cut a path up to the highest peak on the island, with some stunning views of Batiki and the surrounding islands in the province. With members of the community arriving from Suva, and visitors from Rukuruku, on Ovalau, and Nairai island in the evening there was once again a big grog party with the celebrations for the community hall on the horizon!
Friday 18th February
This morning Georgia, Livvy, Ben and Bryony went with Alex to the school assembly to present the January 2011 Sports Awards, including “Best Player” and “Most Improved” in sports coached, including Rugby, Netball, Rounders, Football and Swimming.
Today was also a huge day for our January 2011 Batiki team, and the community of Yavu and the island of Batiki, as we opened the community hall. In the morning the Ratu, returning to the village for the first time in 7 years for the occasion, named the hall “Bola Tagani”, meaning strong man but synonymous with “Great Britain”, a huge honour. In the afternoon villagers from all communities on Batiki, and those visiting from neighbouring islands, gathered on the grass to see the Talatala give a word of prayer before revealing the plaque and cutting the ribbon. As the doors swung open and everyone entered for the first time there was a sense of pride of what the team and village had achieved together.
The grog was then prepared in the traditional manner, with the ibo used to hold the grog and the tavaya carrying the water, and it was a real privilege to see such a ceremony and custom. Speeches were then given by the Ratu of Yavu on behalf of the community, myself on behalf of Think Pacific, and Peceli on behalf of the government, giving me an opportunity to thank all those who have contributed to the successes enjoyed.
With grog begun in the hall the team, community and visitors went to the shed, where a huge feast had been prepared, with pigs slaughtered for the occasion, chicken, fish and lots more. It was then party time, and with the Ratu saying there was to be no hop hop in the hall itself there were two parties in full swing, as the community hall had songs being sung, whilst the team were in the shed to dance the night away!
Saturday 19th February
With the party the night before, and with the rain falling this morning, it was a slow start to the day. By 11.30am the stalls for the fun day were however set up and the kids were gathering, having their faces painted, throwing wet clothes at Harry and Oli, trying to beat the goalie at the football stand, and enjoying cakes, popcorn and juice. There was also a coconut shy and a “sawing and hammering” stand for people to try as we looked to raise funds for the village, with Satnam also in charge of selling raffle tickets for the two Think Pacific Sulus. By 13.30pm the stalls wound down and the team had lunch in the community hall, where a soli was given for the fundraising, before spending the afternoon relaxing.
In the evening the team joined the crowds in the community hall, who had been enjoying grog since 10am, to draw the raffle and announce the total raised. Our raffle winners were the Turaga ni Koro from Mua village, and Uncle Jesse, a great character in the village, who were picked by the visiting Ratu from Nairai. The Yavu Turani then announced the total raised as $216.75 for Yavu village, a fantastic effort by all those involved in the day!