Gap year Project Diary, Week 4 from our Fiji volunteer projects!
Monday 9th May
Finally, after a week of heavy rainfall our gap volunteers were able to experience the Fijian sunshine today! Let’s hope the warm weather continues for the final week of youth camp!
The volunteer team had a superb morning on the build, the walling has begun and 4 rows were completed by lunchtime! Handsome Tom and Ann worked really well together in their pod this morning being really conscientious in their work, in true TP style!
Kindi continued to gather momentum at the start of another week. Today’s focus was learning colours and already great improvement can be seen amongst the enthusiastic children. Matt, Mia, Henry and Anthony were very keen for written work today so each child’s progress can be marked in the “All About Me” books. The colour theme continued into arts and crafts as the Birthday Caterpillar was created for the children to each write their name in a certain colour for their birthday month! The caterpillar is now crawling proudly along the kindi walls!
Youth camp started the new week with even more energy than the last. Katie and Ellie introduced ballet to the list of options for the children which had a very strong start and will be a popular choice for the rest of the week! The outdoor games group introduced “Skittle Ball” to the agenda for the day which proved a lot harder than it looked! Billy’s new game definitely got the team, village boys and the children racing around while the Arts and Crafts were busily gluing and sticking in the production of marvellous masks!
Katie, Georgie and Mia took classes 1-4 for hockey this afternoon, with a few of the children coming from other islands, beginners were in the group. This didn’t faze the girls at all who had children shouting for more hockey at the end of the day! Alun, Calum, Rob and Henry saw great talent amongst the older boys in rugby today, high school boys eagerly joined in the session of set piece drills. Class 5-8 girls were coached fielding drills by Adam, Billy and Anthony while Ellie, Handsome Tom and James taught the basic bowling skills. Both groups came together to end with a big match in slippery conditions!
After another fantastic day on the volunteer project the team still managed to find ridiculous amounts of energy for a highly competitive game of Ultimate Frisbee! Ellie’s side opened the score board early on and Katie’s team were chasing the lead for the rest of the match. Many players started to bend the rules slightly as tackling and contact became the norm. Well done TEAM ELLIE for the victory!
This evening’s agenda was definitely an entertaining one as the children’s juice party brought the entire village community together for Pass the Parcel, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Musical Bumps, Balloon Making, Sleeping Lions and of course plenty of TANG (the team’s favourite juice, particularly Ann!!). Sleeping Lions deserves a particular mention as Paskey was cruelly victimised with frogs, ants, water and finally chilli to try and make her move! The children had such a fun evening and hope for many more to come!
Tuesday 10th May
The sun continued to shine this morning to enable the building project crew to crack on and complete another 6 rows of walling. The volunteers now feel very confident in their work and work away happily throughout the morning. Sarah and Rob worked with continued excellence as well as Calum and Billy.
Julia was ready to join the kindi volunteer group once again today and the focus was learning, despite limited improvement from the previous days, the team continued to work on the weaker areas of each child. By the time it came to Arts and Crafts, the children were very excitable at the sight of balloons ready for paper mache! On Thursday, the theme of the day will be “Lost in Space”, therefore the paper mache was the start of the process in making alien masks for another day of themed craziness!
“Football Rounders” was the choice for Outdoor Games in our sports volunteer projects today, which the children took great joy in! While in the youth projects, Arts and Crafts focussed on drawing each other andour team members. Zumba dancing continued to grow in popularity this afternoon; more so amongst the male volunteers than the children, isn’t Adam and Anthony?!
Following the activities, sport continued as usual. The focus of rounders was batting technique with the younger children. The hockey girls coached different types of passing such as flicking and reverse hits to a group of very strong class 5-8’s. This then progressed onto 2v1 exercises working on finding the space on and off the ball which was demonstrated in the match at the end. Over in rugby, Henry, Matt and Rob had a very enjoyable session of tackling in muddy conditions with the boys! The sports volunteer projects really are going from strength to strength and it’s an incredible feeling seeing the the children get so much from the sports sessions and to see their skills develop.
This evening, the team enjoyed a quiet evening of cards in the hall and of course Mafia was the first choice! We decided to complicate matters and add a new edge to the epic game with an Italian and an Irish Mafia; Georgie’s spying ways and Matani’s lack of knowledge about the object of the game were potentially the highlights for everyone.
Wednesday 11th May
The team are very proud of their work on the building volunteer project today as 3 separate pods took the walling to the top of the windows with 7 rows! Billy, Georgie and Katie worked well river side and Handsome Tom, Calum and Ellie mirrored this on the village side. While James, Adam and Sarah had accurate chisel work around the direct post completed. Inside, Miranda, Rob and Ann began the very first rows of flooring and settled well into their routine, completing 25 rows just in time for lunch!
Kindi mayhem over in MDS was going crazy at song time as their favourite “Music Man” continued for a long period of time “Pia-pia-piano…vio-vio-violin…la la la…” at the demand of both the children and obviously Henry! Learning time focussed on numbers and Lela has shown marked improvement to the great delight of Julia.
In arts and crafts, the children’s creativity has made massive progress as they painted their alien masks and really thought about the colours that they wanted to use. The outdoor games saw plenty of races with the wheelbarrow race causing a lot of trouble for many! The morning’s chaos was calmed by Anthony’s reading of “Little Red Riding Hood” before the children sang their goodbye song and raced home. Our Arts and crafts group then drew around one of the smaller girls in youth camp this afternoon for the rest of the children to decorate with feathers, pom poms and lots of Crayola to add to the magnificent Youth Camp display.
Swimming and cricket were the chosen sports for outdoor games in our sports volunteer projects today; the children are extremely enthusiastic for swimming as it is new for the agenda. Zumba had another great day, Miranda, Katie, Mia and Georgie all commented on the progress of the children after just 10 days! We now just need to get Calum to join the class along with the other boys!
The rounders crew had girls of all ages working on pass and follow exercises in squares to improve vision and passing at pace. This was then echoed in the match at the end of the session. The hockey team continued the theme of working on space and spreading out after yesterday’s success with tackle boxes and 2 v 1 drills in tight, small areas. The rugby team gathered the boys for further tackling drills and marked progress was made.
This evening was enjoyed with the ladies as the team had another lesson in the art of traditional Fijian mat, basket and fan weaving. Alun and Calum were extremely proud of their baskets and skipped happily around the room like Dick Whittington (although they maintain their baskets were extremely manly!).
Thursday 12th May
Tomorrow our volunteer team will enjoy a trip to town so the end of Rota 2 came a day early! The kindi children have been more than lucky over the past month to have such enthusiastic volunteers teaching them. This was really shown by today’s finale of “Lost in Space” day. After the usual morning routine, with particular improvement in learning shown by Jone and Biau, the team brought out the tin foil for even greater arts and crafts mayhem than usual! They began making stars for their night display while singing one of their favourite song’s “Twinkle twinkle little star” before creating rockets to hang from the ceiling as well. The children then put on their alien masks that were made earlier in the week to have a silly string outer space war to end a fantastic couple of weeks in MDS kindi.
Back in Nasesara, our volunteers on the building project continued throwing all their efforts into the community hall extension. Calum and James completed the nailings on the flashings to finalise the roof to the team’s great delight. Vinaka boys! Three separate walling pods continued while Miranda, Handsome Tom and Katie are setting a great rhythm for the rest of the team to follow next week!
Youth Camp’s outdoor games group reached new heights as they introduced crab football to the day. The object of the game is given away in the title, the boys had to play football like crabs; the key to success is not to be shellfish!! In arts and crafts, windmills were made while zumba attracted the ever enthusiastic crowds!
During sport, rugby continued the theme of tackling while the rounders team were working on bowling accuracy. Hockey took great leaps with exercises focussing on spreading out and spacing issues.
This evening, Joe our Matani Te Kina kindly invited the whole team for a delicious dinner in the hall before the eagerly anticipated quiz night. Team Hench was pipped at the post by Team Handsome in a very close contest tonight. Vinaka Team Apex of Creation!
Friday 13th May
Happy 19th birthday Ann! Ann has had an unbelievable day that ended with plenty of grog, hop hop and of course the talcan powder that was out in force!
The team spent the morning in Levuka, picking up essentials for the next four weeks in the village before returning back to Moturiki for the final afternoon of youth camp. Sarah and the Birthday Girl created a Moturiki Monster with the Arts and Crafts group to be the MDS school mascot. The children have really enjoyed being able to explore their creativity over the last two weeks and we hope to keep arts and crafts going in term time when all the children return. Zumba and Frisbee attracted the usual overly enthusiastic crowds to end a fantastic couple of weeks.
The whole group came together for a big sports day with the children, reliving their childhood with eggs and spoons, sacks, wheelbarrows, piggy backs, relays, everything imaginable! The piggy back race ended the afternoon’s contest with a minor collision that left poor Alun under a fairly big pile of TPers!
Now, Ann’s real birthday celebrations began, starting with party bags in debrief while discussing everyone’s highlight of the week. This was shortly followed by a magnificent meal shared with the Nasesara community. Ann wore the traditional Fijian dress “massi” and was greeted with beautiful gifts from the ladies with an array of food for the village (including the biggest chocolate cake you have ever seen!). The village band soon brought out their guitars which gave the ladies the excuse to flock to the dance floor with the team. There was so much laughter and joy filling the room that this was certainly a birthday that Ann will never forget. An early night was had by all in preparation for the Rukuruku trek bright and early tomorrow!