Archive for July, 2011

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Moturiki stories: Sam’s Fiji blog

Sam's Blog

Sam’s Fiji Blog

After a journey that took over a day and with many time zones crossed, there are many differences between Essex and Fiji. The weather is a lot hotter, the Caqalai beach doesn’t contain the discarded sandwich wrappers that are found on its Southend equivalent, and the water goes down the plug in a different direction. However it is much more than these three things that makes Fiji a remarkable place. The relaxed culture and easy going attitude to life is clearly noticeable from when you land at Nadi airport. The hustle and bustle that is found on British streets has not managed to find its way onto its Fijian counterparts.

The locals waved and shouted “Bula” at our bus as we took the four hour journey from Nadi to the capital Suva. The journey took us along the coast of the mainland where we were witness to views only found in travel broachers.

After this journey we boarded a boat to the paradise island of Caqalai where we were to spend time just relaxing and getting used to the Fijian way of life. Many hours were spent on the beach, in the clear sea and on the volleyball court. The volleyball court was where ‘Team Win’ who consisted of Jamie, Becka, Nicole, and me lived up to our name and won the round robin tournament. However we weren’t so consistent in the quiz team, maybe the name change to “2 Girls, 1 Cup…..of knowledge” was the reason why.

On Saturday we boarded the boats to our new home of Naicabecabe. I found myself living with long time partner and heartthrob Charlie Miles. Waiting for us was our new mum, dad and brother. Fortunately, the pre-Naicabecabe nerves were settled with a mug of hot Fijian lemon tea that contained a generous 3 tablespoons of sugar.

After a few days rest, the build team got straight to work and got used to the tools, apart from Ryan who seemed to get lost during work hours. Even without his help, George, Charlie, Matt and Reiss dug trenches and holes were made by Jethro and Jamie. With the help of the man mountain that is Jack, a platform was built and the water container was put in place. Over the last week and a half the build team may have had a few changes in its personal but the work rate hasn’t decreased. The new team has started to paint and plaster the church and pipes have been put in place.

Even though I haven’t been to either the school or kindi I have heard that there has been many stand out moments, Amys address to the whole school whilst dressed as a pirate seems to stick out in my memory, if only it had been videotaped for the world to enjoy.

Our trip to Fiji isn’t all hard work. In the evenings we have found time to do ‘hop-hop’, coach the local children, play rugby and go spear fishing (the later has had various amounts of success). The locals have showed us the art of drinking grog and one person in particular, Jamie, has made it his duty to drink the village dry. In his pursuit of this challenge he has found himself being invited to specialist sessions where he says that “the stuff is stronger”. His grog drinking ability has spread to other villages and people have walked to Naicabecabe just to have the pleasure of drinking with him.

Furthermore, I would like to tell people that when they next want to wear something that is comfortable and surprisingly forgiving, a sulu is where it’s at. Although they may be regarded as dresses in England, in Fiji, it is acceptable for men to wear them and the next time I go Missoula I will most definitely be wearing one.


Monday, July 25th, 2011

Volunteer blogs from Moturiki; Becky and Amy’s Fijian expedition

Amy & Becky

Becky and Amy’s best blog ever;

Despite only being in the village for ten days so far, Naicabecabe feels like home. Our Fijian families have given us an unbelievable welcome and we feel like we belong here. We’ve both hit the jackpot – It just so happens our families are amazing cooks and there’s never a meal time where we don’t have to say “ma maoul” and lie down on the floor cradling our food babies. As Ronnie has reminded us many a time: “You’ll never out eat a Fijian!”

Hop hop has quickly become one of our favourite Fijian traditions. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday night we put on our sulus and head on down to the village hall for a crazy night of grog and hop hop – We may pass on the grog, but never on the hop hop! Best hop hop so far has been the fancy dress night. The Fijian’s found it hilarious when the whole team rocked up in full Fijian tribal wear. Definitely a night to remember!

Project is in full swing. We’ve both spent a week in school and a week in Kindi with an odd afternoon on build, and we’re absolutely loving it! We’ve both separately spent a week teaching on our own in class 3 which has been fun, but a challenge to say the least. In true Fijian style we found out on several mornings that our teacher was taking a day off to go shopping in Levuka or just not coming in at all!

The children are so full of enthusiasm and eager to learn however, that they’ve thrown themselves into everything we’ve given them. Favourites have been “the monster project” which we’ve carried on over the last two weeks, learning the time and a very manic drama lesson on the three little pigs!

Kindi certainly lived up to our high expectations and the madness began the moment we got there. Elisa, the Kindi teacher does an excellent job of controlling twenty or so very lively 3 to 5 year olds, but it’s clear that us volunteers really make a difference when we arrive. Handprinting went down a bit too well with most of us coming out covered head to toe in paint and glitter. Yesterday was ‘library day” and great effort had been put into Kindi costumes. Captain “Heg-arrr-ty” made an appearance and led the merry mob in a parade from the Kindi ship, around the field, and back.

Every afternoon is sports and the two of us have been coaching netball along with Anna, Annabelle, Becca and Zoe. Our training has become very important with the looming netball tournament in Levuka on Friday in which we hope our girls will be scouted. The boys have also been training kids for the rugby tournament which will be held at the same time and the whole team is excited for a day out supporting the girls and boys from the school. GO MOTURIKI!!! We’ve also been subject to a vigorous training schedule ourselves  from the locals as we’ll be playing for the TP netball cup next week. It’s down to us to regain the cup as the rugby didn’t go so well for the lads last week!

Alongside our busy schedule we’ve had many TP events going on. Special events have been laid on for us and we have now experienced mat weaving and bilo making which we’ll all be taking back to England and using as replacements for shot glasses! The village kid’s party went down really well and tomorrow’s “Fiji Factor” and next week’s village fun day are sure to be just as successful. The fight is on for the quiz team of the project, with previous rounds of cracker eating, wheelbarrow races and twister all proving who the real men are!

Tonight is guy’s and girl’s night, with the boys having a poker competition and the girl’s a slumber party (although we have a feeling that a few of the lads will be joining; Ronnie in particular seems to be very in touch with his feminine side!) Saturday won’t be a day for relaxing though, as the team will be climbing the highest peak on the island of Ovaulau, Ruku Ruku, which should be a great challenge for even the fittest of TP members.

HIGHLIGHTS SO FAR: Stepping off the plane after days of travelling, our first outing in our jumba dresses and bula shirts, our welcome to the island, going to Nasara for a feast and hop hop, the tide being out so we don’t have to walk the twenty minute jungle trek to school, Nicole’s call from home telling her she’s been accepted to her Universities (congrats!), village feast for Jack the builder’s leaving, the girls digging a perfect trench, the village children knowing the words to Justin Bieber and Rihanna, pigs in the shower, chickens in the beds, frogs in the toilet, spear fishing (although our group haven’t gone yet), singing “Fijian boy”, buddy hugs (we love you buddies!), winning our first netball game 15-20, chocolate doughnuts, basically everything has been a highlight – WE LOVE FIJI!!

So mum’s and dad’s, “sega na leqa” – no worries, we’re all okay and loving life!

Becky and Amy, Moturiki Island, Fiji x

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Photos from Batiki Island, Fiji

Here’s all the fabulous new photos from our summer expedition team over on Batiki Island. From their incredible welcome into Naigani village to the start of the volunteer projects, it’s been a very busy week filled with new experiences, new friends and Fijian style fun!

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Batiki volunteer’s blogs; Abi’s first thoughts of Fiji

Abi Blog Pic. (1)

Heyhey everyone, should really say bula bula everyone!

Hope all is well at home.  After an epic journey here, with plane delays, broken down buses and a non starting boat, we all arrived safely at Calaqai Island, which was absolutely beautiful; it was seriously out of this world, it only took a leisurely 20 minutes to walk around the whole island.  Intense volleyball took place and a lot of sunbathing on the girls part, with of course the ultimate card game…mafier! 

Having spent 5 days climatising, getting to know everyone, with sevu sevu’s, grog sessions and dancing aka hop hop, we hop hopped over to Batiki Island.  You could say the journey was not quite as expected!  There were a few sea sick victims and it was pretty cold, it literally looked like we had jumped into the sea!  However, the welcome awaiting us made the last 2 or 3 hours a blur and we automatically felt at home.  The hop hop and grog begun, but not before meeting and greeting our families.  We were told that you may not know who’s in your family as everyone runs in and out and that could not be more true.  It is such a community here and there is one unit, where everyone comes together and everyone is family.  Speaking of unity, the people on Team 14 are all amazing, including the leaders.  We are all so close already and we have only spent a week together, by the end of it we will literally all be one big family (not that we aren’t already though!!).

Our adventure continued today with our main aim of why we are here; the project.  I am in Kindi this week and as expected, we ran out of fuel on the boat on the way over and were an hour late, heyho all part of it!!  The little kids were great and we are psyched for our days ahead in Kindi as we have got our plan going on!  The building crew came across a bit too much water than wanted as they dug but together they got through and the ones participating in school also started on a high.  The sports in the afternoon were so much fun too, everything is great!!  I’m a bit of a waffler so will try not to go on anymore but I am pretty certain that I can say on behalf of us all, we are having the most insane time, with lots of laughter and memories and with many more to come.  And as Sponge says, team work makes the dream work & we sure are living the dream at the moment.

Mum I am wearing my ladybird everyday and it sure is bringing me luck :-) Missing you all so much, hope you’re having an amazing time in Portugal and are not getting too brown, especially you Harry!  Gaggy and Grandad hope you two are looking after each other and you can fill me in with what’s been happening soap wise!  Little one, hope you’re enjoying your job and everything is good with you.  Robby you had better be staying strong or I’ll be having words when I’m back!!  I miss you all loads and love you lots, take care and be safe. 

To the bear family, little bear says hello and missing you lots, don’t worry though we are looking after her – although she did get thrown up on by a little kid today, which was quite amusing!!!  Jodie’s family, again lots of love to you all and finally, Karla’s family love and hugs. 

We all have each other’s back so to all our families and friends, there is nothing to worry about, we rise as a team and fall as a team and will be back before you know it! 

Abi Claydon, Think Pacific, Team 14

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Volunteers arrive to beautiful Batiki Island

Here are some magnificent photos of our summer ‘gap year’ volunteers as they head from their castaway island base to the beautiful shores of Batiki Island, and their new home for the next three and a half weeks as our volunteering initiatives get underway for July 2011!

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Moturiki team: Latest photos from Naicabecabe village

Here are a selection of new photos from our July 2011 team over on Moturiki Island, showing their arrival into the tiny Fijian community of Naicabecabe earlier this week as the team were greeted at the shore by their Fijian families and the very excited local children!