With the team coming towards the end of the expedition and becoming fully accustomed to Fijian life, it was easy to see, how these final two weeks were going to make for a remarkable finish. The team are now embedded within the Uluibau community and are going to be truly missed by their new adopted friends and families. Nevertheless going into week 3 there was still a lot of work yet to be done and the team wasted no time in getting to grips with the challenges ahead.
This week the build was occupied by Alice, Craig, Jodie, Stephanie, Ella, Jodie, and Natalie. With building work needed to be completed by the end of this week in order for us to start painting, the volunteers had a huge job on their hands. Still this team love the challenge and set about the build as usual. On Monday the volunteers started the doors to the toilet cubicles, Tuesday was a huge day on the build with doors finished, windows fitted, sink and toilets fitted and the pipework started. Although the team worked their blood to water Tuesday they still didn’t let up Wednesday, with the doors fitted and the pipework to the septic tank completed.
Thursday saw the introduction of the paint brushes with the team starting the first coat for the roof; they also started digging the way for the overflow. At the start of the week the team were made aware of the challenge ahead and they didn’t fail to deliver as the build was completed on Friday, with the sealing of the septic and plumbing completed. It was a huge effort by the volunteers and now puts us in a great position to start the painting and complete the build by Wednesday next week.
Kindi was a huge success as the daily routine again went from strength to strength with the help from Aimee, Jenny, Torquil, Steffi and David. With a few birthdays within the class it was always going to be a hectic week, but the volunteers were superb and the children loved the party atmosphere, felt throughout the week. The new Kindi was also decorated this week with numerous wall displays such as days of the week, the human body, a birthday display and the all-important behaviour chart.
This week in school was the one that all school children dread….Exam week. But with help of Alex in 7&8, Holly and Stephanie in class 4 and Jilly in class 3, the children were relieved to have that extra helping hand. The volunteers held revision classes throughout the start of the week and assisted in correcting any mistakes the children were making. They worked extremely hard and proved a huge help to the teachers and an enormous benefit for the children in trying to achieve the highest possible grades for the classes.
Sports coaching was again, as fun and as loud as ever, with the volunteers choosing to carry on with the same sports as the previous week. The team have really come into their own with the sports coaching and the children are constantly looking forward to their next session, persistently asking ‘what sport have my class got today’.
The team have now started to realise, that their grog and hop hop experiences are coming to a close, so the team headed into week 3 ready to party. Starting with Monday evening when team relaxed at the back of hall learning to weave bracelets to add to their souvenir collection, before the women arrived and the party began. With the band playing till midnight, the volunteers were put through their paces when dancing, the highlight being Alex’s dance moves, proving a favourite amongst the villagers. Tuesday hosted the quiz night, again with David and Alex quizmasters there was always going to be some interesting questions.
Wednesday night the volunteers hosted a kids hop hop night, with the kava substituted for ‘tang’ and the school children taking over the music duties it was always going to be a lively night. Thursday night was an evening, whereby Torquil, David and Alex won’t forget in a hurry as they had the chance to experience night spear fishing. All the boys caught adding to the surreal experience, which proved to be an incredible night that the guys will certainly be sharing with their friends and families back home.
With the week seeming jam packed already, the team were also having to find time to prepare for the fun day, a day which brings a festival atmosphere to the village with all your original summer fair stalls and activities and if that wasn’t enough the team were also learning a girls and boys meke dance to perform to their fellow villagers.
Friday afternoon, the village of Uluibau and the volunteers travelled across to the sports pitches of Moturiki district school, to lock horns with the village of Navuti in rugby and netball. Both games were closely fought and highly entertaining with Navuti taking the spoils in both encounters.
With the volunteers working hard throughout the week and the village filled with excitement, Saturday couldn’t have come soon enough, as the team hosted Uluibau’s village fun day! The afternoon proved a great success with people turning up from all over Moturiki to take part in the various stalls and activities.
With David and Alex in the stocks for soak the volunteers, it was always going to be a fans favourite with a line of eager children waiting to get their hands on the sponges. The cakes again didn’t take long to sell out as the stampede of villagers raced in an attempt to be the lucky few to get their hands on the delicious Oreo chocolate cake. The day finished with the much anticipated mekes, the villages screeches could be heard throughout the team performance of the traditional Fijian warrior dance. It was a successful day which helped raise $150 for the village.
Week 4 began with a bang. Monday evening was fancy dress grog and hop hop, the theme being…cross dress! The boys swapped their bula shirt and sulu’s with the girl’s jumba dresses. A hilarious evening spent dancing with full grown Fijian men in dresses set the tone.
Our toilets have been completed and the decorating has given the building a great finish. Ella designed a tribal style print which we all helped paint with our last few working days. The house competition reached an exciting climax with the debating finals won by the Yellow team and the Blue team taking the spoils of the quiz. Sports were passionately contested by all.
On our final day in the village, Uluibau hosted a farewell church service. It was an emotional service, with the volunteers performing thank you speeches to the villagers for all their help, hospitality and friendship shown over the last 4 weeks. This left the whole service teary eyed, as the reality set in that the volunteers would be departing the next day. The whole village then congregated in the hall for a huge farewell feast.
The team have certainly had grog and hop hop sessions in abundance throughout the expedition so it was no surprise that Uluibau went big for the final part. With the party going right through till 6 o clock in the morning, giving the volunteers enough time to collect their bags and have their final breakfast with their families.
It was then time for the team to bid farewell to their new found families and friends and the village of Uluibau for the final time. Our team headed from Moturiki and on to some well deserved rest and relaxation at the beautiful beach resorts of the Coral Coast. A few days of sunshine and beers and enjoying their last week as a team were very welcome but it was a sad time also, as our July team look back upon an immense month shared with the incredible people of their Fijian village.