The team have finally come to the end of their last week in Manuku with their families, it has been a very sad week for the team but as always an unforgettable one. At the beginning of the week the team finished off the build, painting the final coat on the hall inside and out and touching up any last bits on the window sills and doors, it looks amazing, the guys were really happy to see the final article after having 7 weeks of building it from scratch.
Ben File, Tom and Natalie also came up with a logo to go on the front of the building which represented the team for years to come and the village named the building METANICAGI, which means stormy winds, named so because Manuku village faces into the wind from the pacific ocean. Tuesday saw the team participate in another island netball and rugby game, for the netball a lot of our girls and guys joined in this time taking on the Fijians, but alas we were still not able to beat them. Alex and Danny joined the Manuku boys for the rugby game which was once again a high scoring game of rugby so for the crowd it was a very enjoyable game, Alex scored another 3 with Danny coming very close to his first but for a slight bounce of the ball just before the line.
After the games the team headed to Yavu for showers and food before presenting a tau tau to the village thanking them for allowing us to use their kindergarten for the project and saying goodbye to the village, afterwards the team stayed up grogging and hop hoping till the early hours and one of our girls Natalie stayed up the whole night I the hall drinking and dancing with the Fijians before everyone headed back in the morning to Manuku.
Wednesday and Thursday saw the team continue learning their mekes and also going net fishing with the village as well as generally relaxing and spending what time they have left with their families. Friday saw the opening of the community hall, it was a big event with many boats arriving from the mainland with more of the villagers’ families.
Natalie was chosen from the team to present the scissors for cutting the ribbon and then everyone headed into the hall for a proper Fijian kava ritual and some speeches from the villagers thanking the team for what they have done. After some grog and hop hop the team where then escorted to dinner by some Fijian warriors where a huge banquet was laid out for them.
Then it was time to head back to the hall for more grog and hop hop all night. For the teams penultimate full day in the village they held a fun day for the villagers to raise money for the village itself, there was a coconut shy, lime bobbing, penalty shoot-out, raffles, cakes and many sweets and drinks being sold to raise the money. It was a great day which all the team and Fijians got stuck into and the team managed to raise nearly $140 for the village.
The team’s last Sunday was a very emotional one, everyone went to church in the morning for the farewell service. During which one person from each of the teams families took it in turn to stand up and say some words to them about how grateful they are that they came and how sad they will be once they leave, there was not a dry eye in the place. Then the team read out a speech which they had all prepared together for the village, it was a very sad church service for everyone and after the team lined up outside to say thank you to all the villagers as thy exited the church.
After the service the whole community headed to the brand new community hall where they all had a huge feast together and finally the team’s last night in Manuku was upon them. They all went into the new hall for grog and hymns until 12.00 at night when the music started and the team began to dance with the villagers all through the night.
Sadly the night would not last forever for the team and as the sun began to rise for the last time over Manuku the team said a very emotional farewell to their families, the villagers of Manuku and the island of Batiki. It was a very quiet boat ride back to the mainland for the team where they were all thinking about the memories they will have from their expedition in Manuku village and the amazing new friends and family they have made.
The team will now enjoy a few days of relaxing and slowly getting back to normality in a few resorts on the mainland before making the last stop at Nadi airport where they will say their final goodbyes to each other before departing on to the next destination. On behalf of the whole of think pacific company we would like to extend our deepest thanks to the volunteers for making this expedition in Manuku village unforgettable.