Our October five week expedition team arrive to Batiki and the start of their long anticipated volunteer project and Fijian adventure! After the fun of their castaway briefing and a stop in Fiji’s old capital Levuka on Ovalau Island, to refuel and stock up on last minute items, the team finally made it on to the boats and off to beautiful Yavu village on Batiki Island.
Our team were welcomed on the beach by the entire community and kids who were eager to meet their new friends from afar! The volunteers were introduced to their Fijian homes for the next four weeks and to their new Fijian families.
After tea the team held a traditional sevu sevu welcome ceremony with the Chief (Ratu) of the village and then it was time to break into dance for grog and hop hop until late into the night. The guys were all so happy to finally be on Batiki and after their time relaxing on the castaway island, for their real Fijian experience to have begun!
On their first full day in the community, our volunteers were shown around Yavu village, they visted the kindergarten school, built by our past team and then trekked all of 100 yards to the school compound, where they would soon be assisting in all elements of the school.
Next it was time to view the proposed building site, where lots of hard work will soon take place! The team will be building a library for the school to store all their stationary, reading materials and books.
In the afternoon it was time for the team to plan rotas! The team all decided what they wanted to do for their first week on project. Yasmin and our first ever Australian volunteer, Sanna, both decided to tackle kindi and they started with a bang, planning poems and songs and writing their own ones as well. Sanna even wrote out the alphabet Fiji style for the little kids in preparation for a big day of teaching. The girls also made pictures of flowers and cut them out so that the kindie kids could colour them and create their own garden. Creativity abounds and with this fabulous start, Kindergarten is going to be a whole lot of fun ahead!
On the build, the boys stepped up for the challenge for week one. Big Phil, Ellis, Oly and Callum got stuck into digging and sawing for the first couple of days as the foundations of the building came together nicely. By Friday the boys had the squaring of the building complete and all the posts concreted in and ready for the flooring braces.
As for school, Charlotte went straight into classes 7&8 to help Master Philippe with the older kids, Eva went into class 5&6 with mistress litia and Lauren helped out in classes 1&2 with madam luisa. Lauren seemed right at home in class 1&2 helping the kids with singing in the morning and then some English and maths in the afternoon. Charlotte was left with a massive task when Master Philippe had to leave for a day and she was in charge, but she took the class for the entire day with skill and ease. Eva has also settled into the swing of Fijian school incredibly well, teaching classes 5&6 with mistress litia.
Friday on Batiki saw the team and village celebrate ‘Fiji day’. The entire island went to the school for a big fundraising event. In the afternoon the team headed to Mua Village for a feast and then with what seemed like the entire island who came to visit for a massive night of hop hop and grog, which continued until the early hours!
Saturday saw the team wake up early and take a big trek to first rock, where the first ever people on batiki arrived centuries ago. They were lead by the children of yavu who are always exited and eager to spend as much time as they can with our volunteers.
In the evening Callum, Ellis, Olly and Lauren and our Fijian building manager jimbo, headed out crab hunting. It was mainly jimbo who caught all the crabs as the guys screamed and ran around! But they all seemed to enjoy themselves on their little hunter gatherer adventure all the same!
Already a week has gone by and on Sunday it was time for the entire team to have a good rest. The team attended village church in the morning with their families and after planning their roles for week two on the rota, it was time to kick back Fiji style! An afternoon swinging in hammocks and sleeping by the beach is the perfect way to regaining their strength for what will be another busy week volunteering on Batiki Island!
We will be uploading all of these photos to our Facebook Page for friends and family also
Vinaka, the tp team on Batiki!