Archive for November, 2012

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Nairai Island – The end of an incredible Fijian experience!


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In the words of Ratu…‘there is a time for everything’ and during our final week and a half on Nairai we did our best to experience everything we could. Reaping the rewards of our hard work we sang, danced and cried arm in arm with the villagers.

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Our project day has included a decorative touch to the build, wrapping up our time in school, celebrating the end of a successful kindi programme and the opening ceremony of the girl’s dormitory. Nathan, Chris, Will and Fabio opted to take on the challenge of kindi for the final week.  The boys capped off an amazing 8 weeks for the children in style. Dedicating the last few days of the programme to party games, the week’s theme was to…‘smile’. On the last day the kids attended in traditional tapa clothing and enjoyed a huge feast in celebration of the successful kindi programme.

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‘Girls on build’ returned for the completion of the dormitory. Facing a tough job they finished the painting (and sanding) with an afternoon to spare. Bryony worked tirelessly to decorate the whole of the inside with hibiscus flowers. To think that 8 weeks ago the cement was still wet, our hard work is now tangible and….. the ’Hibiscus House’ is born!!

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Danni came out victorious with her logo and was granted the privileged to decorate the dormitory with her individual stamp, complimented by Fabio’s and Lizzie’s efforts. Notably Cyril the smiling TP snail!!!!

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Our time in school was brought to a climax with the Think Pacific awards ceremony. The morning was taken up with the individual awards, the winners receiving certificates in various categories such as Sportsman and Sportswoman, Endeavour and TP excellence. Culminating with the pinnacle of the awards…the House cup brought silence to the hall. The efforts of every ones extra-curricular activities had boiled down to this moment…and with the scores locked between two houses before the house photography was judged that morning…it was the Stingrays (Bernadette, Johann, Bronwen) whose efforts claimed the spoils and crowned them House cup winners!

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Included in our evening activities, we brought bonfire night to Lawaki and with a touch of nostalgia we sat around the fire as we did back on Leluvia. Putting a new spin on the play on our words activities Fiona introduced a golden hour with her ‘song association’ game.

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The opening ceremony was a day we had all been looking forward to for quite some time. Building our excitement with evening Meke practises it was the day rich with Fijian culture we all wished for. The Ratu began the proceedings with his touching speech, thanking the team for what they have contributed not just in terms of the girl’s dormitory but also the impact they have had on the community.

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After a prayer and the cutting of the ribbon there was a traditional kava ceremony followed by a sea of tea and cakes. Taking time to digest and relax it was all back into the dormitory for the performances. In what was a packed out room, shoulder to shoulder, the school children performed their house singing to the parents. With an eagerly anticipated meke performance up next we headed off to change into our traditional warrior attire. Returning to the dorm with spectators having to watch through windows the atmosphere was electric. The girls opened the performance and the boys finished a sensational day celebration of our achievements.

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Saturday’s event was exactly what is said on the tin. Kicking off with Danni, Bron and Bernadette’s oiled up tarpaulin the slip ‘n’ slide set the tone. Over at the stalls Fiona and Ally sold their cakes alongside Johan’s 10 minute mosh pit. Safe to say his tombola of prizes donated by the team stole the show! Either side of the stalls, Becci and Lizzy donated themselves to ‘soak the volunteer’ while Chris and Will proudly worked their coconut shy and Nathan and Fabs ended the Fun Day school fundraiser with an old school game of doubles football.

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Farewell grog parties brought our time to a fitting end. Spending the night in Tovulailai on the Monday allowed the team to return to where it all started, having dinner with their families and then heading to the famous shed for grog and hophop. After breakfast, the team and the villagers of Tovulailai headed over to Lawaki for the final day! After enjoying our final feast, the team were given time to rest before making their way back to the hall for the farewell all night grog and hophop session. Finishing the party at day break the team ate breakfast with their families and bid their emotional goodbyes!

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Winding down in the hammocks of the Beachouse we are enjoying one another’s village stories and reflecting on the things we have learnt from two amazing communities.

Vinaka vaka levu Tov and La’wacky

It’s been a ball!
Ps. Nnnnnnn tea!

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Nairai Island – The penultimate week of volunteering and village life


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With the waterfall trek still fresh in the volunteer’s minds, the team were on a huge high leading into the penultimate week. Fully aware that we need to make the most of our remaining time on Nairai, the team were straight into getting to grips with each aspect of project life.

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This week the school was occupied by Danni, Aly, Bronwen and Johann. Dani worked alongside Master Fara in classes 7 & 8, helping the pupils with their revision by introducing some fun games such as the million dollar drop and snakes and ladders. 1,2 & 3 were delighted to have Aly working alongside them this week as she introduced the basics to graphs and charts, with the children managing to produce their own. In Classes 4, 5 & 6  Bronwen and Johann were making the most of his own and Aly’s world map from the previous week with interactive geography games.  It is now clear to the children that we don’t all live in Buckingham Palace and we are not all related to the Queen!

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The building work has finished, with all the flooring and walling completed the tools have been locked away and out with the paint brushes. With more paint on the volunteer’s rather the walls it was surprising to see all the build coated with the primer and the roof with its 1st coat. A relaxed atmosphere with some dubious song choices made for a great week on the build.

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This week Bryony, Fiona, Becky, Nathan and Fabio joined the mayhem of kindi. With some glorious sunshine, it allowed for some active and fun filled outdoor playtime. The daily routine is now firmly in place and likewise with the kindi in Tovulailai it’s great to see the progression of the children.

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House singing got underway this week and has proved not only the children’s but also the volunteer’s favourite house competition. The Barracuda’s opted for a Grease classic, Stingray sang Imagine by John Lennon, accompanied by props. The Sharks a rendition of Viva la Vida by Coldplay and the Dolphins produced one of the ‘hall of fame’ TP performances with a mash up of Justin Beiber and One Direction, the highlight being a mind blowing solo rap.

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After school sports has brought many new activities to the island over the past 7 weeks. Non as unfamiliar as that of which Ally, Fiona and Lizzy have introduced, Cheer! Yes, the girls of Davuareta school have all been practising the same routine and hope to perform at the fun day next Saturday.

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Following our last week of structured sports coaching sessions which included, Rugby, Volleyball, Hockey and Football we have played some TP games before heading home at the end of our day. Contributing to a few highlights of the week has been the comedy 5 a-side game of football, which had a surprise turn out from an all-star Man Utd team. The line up being; Diego Forlan, John O’shea, Eric Djemba Djemba, Jaap Stam, and Phil Neville. Also what could be described as some ‘competitive’ games of dodgeball, all in good nature of course, added a great touch to our day.  Of which has nothing to do with any of the boys getting smashed in the face in the midst of their testosterone.

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Tuesday night the team were given the chance to fill the void of any souvenirs they may have missed out on. Baskets, fans, bracelets are the usual souvenirs the volunteers get a chance to make, but the villagers again went that extra step with some of the guys leaving with weaved fish, birds and bookmarks. It was a relaxed night with the usual village craic flying round the hall over a few bowls of grog.

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Wednesday and Thursday night were occupied with the start of our Meke rehearsals, a traditional Fijian dance telling ancient stories of their ancestors. Some complicated hand movements had the team worried of whether they do such a treasured custom justice, but after a few more practices and excited cheers from the villagers the team were soon in the swing of things. Bronwen making the extra effort to even learn the words, putting a Welsh twang into our Meke. Friday night saw the team again hop onto the boats for another village visit, this time to Waitoga. Again we were greeted by the whole village as they escorted us to the hall where a huge feast awaited our arrival.  After a huge ‘kana va levu’ the team were straight into the grog and hophop as the villagers were treated to our ‘tight’ Fijian moves.

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Nathan woke a year older on Saturday and to keep our eldest team member’s mind off getting old we headed out on another waterfall adventure. This time making our way through thick foliage to discover a secluded, sunken waterfall we snapped some sensational team pictures, before lunch it was already a birthday to remember!

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In the evening, we attended a traditional Fijian birthday party, whereby the birthday boy was dressed in tapa clothing (made from tree bark) and we all gathered for a huge feast. Followed by a big grog party in the hall we hugely appreciated the efforts Nathans’ family had gone to in preparing a once in lifetime birthday.

Following our project planning on Sunday we hope to leave nothing in the tank and blow the project out of the water in the final week with the house cup finals of sports, quiz, debating and photography, the opening ceremony of the dormitory and, the fun day.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Narai Island – All the recent adventures and photos from our ten week team!


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Having dried our eyes from the emotional farewell in Tovulailai, the team were ready to embark on life in Lawaki or as Chris likes to call it ‘La wacky’. Another fun filled week included, the welcoming feast, bilo making, family night and the feature Think Pacific 7s and Netball tournament, has had the team asking ‘where has this week gone?’

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With no kindi ever before in Lawaki, Dani, Bronwen, Lizzie, Fabio and Langer have been fantastic in introducing new learning concepts and launching the daily routine. With children from Tovulailai moving over to Lawaki to remain in Kindi, it speaks highly for how successful the Kindi has been on this project. The chosen theme for the next two weeks will be animals and this week in arts and crafts, the children have made turtles and birds, which have become their new favourite toys. However the ‘Hokey Kokey’ still remains the children’s favourite part of the day!

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The Build is coming along nicely with flooring becoming a mundane task for Chris and Nathan as they make it look easy whilst having deep conversations, giving each other advice on relationships, love and girls!!! Bernadette, Will and Bryony have also worked tirelessly with 2 walls completed and although it has only been a 3 day week on the build, over half the flooring has been completed. But as Nathan said in his love chats with Chris….’Sometimes that’s all it takes’

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This week in school Becki assisted Mistress Lo in classes 1,2 & 3 singing English songs and reading stories. Fiona helped out Master Fara in classes 7 & 8 correcting their work in maths and marking their comprehension. Aly and Johann have shown their creative side in classes 4, 5 & 6 with their impressive world map painting on the back wall of the classroom, much to the delight of the children and Master Simi. As it was only a 3 day week the team chose to do three big team games for sports. Tuesday the children got involved in a huge game of kick rounders, Wednesday saw a mini football round robin tournament and Thursday proved to be the children’s favourite with a huge game of capture the flag, however the Fijian pupils again shown the honesty by telling the opposition where they had hidden the flag.
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The evening’s events started on arrival on Monday with again another huge feast which the team wasted no time in getting stuck in to! Once the food digested the team demonstrated just how much they like to party as they entertained Lawaki village with the hop hop skills they have been nurturing throughout the last 4 weeks, much to the appreciation of the villagers.

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Family nights have been seen to be a favourite of the teams during their time in Tovulailai and Lawaki is no different as the volunteers lapped up the opportunity of getting to know their families, the team had grog and danced the night away as laughter could be heard throughout the village. The following night we got the chance to add to our souvenir collection, making ‘bilos’, a traditional cup made from a coconut shell which is used in the kava ceremonies.

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Thursday night gave the opportunity for Johann, Chris and Bernadette to take to the water for night spear fishing.  Although it wasn’t ideal fishing conditions with there being a strong breeze, their experience wasn’t affected as the guys appreciated the amazing views of the breath taking coral reef.
Friday was the start to one of the biggest weekends in Think Pacific history. For the 2nd time only, two teams would be united on 1 island!!!

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The Batiki team made the boat journey across the Pacific Ocean to their neighbouring island Nairai, for an amazing weekend that will only add to their experience. The teams came together on Friday night in Lawaki for a huge grog and hop hop session. The hall was jam-packed as the village and volunteers went big, showing an array of dance moves, causing loud shrieks of laughter to fill the room. It was great to see two teams come together as they wasted no time in getting to know each other.

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The following day was the tournaments and there was definitely a festival feel to the day. Each of the 5 villages entered a 7s team and 2 villages entered netball teams so with Think Pacific combining to enter a netball and rugby team, we was set for an entertaining afternoon.

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The girls opened the day with a game against Tovulailai ladies, although the TP girls were a lot smaller they were competing throughout and causing problems for the villagers. The game was played in great spirits as the teams continued to joke with each other. Unfortunately Tovulailai’s experience triumphed as they came out deserved winners. Think Pacific now had to win their next game against Lawaki in order to get into the final. There wasn’t much between the two teams as they went in at half time 6-4 to Think pacific. The 2nd half saw the girls continue to apply the pressure and extend their lead, however Lawaki were not going out without a fight and managed to claw their way back into the game. Again the women proved that little bit stronger and Lawaki booked their place in the final winning by a single goal. The overall competition was won by Tovulailai who edged Lawaki to the trophy by 6 goals.

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The boys from Think Pacific were welcomed to Fijian 7s with a bang, the Fijian boys footwork proving difficult to contain and their pace was too much for the boys to handle, the 1st game resulted in a 38-5 win to Vutuna. Our next game was against Lawaki and we needed a win to claim a place in the semi-finals. Now we knew what to expect we started a little better, claiming an early lead. The restart saw Lawaki level the scores. A further 2 scores from Lawaki saw us go in at the break 19-7. Nevertheless all the boys knew it would be an early exit if we was not to win this game, the comeback was on!! Some neat handling from Will, Olly and Chris, followed by Phil’s and Ellis’ barnstorming runs caused some space to be created; with Fabio and Callum happy to take full advantage and score some impressive tries! The scores were locked at 19-19 with a minute remaining, again on the back of one of Phil’s runs, we was able to take full advantage with Nigel putting Olly in for the winning try just before the final whistle went.

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Natauloa were the opponents in the semi-final and with the team on a real high, we were confident of causing another upset. Our defence was the key as we continued to pile on the pressure and pounce on any of their mistakes. This proved vital as we snatched a victory in the last minute to book ourselves in the final, against Vutuna!!! We were all fully aware of our previous match against this outfit, but growing in confidence each game, we knew the final was there for the taking! Which it was, with a minute remaining we was 5 points clear, but in the dying seconds, a well worked move saw Vutuna go in under the posts with a kick to come. All thought it was all over until the try scorer scuffed his kick underneath the cross bar. Extra time it was…we restarted the game thinking luck was definitely on our side. However Vutuna caught the ball, stepped and went under the sticks straight from the kick off…game over!! The loss didn’t affect our spirits though, what an amazing experience for everyone involved. The party continued in Tovulailai with an intense grog and hop hop session as the trophies were presented to the respected winners.

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The coming together of the whole island and two Think Pacific teams was a memorable experience, which will surely be a highlight for many of the volunteers. The weekend closed with a huge church service followed by an even bigger feast. Afterwards the teams bid farewell and good luck to each other for their remaining time on project, for Nairai, we now have 3 weeks left on project as we go into week 6. With spirits high the team are desperate to make the most of it!!!!

Building Project

Week six on Nairai Island was an inspirational, educational, and sensational project week, packed with adventures, village visits and public speeches!

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Building our girls dormitory has been an intimate affair with only four on-site. The atmosphere whilst continuing with the walling and flooring has been relaxed. Until Jack’s bombshell on Friday that was, when it was all hands to the pumps in mixing the cement for the steps.

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In the last week of our 3rd rota, the girls were all given extra responsibility in school. Fiona continued with her health science lessons, introducing the ‘football goal’ quiz, having a great impact on kids engagement. Teaching ‘time’ to the rugrats of 1, 2 &, 3, Mistress Lo commented on how controlled Becki’s lesson was, and how time flew. Furthermore, the phonics lesson which Ally delivered during the small study groups has seen the biggest strides in the learning of the group.

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The reduced number of kids in Lawaki have quickly become familiarised to the kindy routine, in particular ‘song time’. And so, Lizzy, Chris and, Bronwen introduced a touch of kindy gold with their new song and dance. The Maccarena!!

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Public speaking has been the house cup activity, of which the children have put the FACES ideology into practise. Familiarise, Animate, Confidence, Eye contact and Speak clearly.  The children recited famous words: Wiliam Walace’s braveheart speech, the president’s speech in Independence day, If by Rudyard Kipling and the spoken lyrics of the Sunscreen song. After one of our standard journeys when the heavens opened as soon we jumped onto the boats. We changed into our formal clothing and Tom into a spare pair of the villagers underpants ready for a big night in Vatuna. Visiting the village on the opposite end of the island we were welcomed with a feast, sang our team song ‘Aint no maintain high enough’ and enjoyed a Friday night grog party. P-A-R-T- Why? Because we gotta!

Health Week

Following the success of our community health day in Tovolailai we hosted another morning, interacting with the adults of the village in preparing and presenting educational posters. With an extra three weeks of village life under our belt and evaluation of our first attempt, we tweaked the poster topics to what we considered most relevant; diet, cuts and scrapes, dental hygiene and smoking we chose. Placing the posters up in the community hall and stressing the Fijian sweet tooth we hope to achieve an instant impact at tea time. In swapping a table spoon for a tea spoon!

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Throughout our two weeks in Lawaki we have heard whispers of a waterfall out in the bush. With a free afternoon on Saturday we set off on a mini adventure which formed an almost resounding clean sweep of the team’s highlight of the week. After a 30 minute trek we climbed the secluded 30ft waterfall to witness a breath taking view of an unseen and untouched world. Even though it did add to Will and Chris’ excitement, I’m sorry to break it to you boys but it actually wasn’t the set of Jurassic Park. A sight which very few kavalangi’s (visitors) have laid eyes on was summed quite nicely by the words of an anonymous team member in saying ‘goosebumps never lie’.

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Following our project planning meeting on Sunday we have vowed to make the most of our remaining time. Creating a team bucket list we plan to further ‘the quest for the lost shoe’ with an orienteering style treasure hunt, a five a-side competition in the village and especially for Fiona – a jumping sunset picture of us all on the beach!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Batiki Island – The School House Cup and a sad farewell to Fiji


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It’s been a very important last week for the Batiki team as the project comes to an end. Everyone is making the most of their time left with the villagers, the children and their Fijian families.
With just a final few days to complete the building and to inspire the kids in the different youth and sports projects, everyone was ready to bring all the initiatives to a big culmination!

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In kindi, Phil combined his final lessons with the children, teaching numbers and different colours, with a ‘Kindi Fun Day’ on the last day, where he took all the children to the beach for a picnic and games. In school, Sanna continued with classes five and six, giving a real big push on the house speaking as their much anticipated competition came closer. Callum remained in classes one and two, succeeding in organising replies to pen pal letters from every school class, he was naturally very happy, as were the children with their new found pen friends from afar!  A great individual project and massive vinaka to Callum for all his efforts!

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For our last week on building project Lauren, Olly, Ellis, Charlotte, Eva and Yasmin all got stuck into painting, as well as starting on the corrugated walling. After two days of very hard work the walls were up and our building finally had an outer shell. It was then just the finishing touches to go and the completion of the tables and shelves. Finally, the volunteers all came together to design a logo that was personal to their team so that anyone visiting the island would know it was made by them. Once the logo was completed and the entire site was cleaned the team could finally sit back and look at the finished article of the new Library and School Office!

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With the building, youth and sports projects all nearing their end, the teams attention turned to meke practice and preparing themselves for Friday when they would be performing to the community. During the week Eva, Sanna and Phil also enjoyed the chance to head out night spear fishing and aside from dodging some uninvited jelly fish (!), they had an amazing time. Phil managed to spear himself a fish while Eva went one better and caught two. Unfortunately our team leader and Sanna left the water without a catch and as the saying in Fiji goes, no fish, no lunch!

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Tuesday afternoon saw the girls have a community netball match with the villagers and in the end the Fijian ladies beat our think pacific team by 24 to 19 but it was a very closely fought game and everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and competitive spirit!

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Thursday afternoon saw the team take the kids for their ‘Sports House Cup Competition’; A great battle of minds, talents and physicality was needed to complete the challenging sports of….the sack race, three legged race, relay races and the long throw!  Once the kids had completed all the different areas it was time for the team themselves to participate! Separating into their own houses the guys competed in the 4 sports and just to show off their skills even more to the children the team got the kids involved with a wheel barrow race as well! It was a very fun afternoon for the kids and the team alike.

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For their last day on the island the team headed to school for the opening ceremony of the building project. First the team held a fundraiser, selling cakes, sweets, juice and raffling off a think pacific ‘sulu’ for the school kids, this managed to raise a further 120 dollars, which will be put towards the school funds. After the fundraiser, the team were invited to an assembly at school, where there received words of thanks from the school teachers and a prayer was held before Batiki District school officially opened their new library and office. Men and woman from all the villages turned up to give their thanks to the team for what they have achieved.

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Following the opening ceremony, it was time for the decider of the house cup! The children who had been learning their speeches went first and performed in front of the island before the team joined their school houses and performed their songs to the judges. After 4 weeks of the team doing different house cup activities, it was finally time for the presentations and the overall school house winner to be decided.  The arts and crafts competitions and the sports cup were won by ‘logo logo’ and ‘Vono’ took the honour of winning the photography competition. After a superb house speaking contest, It was Vono who prevailed winners in this also. This bought the competition down to the ‘House singing competition’ for the decider. Logo logo performed ‘no light no light’ by Florence and the machine while Vono chose ‘Don’t stop me now’ by queen.

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After a bit of time for the judges to debate their overall winner, they decided that the house singing was in fact a draw, so for the first time in Batiki School History, the house cup competition was shared between the two houses, a great way to end the year for the house cup and all the hard work that every volunteer and child has put into making the programme so successful!

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After the cup was presented to both teams, our volunteers then performed their meke to rapturous applause form the villagers!  Finally, the team were invited to a farewell tea and cake party in school organised by the teachers. The team’s last evening in the village saw a farewell church service, where they performed the song Amazing Grace to the villagers and the community leaders also said a few words of thanks for everything that the volunteers had done for them.

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The night was finished off with a huge meal in the community hall, before the team got their best dresses and sulus on and it was time to start the grog and hop hop dancing into the night. The party lasted through until the morning, when with heavy hearts, it was sadly time for the Think Pacific group to say goodbye to their families. It was a very emotional morning for the team to leave their island.

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It is hard to believe how much the team have learnt and accomplished for the village in the short space of 4 weeks.  They tried their best to slow down time but unfortunately it had finally caught up with them. We are sure that the golden sandy beaches, coconut leaves, beautiful seas and the big friendly smiles of the villagers have been a huge inspiration for everyone and we hope that we have left a legacy for the village and Batiki School.  We are sure that the memories of Batiki will stay with our volunteers for life.

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The team are now enjoying their final few days of relaxation in Fiji’s beautiful beach resorts of Viti Levu, before heading their separate ways. On behalf of think pacific we would like to say a great big vinaka vaka levu to the Batiki team for everything that they have done and we know that they will forever be missed by the villagers of Yavu and the island of Batiki.

Vinaka!

Luke, Lulu and the tp team x

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Batiki – Island trekking, reef fishing and village feasts caps off a busy week of volunteering in Fiji!


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As our Batiki team finish their penultimate week on project they are wondering where the time has gone. After a crazy weekend on Nairai, come Monday morning the team were straight back to work.

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In school this week we have had Callum return to the classroom in his teaching role, but this time he decided to help out in classes 1&2, taking the kids for their poem and song practice in the morning and helping with various studies in the afternoon. Sanna has gone into classes 5&6 to assist and this week the kids are learning a speech called Invictus, which they will perform to the school at the end of next week.

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Sanna has chosen the best speakers to perform, one from house ‘Vono’ and one from house ‘Logo Logo’.  Similarly Eva has been busy helping out in classes 7&8 and has another speech to teach the kids; a quote from a film called Any Given Sunday. Both of our girls have three more days left of school before their chosen kids have to perform their speeches to the teachers and school and a big moment for the students, who rarely undertake any public speaking!

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In kindi this week Phil has decided to take up the mantle for our last week of projects for the under-fives, leading an animal task and getting the kids to draw pictures of animals, which live in different types of habitats. Phil has also brought over some frisbies form England, which were welcomed with much excitement and the kids have been going crazy playing with them whenever they can.

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For our building volunteer project, Lauren, Yasmin, Olly, Ellis and Charlotte have all decided to get their hands dirty one last time! Over the last week the team have completed the flooring of the Library, painted the under coat and over coat of the roof and also painted the inside. They have attached the window frames ready for the louver blades and also made a table for the office as well as some shelves and the door. The entire building is nearing the end. Once the walling arrives the build will almost be complete and what a huge achievement from everyone!

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For the last week of sports coaching, Phil, Ellis, Olly and Callum have decided to coach some hockey to the kids, Charlotte and Eva are taking the kids for rounders and Sanna, Lauren and Yasmin have decided to lead netball for their final coaching sessions.

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Outside of project this week the team have been insanely busy, the whole team have been learning a meke, which is a traditional Fijian dance telling stories of ages old legends, which they will perform in front of the village on their last day on the island. The meke is very intricate and there’s  a lot of actions to master! After several practices the guys are looking pretty good and everyone is getting ready to perform in public! Wednesday this week saw the team organise a fundraiser for the school as they created stands and sold, juice, cakes, sweets and other items as well as painting nails all in order to raise money for the school. The team managed to raise $60.60 by the end of the night, so we would like to give them a big thank you for all their efforts.

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Friday saw the team trek across the island to the village of Naigani, where they presented a sevu sevu to the village and were welcomed by the village ladies preparing some tea and cakes for all to enjoy.  The team then trekked across the beach to the neighbouring village Manuku, where they were able to wash and change before presenting another sevu sevu and then having a huge buffet meal in the community hall. The team then enjoyed grog and had hop hop with the villagers until the early hours of Saturday morning.

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Saturday saw the team head out to sea with the villagers of Manuku to try their hands at net fishing on the reefs. The guys took snorkels and masks so they could go for a swim as well and see the incredible marine life surrounding Batiki Island.

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After a couple hours out on the reefs the team returned with a very impressive catch! Everyone seemed to have loved the chance to sample Fiji style fishing, a unique experience that the teams always enjoy.  In the afternoon, the team were treated to lunch as the villagers cooked the fish they had just caught – certainly the freshest fish many will ever taste! The day finished with the team heading for the hammocks to relax.

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Next it was time to trek to a nearby peak called Dalai Loa, where the group could see the entire island and the reef, an amazing view at the highest point on Batiki. It was a slow walk back to Yavu and after all the adventures the team had even more fun and partying to come.

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We took up an invite to nearby Mua village, which were celebrating three birthdays and wanted the volunteers to join them for the celebrations. The team had a meal in Mua before lots of birthday cake was enjoyed. And with it being Saturday night, the team had hop hop dancing until 11pm when the music stopped and the Fijians then sung hymns and enjoyed grog until after Midnight. After a very fun packed but tiring weekend, the team decided to head back to Yavu and to bed.

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As Sunday came the team attended church with their families and got to experience a church service taken by the children of Yavu. The afternoon saw most of our volunteers lying in the hammocks and generally relaxing on the beach, preparing themselves for what will be their last week in Yavu village on Batiki and a very emotional goodbye to this wonderful place.

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Batiki – A huge week of volunteering finishes with an adventure to Nairai!


Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (17)

Well it has been another full week for our team on Batiki this week, a new rota has seen Lauren, Yasmin, Sanna, Olly and Eva all attack the build,  in the past week the build has really taken shape, the frame has flown up so now all the walls are completed including the window frames and door frame.

Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (14) Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (15)

They have also completed the roofing rafters and by the end of the week the team were able to attach their first piece of roofing. As a thank you for getting so far the ladies of the Yavu village presented the team with a piece of traditional Fijian material which the team attached to the newly formed build as a flag.

Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (11) Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (16)

In school this week we had Phil in classes 7&8 and Callum in classes 5&6. Phil was quick to get stuck into teaching maths as he has just completed a mathematics degree himself, which is proving very useful! Meanwhile Callum was busy getting all the kids to write letters to his old primary school in England. Prior to leaving for Fiji, Callum had arranged for the children in the UK to write letters to the Fijians kids asking them all about their lives on the island. The kids Fijian children loved the idea and some wrote 2 or 3 letters in reply!

Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (10)

Ellis and Charlotte took up the mantle of kindi this week, organising all the little ones from the villages and arranging different art classes for them. During the week the kids have been drawing around their own hand prints and colouring them in as well drawing their favourite animals. Ellis and Charlotte very quickly has the kindi kids under control!

Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (8)

The team rotated sports coaching this week as well, Callum and Olly are taking the kids for rugby, Charlotte and Eva decided to lead rounders, Sanna and Phil took the kids into the sea for swimming lessons, while Lauren, Ellis and Yasmin coached volleyball..

Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (18) Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (3)

Outside of project the team have been learning how to make Fijian bilos, which are coconuts cut in half and then sanded down to form a cup and used to drink ceremonial kava. It is a great tradition and a chance for the team to have some souvenirs to take home with them too! The team also had a bonfire on the beach and a relaxed evening, playing with the kids, while the sun set on the distant island of Ovalau.

Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (6) Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (12)

At the weekend the team headed over by motor boat to the island of Nairai where our September ten week team are completing their project, it was a chance for the team to meet the other TP volunteers and to see another island. It was also a great opportunity to compete in a netball and rugby tournament. The combined group of Nairai and Batiki TP girls was not enough to beat the pure talent of the Fijian women and our girls came third in the island championship.

Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2

Our boys took to the rugby field and after losing their first game, came back strong and managed to make final of the competition where unfortunately after the end of the game being a draw and going into extra time the team were beaten by the village of Vatunu.

Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (5) Batiki Oct 12 - Week 2 (2)

Our guys and girls had an amazing time during their exploration to Nairai and it was an immense occasion having two TP teams come together and share their Fijian experiences.  They visited the village of Tovulailai where they stayed for a couple nights and also trekked to Lawaki village, where they enjoyed grog and hop hop in both villages. We were invited to a church service in Lawaki on Sunday after which, both expedition teams sat down with Lawaki village and enjoyed an incredible feast before our team had to say their goodbyes to the Nairai team, the villagers and their beautiful island. Once home on Batiki, the team had a much needed rest back in Yavu village and prepared for another big week ahead of volunteering in Fiji.