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