Our gap year team got off to another flying start this week as the atmosphere in the village continues to pulsate. The first volunteering rota continued with our guys getting fully enthralled with project life. In school, the good work has continued to blossom, with heaps of ideas and inventiveness on offer to all the children at MDS. Molly has got the kids in her class using their imagination and developing their English with their very own Mr Men books and individual stories. A favourite being a ‘Mr Man’ who went on his holidays to New ‘Sea’-land! We’ve never heard of the place but it sounds good to us! ‘Captain Pete’ has continued the good work with their course work and some extra (more exciting) classes on geography and our planet. Pete also managed to leave behind a legacy of his legendary star chart, promoting good behavior in class 7.
Although swapping classes, Rhiannon has again been taking control of a class on her own covering for an ill teacher much to the delight of the kids in class 1. Their energy seemingly endless but with ideas like using cones to make maths more interactive it is no problem to her! Well done bud. Ben headed off out into the ocean for a lesson on the sea and its creatures this week. Learning with the kids about the vast wildlife in Fijian waters and splashing about in the process! Finally Tess, no stranger to getting innovative with class 6 managed to take some great lessons covering everything from writing formal letters to learning about the human skeleton. We also caught her dancing along with the kids from class 6 during their ‘Meke’ practice, so it’s easy to see why the kids love her so much!
In kindi, the “Kindi-Garden” was completed and stuck up, bringing life to one of the walls this week! From “flutterbees” to “monkeys” and “willy the worm,” it certainly is a garden bubbling and bristling with life and energy just like kindi itself. Well done to Katie, Soph and Jessie for an amazing time that the kids truly enjoyed. The increase in the numbers attending kindi by the end of the week is a credit to the girls.
Back on build, the team has made some sizable leaps and we now have the rough frame, shape and size of the build standing proud for all to see! Teamwork has been key on build this week and with all hands to deck walls have sprung up in no time! The build site has seen a lot this week and that’s not just with regard to building. We’ve seen pull-up challenges, hammering contests between Jacob and Josh to decide who will captain the rugby game, gymnastic displays from Sarah and the architectural integrity from Jody.
The souvenir collection is steadily increasing with the team all getting shown how to make bilos this week (a traditional Fijian cup used for drinking kava). With a lot of elbow grease and a helping hand from a few of our Fijian brothers, the bilos are looking like the real deal! We had our first rugby and netball matches this week with varying results. Even after dawning war paint the girls went down as ‘narrow’ losers to the school team. This proved to be only a warm-up game as they mixed in and played a game with the local ladies in a game where roars of laughter and giggling was a sure sign everyone had fun! Some mean defending by Katie accompanied some accurate shooting from Tess and Sarah while Lucy dominating the midfield a sure sign our guys will be set to improve in the next outing. The boys then mixed in with the Niubasaga men and took on Nasesara in a very tight game ensued with big Josh making some good ground with strong carries for our guys. Meanwhile, Ben was flying in to rucks like there was no tomorrow. Pete and Jacob were running things from 9 and 10 respectively and Harvey showing his pace and a wingers sniff for a score getting a crucial try that tied the scores 10 points apiece. With the game finishing a draw, a few sore bodies will have woken up the next morning but all of our guys enjoyed some competitive sport and are all hungry for their first win!
The weekend started with a bang as the team got dolled up for a Moturiki style birthday party for Sophie. It’s safe to say, getting a whole village to celebrate your birthday is a very special thing and a day Sophie and the rest of us will never forget. Dressed like a Fijian princess, Sophie drank kava and danced the night away and celebrated her 19th in true Fijian fashion. Saturday morning saw the leaders, Rob and Euan, joined by Captain Pete and a couple of Fijians taking on the Fijian forest in search of Bamboo to make rafts. Once the bamboo had been collected, the team went to work in using those useful Boy Scout skills in turning bamboo into a vessel fit for the Pacific Ocean. Molly and Jess worked on making a flag to scare away enemies (the smiley face was maybe a bit ambiguous), while Jacob, Jody, Ben, Pete, and Harvey set to work turning the raft into a wrestling arena. The TP raft may not have been perfect at floating but that is simply a minor detail as our raft sits majestically in the bay of Niubasaga!
After a quick shower, the team was ready to trek across to Nasesara for a meal and an extra special hop hop as the rugby club was hosting a fundraising evening. With the kava flowing and the Fijian songs blasting through the hall, it was a superb night of dancing and socializing. Due to some heavy rain, we ended up having a little sleep over in Nasesara and got picked up the following morning by the boat but that simply added to the fun.
It’s been another immense week here in Niubasaga and we’re all ready and set for the next adventures to begin…
Vinaka, Euan, Rob and the TP team in Niubasaga!