Archive for September, 2013

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Alyse returns to her second home in Fiji


Blog-Yanuca - 5

About two and a half years ago, I was part of the TP8 team in Yanuca, Moturiki from January until March 2011. I can honestly say that the 10 weeks I spent in Fiji, particularly the 8 weeks spent in Yanuca, were some of the best of my life. It was an amazing and memorable experience, one that I am extremely grateful for. Teammate Laura and I stayed with a young family, who we both became really attached to and, like the rest of our team, had an extremely hard time leaving.

The build, sports and teaching were all great experiences, although if I’m being honest, my heart was in kindi, despite (or maybe because of?) its craziness. I distinctly remember the moment near the beginning of our time in the village, stargazing from the seawall, that I realized how difficult it was going to be to leave Yanuca. Planning my trip in high school a year prior, I wasn’t expecting to become so tied to a tiny village in the South Pacific, but I did. Before our team had even left the village I was thinking about how and when I could get back. After leaving Yanuca, I kept regular contact with my Fijian family and others from the village by phone and mail. Finally, after 2 years of missing Yanuca and my na, ta (Fijian mother & father) and sister beyond words, I was able to return to the village.

Blog-Yanuca - 2

A few months ago I finished writing my final exams and was Fiji-bound a few days later. I was able to spend a month back in the village loved every second. Being back in the village with out Think Pacific was obviously a totally different experience but equally great.  Simon and Harry were incredibly helpful in the logistics of getting back to the village and it was nice to know I could contact them if something came up during my stay (so keep this in mind if you’re thinking about going back). It was really neat to be able to do things that I didn’t get the chance to do during the expedition because we kept busy. This included all sorts of everyday things such as going out to the farm, fishing, cooking… I also learned heaps more Fijian, everyone loved speaking to me in Fijian and we all had some good laughs at my errors. People happily brought me all over Moturiki for all sorts of events and ceremonies. And while it was by no means planned, it was great that the kids were on holiday from school the first 2 weeks I was back, I loved being able to play with them all day!

Blog-Yanuca - 4

Everyone in the village bent over backwards to ensure my safety, which I have to say I really appreciated. I did manage to require a trip to the Bureta hospital to get my finger stitched up (my Na will likely never let me cut cassava again) but after all was said and done we drank grog there and had a good laugh about it, and now I have a great scar and story to go along with it. I didn’t think it was possible, but leaving the village this time was even harder than before, especially after being able to spend so much time with everyone.

Returning to Fiji

I became even more attached to everyone in Yanuca. Every evening I feel like I should still be there playing cards with the kids or drinking copious amounts of grog in the hall. What struck me most about my return to Yanuca was that despite the many changes that had occurred in the years since our project- new houses, new children, a second TP expedition- it still felt like a second home. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to go back to Yanuca and to see my Fijian family again and hopefully I’ll get back to see them again soon (I don’t think I can stay away for another 2 years).

Alyse

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Project Update: Waitoga Village Clinic


Waitoga Clinic

In January of this year Think Pacific were tasked by the Ministry of Health to build our first ever Village Health Clinic. As with many government departments in Fiji there is a huge lack of funding available for the MOH to achieve aims such as this. The Ministry do however have the supplies to stock a building with the medication needed and fund village nurses to look after the local communities, once a clinic has been established and approved to their standards. Following support by the Ministry, we are now proud to update our volunteers and say that Waitoga is now a fully functioning village clinic and is providing daily care to the villagers, improving the lives of not only Waitoga village but the whole of Nairai. We have since built a further 3 clinics for the communities of the Lomaiviti Islands and the Fijian Government have passed approval to enable these to be fully equipped and functioning. This will mean that our 2013 volunteers have ensured long term basic health care for 4 separate areas of Fiji, which is a remarkable achievement.

Waitoga Clinic (2) Waitoga Clinic (5)

Waitoga Clinic Waitoga Clinic (3)

From us at Think Pacific and all the communities we work with, we would like to thank our volunteers who donated not only their money through joining our expeditions, but so much time and effort volunteering on the project to make these facilities a reality. You have helped provide a vital resource to the outer islands and improve the lives of so many people and your hard work will never be forgotten by your Fijian families.

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

September volunteers enjoy their first few days on a castaway island.


Here are the first photos of our September 2013 volunteers who are currently living on tiny Leleuvia island. It’s been beautiful weather and our castaway island base really is paradise in the hot South Pacific sunshine!  The last few days has been all about getting to know one another and bonding as a group, enjoying some swimming, team building games and beach time and getting over the jet lag after the long flights to Fiji. Our volunteers have also enjoyed project briefings and Fijian government presentations and now we’re all looking forward to achieving the development projects ahead and the next adventure..living within the rural communities of Gau Island!

Gau Sept 13 - Leleuvia (3)

Gau Sept 13 - Leleuvia (1)

Gau Sept 13 - Leleuvia (6)

Gau Sept 13 - Leleuvia (9)

Gau Sept 13 - Leleuvia

Gau Sept 13 - Leleuvia (7)

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

TP Update: Davetarua School Dormitory


Davetarua Dorm – September 2012.
Our July ‘13 Nairai team was thrilled to witness the dormitory of Davetarua Primary School in action. Thanks to the hard work and amazing efforts of our September 2012 10 week team the girl boarders at Davetarua School now have an amazing new dorm to stay in throughout the week while they attend school. The girls proudly took our most recent Nairai team on a guided tour of their new accommodation describing it as colourful, warm and cosy! It is a far cry from the run down building the girls had been staying in for the past number of years and ensures they are well rested each night for their days spent at school. Again we in the UK and other developed countries sometimes take such things for granted and it’s not until you experience projects like this, as our 10 week team have that you can truly appreciate how much of an impact it can make to children who are aged from 6-14 years old. The villagers of Tovolailai and Lawaki would like to express their gratitude and let their new sons and daughters know they will forever be indebted to you for the efforts and improvements you brought to their villages and school.
Gap Year Volunteering Fiji (1)
Here’s an update for our September 2012 volunteers with pictures of Davetarua School Dormitory. it’s thanks to their hard work last year that the girl boarders now have a fabulous new accommodation to stay in throughout the week while they attend school. The girls proudly took our most recent Nairai team on a guided tour of their new accommodation describing it as colourful, warm and cosy! It’s is a far cry from the old, run down building the girls aged 7 -14 had been sleeping in for the past number of years and ensures they are well rested each night for their days spent at school. Clean and comfortable accommodation for children is something so basic, yet often taken for granted in other parts of the world and we truly appreciate how much of an impact our ten week team made.  We wanted to share a couple of pictures of your building in use and the villagers of Tovulailai and Lawaki also asked us to express their sincere gratitude and let their new adopted sons and daughters know they will forever be indebted to you for the efforts and improvements you brought to their villages and school.  Vinaka September 2012 team!
Gap Year Volunteering Fiji (5)
Gap Year Volunteering Fiji (3)
Monday, September 16th, 2013

Bula September team! Welcome to Fiji


Bula Fiji

Just to let all friends and family know that our September team have all landed safely into Nadi and our expedition is officially underway! Our volunteer team are currently traveling along the Coral Coast of Fiji’s main island.  Soon they will be enjoying our castaway island briefing and a few days of rest, relaxation and project briefings as we prepare to achieve some hugely rewarding volunteer aims in Fiji’s outer islands. Over the ten weeks we will be living and working closely with the teachers of Gau Secondary School in Fiji’s beautiful and remote Lomaiviti Province.  Our group will be teaching primary and secondary school lessons and delivering a youth and ‘house cup’ project – introducing art, drama, music, photography, young enterprise, debating, public speaking and daily sports coaching to the children.  We’ll be supporting a grass roots kindergarten programme and also refurbishing the school, including building a staff room for the teachers of Gau Secondary School. Aside from the project aims, we have lots of adventures and fun activities planned too, from jungle treks to spear fishing trips. After so much anticipation and planning, It’s fantastic to have finally begun!

Vinaka,

The tp team.

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Think Pacific and NEC Volunteer Scheme – Vinaka to Eddie and Niko!


A huge part of Think Pacific is the development of the youth in Fiji. Having gone from strength to strength over the past number of years developing our island expeditions on the outer islands of the Lomaviti Province, in 2012 the opportunity arose to widen our impact to Fiji’s mainland. After a number of meetings with various government departments we signed an MOU with the NEC (National Centre of Employment). The main purpose of this was to help create opportunities for local teenagers and young adults who had the desire to find employment but lacked the necessary skills or experience to do so. We saw this as a natural progressing of the development work we have been carrying out in the kindergartens and primary schools. And so in June 2012, Eddie and Niko became the first ever representatives of the combined NEC-Think Pacific development scheme. Eddie is 18 years old and from Fiji’s capital Suva while Niko is 25 and from Nasouri on the eastern coast of Viti Levu. Both showed great desire and determination in wanting to better not only their own lives but also that of their families and so TP were more than happy to have them as part of our team. Their main role would be to assist our building managers in the construction and completion of the designated building projects on our expeditions. This would give them the skills needed to gain further employment after their 6 month period with Think Pacific. They would then also work closely with our expedition leaders and play a vital part in helping our teams immerse into village life and the Fijian culture and neither of them disappointed. Not only did they achieve the aims set out in our MOU but both became an integral part of every team which they were involved in. As any volunteer who has been lucky enough to have worked with them will tell you, the expeditions just wouldn’t have been the same without them. As a result Eddie has secured a scholarship through AusAid to do a carpentry and joinery course at ATPC in Fiji. Here are a few words he wished to express about his TP experience:
“I would like to take this opportunity to say a big vinaka vaka levu (to think pacific) for accepting me in as a volunteer in helping village community, in building their halls and nursing station. This projects has really changed my way of viwing in helping others, and not forgeting the volunteers from the UK and other parts of the world for giving so much for us Fijians, thank you very much for your dedication to us”.
We hope that Eddie and Niko will both find employment in the future and that their experience with us has helped improved those chances. They will always be part of the TP family.
Niko
A huge part of Think Pacific is the development of the young people in Fiji. In 2012 the opportunity arose to sign an agreement with the National Employment Centre. The main purpose of this was to help create opportunities for local teenagers and young adults who had the desire to find employment but lacked the necessary skills or experience to do so. We saw this as a natural progression of the development aims of Think Pacific.  And so in June 2012, Eddie and Niko became the first ever representatives of the combined NEC-Think Pacific development scheme. Eddie is 18 years old and from Fiji’s capital Suva while Niko is 25 and from Nasouri on the eastern coast of Viti Levu. Both showed great desire and determination in wanting to better not only their own lives but also that of their families and TP were delighted to bring them into our staff team. Their main role has been to assist our building managers in the construction and completion of the designated building projects on our expeditions and enable them to learn skills needed to gain further employment. They have also worked closely with our expedition leaders and played a vital part in helping our teams immerse into village life and the Fijian culture.
Eddie
Not only did Eddie and Niko achieve all of the aims of their apprenticeship but both became an integral part of every team which they were involved in. As any volunteer who has been lucky enough to have worked with them will tell you, the expeditions just wouldn’t have been the same without them. As a result of their Think Pacific work experience, Eddie has secured a scholarship through AusAid to complete a carpentry and joinery course at ATPC in Fiji. Here are a few words he wished to express about his TP experience: “I would like to take this opportunity to say a big vinaka vaka levu to think pacific for accepting me as a volunteer in helping village communities in building their halls and nursing stations.  And not forgetting the volunteers from the UK and other parts of the world for giving so much for us Fijians, thank you very much for your dedication to us”. We wish all the best to Eddie and Niko for the future. They will always be part of the TP family.  And we look forward to enabling many more young Fijians to have opportunities for apprenticeships, training and scholarships through Think Pacific.