Archive for June, 2015

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Ra May Team – An emotional farewell to Nasau Primary School for our volunteer team!

Ra May - Leaving Assembly (1)

On Thursday we headed to Nasau School for the last time. We were seated in front of the whole school for a leaving assembly. At the start we received flower garland made by the boarding students before the headmaster welcomed and thanked us for our work. The tears then started once the year 2 teacher started thanking us for everything over the 4 weeks.

Benji then said a word of thanks before Holly handed over the sports donation which consisted of various balls, cones, cricket set, volleyballs etc. To stop us from crying years 2, 5 & 6 performed a Meke whilst year 8 performed a play. The assembly was rounded off with the whole school singing the farewell song to us which was definitely the cause of more tears. Before leaving we enjoyed refreshment with the teachers and quick photo shoots with the children. All in all it was a great way to say goodbye and a fitting end to our time in the school.

By Charlotte L

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Ra May Team – The House Cup Finals reach epic climax; ‘It was a highlight of the trip and the kids loved every minute of it!’

Ra May - House Cup Finals (4)

Wednesday was our House Cup Final, which was such an exciting day, After lunch we split into our 4 house teams and each performed out team song and team dance, with some examples as ‘Thriller’ and ‘Cotton Eye Joe’. We then presented our artwork to each other and the teachers who were judging.

We then moved on to the Sports Day competition which every child in school participated in. Games included an egg & spoon race, obstacle course, welly throw and relay races. We then announced the winner and our house, Blue House, won, although it was a close competition! It was a highlight of the trip and the kids loved every minute of it!

By Jenny & Jasmine

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Leeds Beckett Team – Sports Development Update; ‘It has given me great pleasure to be a part of improving the lives and minds of the youth out here!’

Sports - Vunikavikaloa (8)

Vunikavikaloa Primary

The nickname we have given the school of ‘Madhouse’ is never more fitting than when during sports. It was a great challenge of teaching sport but an exciting adventure. The sport I taught with Sarah was Volleyball. The very first day was a challenge teaching the Class 1 and 2s who understood very little English so teaching the specific moves of ‘digging’ and ‘setting’ was perhaps beyond them. So instead we played some smaller more active and loose games such as flipping cones and relay races, before putting in a monster effort that proudly resulted in some being able to just about dig the ball by the end of the lesson.

As we went through the week we made the sessions slightly more challenging with more sport specific coaching being involved dependent on whether they would be able to get it. It is fair to say our sessions improved as the week too as we both felt more comfortable with coaching Volleyball. The older children who still hadn’t ever played the sport properly were able to learn the right moves with the correct technique very quickly. This was brilliant as it meant we were able to move on to game situations and everyone’s competitive nature quickly came out.

For me this was the week I realised how important Think Pacific is within Fiji. It has given me great pleasure to be a part of improving the lives and minds of the youth out here. Hopefully next week will show similar success as this one; I already cannot wait to move on to the next school with a whole new experience.

By Tom

Sports - Central (6)

Nalawa Central Primary School

After a day spent chasing the Kindi kids back into the classroom, sport came as somewhat of a welcome ‘rest’. That idea was quickly removed when ‘rest’ soon became taking Class 1 for sport. The sun was out again which helped develop our already impressive vest and t-shirt tans.

On the Wednesday myself and Nick (mainly Nick) coached the rugby team as a warm up for a match they would play on Friday. We quickly found out that Fijian junior rugby is much more similar to English boxing than English rugby. There is still some pleasure in running rings around 12 year olds until you get flattened by three of them. The children throughout our time coaching sport were so positive and enthusiastic, sometimes this would go overboard, but their attitudes were fantastic.

When Friday came it was an exciting day as we played the Central’s local rivals of Nasau Primary School, the home of another Think Pacific team, at both Rugby and Netball. After coaching them throughout the week it was great to see the kids be able to channel their skills into a match. We were all very proud as the Netball team produced somewhat of a clinic, comfortably defeating the opposition. Rugby was a much closer affair. After taking the lead Central were one try down with a few minutes to go. With some major hits, and questionable positioning, Central were able to score at the death to force the draw. To see everyone together cheering on the kids, with TP on both sides, Friday was one of the most magical days so far!

By Chris

Sports - Vunikavikaloa (3)

Dobuilevu Muslim PrimarySchool

The sports coached this week were Volleyball, Rugby and Cricket.

With volleyball, a net was put up and Max and Ryan worked on getting the ball over the net and then into a rally. They did this by simply standing in front of the kids, throwing the ball, and the kids playing the ball back into their arms with as great accuracy as possible. It was essential to start basic due to the varying levels of proficiency. Luckily, with some good coaching by the end of the session everyone could easily clear the net, and small short rallies occurred.

With rugby, it truly depended on what age Jack and Lauren were given. The older ones showed a true aptitude to the game, which hardly comes as a surprise given the nations love for it. Therefore, after simple passing and tackling drills, they were put into game situations which were good to see. With the younger ones it was much simpler. Small passing was all they could manage; otherwise the sessions just consisted of chasing Jack, and or the ball. Perhaps not the most structured of sessions but certainly some of the most enjoyable.

Georgina and Jess pulled the lucky, or the unlucky straw, depending how you feel and had the young ones for most days. Like with Rugby they were content with races, chasing and general chaos. They worked on small throwing and catching drills for both over arm and under arm throwing, however, they saw it safest to save the bats for the older ones. Again it was at this level they could play Kwick-Cricket which took up all of Friday’s session before our TP team stepped in to play their own, very sub-standard game.

By Lauren

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Ra April Team – Kindi Finale; ‘I’m pleased that we have made a positive difference to the first stage of their education over the 8 weeks that we have been in Malake!’

Kids (19)

It was great that I got a chance to go back to kindy this week and see how much had changed since the first week when I was there. It has improved a great deal and it was good to see the kids smiling faces. There was a clear structure to the days and they had a good balance between learning and playing. The kindy teacher also seemed more relaxed and appeared to have taken on the advice of other volunteers in the previous weeks. She was very keen to try new things and welcomed the addition of “leader of the day” and “toothbrush club”, which appeared to be very successful!

However, Chris and I noticed that the children still couldn’t recognise the numbers 1-10 if they were out of sequence. So we decided to try out a practical way of learning instead of just repeating the numbers out loud. We made each of the children cuts of the numbers which they could colour in and decorate. Then we said to the class “find your number 1” and they would have to look through their pile of numbers for the correct one and then hold it up. This gave them all a chance to learn independently and in a practical way. The numbers could also be reused at any time in the future which the kindy teacher liked the idea off.

We also had a pirate themed day with the kids which they were very excitable about. We made paper hats which they painted and wore all day. We then went out on a treasure hunt to find numbers that were hidden around the school. It may not have been the best idea letting 4 and 5 year olds run around the school making noise and disturbing other classes, but they seemed to enjoy being out of the classroom, plus they found all the numbers and correctly identified them so it was a successful day!

Overall I enjoyed my week in kindy and I’m glad I got to go back for a second time. The children are always so happy and excited to learn new things. It is vital that the children learn the basic “abc’s” and “123’s” in order to create a solid platform that they can progress from. I’m pleased that we have made a positive difference to the first stage of their education over the 8 weeks that we have been in Malake.

by Sophie

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Leeds Beckett Team – Quiz night, homework club, grog & huge birthday celebrations highlights of a big week for Jack in Nausori village!

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This week was our first taste of kava drinking. The village organised a fantastic night of Fijian culture, were we as a team drank many a bilo and danced the night away! Tuesday was quiz night, a night of entertainment, challenges and a chance to find out a few stories on our TP team mates! The quiz consists of five teams with the winners of each weekly quiz taking on the challenge to write the following weeks. This weeks quiz came up with a classic task of naming as many of the 52 states of America within 5 minutes, I was disappointed in myself for only getting 31 but overall, a great night!

Wednesday was homework club with the High School kids in the village. It was a chance for us to help and assist the elder youth in the village with their weekly assignments. It was a good turn out and I truly believe both the children and the volunteers enjoyed it (even though some of the topics were well out of our league!). In the cases where we couldn’t help with the questions we helped with things such as essay structures and revision techniques. It also was a chance for us to socialise with a different part of the village which we all loved.

Thursday was my 21st Birthday and in Fiji it was certainly a big occasion. As a result I was treated to a Birthday ceremony with me at the head of the table. All my family were invited so we had a terrific celebratory feast with me being surprised with pizza and chips, I felt truly at home! I was presented with a special garland, handmade by my Mum, something I thought only Olympic gold medallists got given. It was a great occasion with my family and one I will always remember fondly. What a great way to spend my 21st?

Unfortunately, Thursday was a school night so we couldn’t celebrate to the maximum, however, Friday is Friday so a party was in order! It wasn’t just my Birthday but more on that later… In true Fijian style, the whole village had come together to prepare a communal feast. When I arrived I was dressed in a traditional Fijian outfit which really made me feel and look the part! However, although it may have looked special, the elaborate nature of the outfit meant that movement was restricted but that didn’t stop me partying the night away! We had two cakes for the respective Birthdays and as they were cut everyone sang Happy Birthday. It’s fair to say that Fijian’s love food so after one of the biggest meals of my life I cracked on and hophop’d the night away, drinking bilo after bilo of grog. It was a great night with both my village and Think Pacific family.

By Jack

Activities  (2)

Well my 22nd Birthday is definitely one to be remembered! I was greeted by a village hall filled with balloons and lovely food waiting to be served. I was then summoned by two ladies and told about a special Birthday outfit Fijian’s wear on their special day. Before I knew it I was head to toe in a garland sash and a patterned skirt and top (which I could barely move in, but that didn’t matter!). We all then took our seats and tucked into a lovely meal to line our stomachs before another big grog drinking session. There was plenty of singing, dancing and grog on the go which all added up to a fantastic Birthday celebration that I will remember forever.

By Liz

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Ra May Team – ‘Under the Sea’, Maps, Plants, Ballet, House Cup Dance & Football during Kindi, School & Sports programmes!!

Ra May - Week 3 - Kindi - Nabumakita (1)

Kindi – by Jasmine

This week in kindi was myself, Jenny and Sunny. We focused a lot on circle time, looking at numbers in English and Fijian and the alphabet. We could see a vast improvement from the kids throughout the week – which is a great achievement. This week our theme of the week was ‘under the sea’. Therefore everyday we focused on a different animal for them to create to make an aquarium at the end. We turned this theme into a competition and the best four ‘artists were rewarded with their drawing going onto the aquarium. Overall we had a fantastic fun filled week!

Ra May - Week 3 - School (Kirstie & Molly) (2)

Class 4 – by Kirstie

This week was my 3rd and trail week with class 4. Molly joined and we had a really good time with them! I’ve definatley see an improvement with them and they are much more responsive especially with reading in english. This week week we taught; a geography lesson on maps and capital cities, a science lesson on plants as well as basic literacy and maths. We were really proud of them at the end of the week as we split them all up into groups and gave them a quiz which they all did amazingly at. This shows that a lot of our lessons have actually gone in! The kids are much more confident around us now and the slow readers we have been working with have shown a lot more improvement. Upset to be leaving class 4 after all this time as they have been amazing to work with and I hope they take on board what I’ve taught them.

Ra May - Week 3 - School (Charlotte S) (8)

Class 7 – by Charlotte S

On friday I taught a Ballet lesson to class 7. All the boys laughed when I told them they had to dance for their lesson, however they were keen to learn too. I taught them the basic feet and arm positions, which they picked up really quickly!  I showed them how to do a pirouette and a first arabesque which they all loved. I then split them into groups to make a short dance at the end of the lesson. It took some persuading to get them all up to perform in front of the rest of the class. The girls were considerably better than the boys but there is definatley potential for a new Billy Elliot!

Ra May - Week 3 - House Cup (16)

House Dance – by Holly

Our House Cup for this week was dancing. For Kirsty and I, dancing is not our finest talent to say the least so we went in blind and the aim was to have fun. We based our dance around the classic ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ starting with some Irish high kicks and then for the kids in pairs and got them to spin each other around. One word….Carnage. Giving permission to Fijian kids to swirl each other around was probably our brightest idea. Next, we took some new moves from our Scottish night club experience and taught our group ‘big fish little fish’ and finished with the children on their knees acting as if they were making it rain money. The worst dance routine ever created but I had a blast and the kids are loving it too.

Ra May - Week 3 - Football (5)

Sports Coaching – by Charlotte

This week we coached football to all the years. We focused on basic skills like dribbling and passing advancing the difficulty with each year group before making it into a competition to make it more engaging for the children. At the end of each session we played a game of football which was more successful once the children grasped that they couldn’t touch the ball with their hands. Overall the coaching was a success although difficult not to make everything into a rugby/wrestling match!