This is the first time I’ve been able to put any words down on the laptop, its contradicting saying that I haven’t had time in Fiji as it’s a very relaxing way of life for example, this morning we had our morning briefing at 7:45am before we all go off to projects, I had just finished my breakfast at 7:45am, my Fijian mum then tells me to lie down and that the clock is fast; Fijians are not great time keepers.
So it all started back on a very long flight to Nadi, then a bus journey across to Suva then a very wet boat journey to our first destination Caqalai, which is a resort island exactly what you would picture Fiji to be like: sandy beaches, clear sea, beach huts and takes about ten minutes to walk round the whole island. It was a great place to catch up on sleep from all the travelling, play some beach volleyball with some of the locals, experience Fiji culture with grog and a sevu sevu with one of the villages across the sea. One village came over to perform a meke, we got to know them with some help of grog and hop hop then towards the end of the night it turned into a huge water fight when they were about to leave, Fijians celebrate new year’s until January 31st by getting people drenched in water when not expecting it, this then lead onto bigger things with people getting dragged into the sea. After picking some sulu’s and bula shirts up from levuka the nearest town, it was time to head to Yanuca the village to meet our families and start the projects.
It was quite daunting at first, getting the boat to the village you were going to call home for the next 2 months, but the first sight of the village from the boat with the whole village dressed up singing and dancing waiting for you to arrive has got to be one of the best welcomes you will ever get. We then had our sevu sevu, which is a traditional ceremony to welcome you into the village, then Alelia my mum and niko my brother picked up my bags and took me to my home, it’s safe to say I’ve settled in quite well we are currently sprawled out on the floor after eating dinner (vegetable chop suey, having lots of vegetarian meals Rick and Jan you’d love the food, not quite as good as your cooking though Jan). The house is basic but homey, I was surprised to be welcomed to a bigger bed than my own back home.
So far I’ve been on the build for two weeks which was brilliant seeing it all come together, big jack the man in charge is awesome and is great to work with, a 52 year old man with the strength of the wrecking ball, he would often resolve problems with a hit of his fist on that piece of wood that just won’t fit, hammers slow him down, and a lot of the big problems would follow with him saying ‘’get the chainsaw.’’ I’ve now just finished my week at school teaching 7 & 8 with Emma, it was great fun and the kids were awesome well most of them anyway, they would give a lot of respect. Most of the children having to get boats over or walk through low/high tide just to get to school, our walk to school usually takes around 40 minutes through the jungle, through the sea to Motiriki island then a walk down the beach to the school, quite a different start to the day than I’d usually wake up to in Britain.
There’s a few other things that we’ve been up to: a trek up Ruku Ruku which was possible one of my best days here; AJ had her birthday which was celebrated by the whole village having a great feast together; a fancy dress party personally dressing up as a monkey, me and tomasi have decided is the only thing Fiji is missing is monkeys, jenny dressing up as Tabby Sal which I don’t know if anyway heard about but is a cat who got asked to attend court in America, TP8 are great fans; we’ve been snorkelling and were lucky to see some sharks; fishing with a few people from the village; Sundays are also a highlight to my week having a weekly competition of rock, paper scissors, which I’m currently drawing with Emma and generally catching up with sleep and reading; I’m also loving learning Fijian and have picked up quite a lot; and love coaching sports after school and then playing some rugby with the local boys and we will be having our first fixture soon.
Until next time, love to everyone. Moce, Jack