I’m writing this in 30 degree heat, passing time at LA airport, having just taken a very comfortable 10 hour BA flight from London. I’ve been up for 20 hours already and I have another 15 to go! I’ll be boarding for Fiji in a couple of hours and I can’t wait to arrive in Daku and see the completed projects and the much anticipated ‘Daku-fest’ for myself! The updates from the TP team in Fiji have been fantastic and the amount of project work they’ve completed is truly immense. They’ve built the footbridge, renovated the clinic and kindergarten and built the village kitchen from scratch. Added to this, there have been so many hours of support for the local children through the homework classes, youth clubs and kindi classes, and a huge amount of sports coaching. The team have gone volleyball mad, coached the biggest rugby clubs on the island, started grass roots football training, introduced cricket to a great reception and started a revolution in rounders!
The volunteers have had a real learning experience and I’m sure they’ll all confirm that a Think Pacific expedition is definitely not a holiday! There has been culture shock and immersion into Fijian culture and kaiviti life, and they’ve all had to get used to bucket showers and pit toilets, but it’s amazing to see how quickly they’ve adapted and how settled they now seem living and working in a remote Fijian village. There have been cuts and scrapes, mosquito bites, and upset stomachs and trips to the local clinic as our volunteers battle through the tougher elements of island life. It’s been an adventure in the truest sense of the word; taking them out of their comfort zone, experiencing the heart of the South Sea Islands, and overcoming challenges as a team. They’ve been trekking volcanoes in the rain, spear fishing at night and enjoying fancy dress bonfire parties in the evening. They’ve all formed close friendships with their Fijian families and really bonded as a team too, and they can all be very proud about what they’ve achieved over the last few eye-opening weeks.
Our volunteers now have their final couple of days in the village and i’m sure it will be sad goodbyes to the people of Daku on Monday morning as they depart. Then it’s time for the adventure stage! Next week involves white water kayaking through the river canyons of the Namosi Highlands, camping in the jungle, a grog party on a castaway island and a well deserved beach bonfire, rest and relaxation by the pool in Nadi Bay.
It’s going to be a fabulous two weeks ahead. I’ll make sure we’ve got lots of photo’s of Daku fest and the activities in Fiji to post when I get back in Mid August. Then it will be time for the Fiji team to focus upon the September expedition, and we have even bigger project aims, including a huge and much anticipated sports and youth festival, and even more adventures, including the fantastic tall ship sailing safari awaiting our three month team!
Loloma for now,
p.s. As it was such a nice email, I thought i’d share a comment from Robert’s family too..
Before you head off to Fiji I thought I would take this opportunity to congratulate you and your colleagues on the great achievements of the TP team in the village of Daku. We have all followed the blog with great interest and have both enjoyed reading the comments and been extremely proud of having Robert a part of the wonderful work that you have been doing. Although the stay in the village has not yet finished, we are sure that the villagers will be very grateful for all you have been doing for them. We, Robert’s family, would like him to bring home the name and address of his ‘family’ so that,we can keep in touch with them. Have a safe journey Simon, and once again many thanks for all your help with organising Robert’s trip. Lots of luck for your future ventures.
Love to all the Think Pacific members.
Glenis and the Livesley family.