Here are the first photos of our gap year team in Naigani village, Batiki Island. The The first week in the community has involved lots of building and the team are well into the construction of the village community centre. Everyone has been eager to learn new skills and throw themselves into some hard work and the foundations are almost complete! The team arrived to a massive welcome, with villagers greeting them from the boats and introducing them to their new home in the South Seas. There’s been lots of time to get to know the locals too, with traditional feasts, parties and grog nights. We’ll have a diary from the team to follow shortly..
Posts Tagged ‘building project’
I’ve officially been back in cold, snowy England for three days now and I already want to be back in Fiji! I miss everything about it so much; seeing the children’s happy smiley faces, everyone saying “Bula” and inviting me into their house for food, all the banter and laughs with the tp team and just feeling such a part of the village. I really can’t believe how quickly the 10 weeks has gone.
Every single part of the expedition has been amazing and I loved being involved in all the projects, spending two weeks in kindi, two weeks teaching class 8 in Uluibau Primary School and three weeks on the build. The build was personally my favourite as I really enjoyed getting stuck in with the walling and flooring, doing plenty of sawing and hammering in the nails whilst hanging out of windows or up the handmade ladders. It was always so much fun, the music would be blaring and plenty of banter going on.
Even when we weren’t on projects I still had a brilliant time with coaching netball to the school kids, forming a netball team with the Fijian ladies and playing at tournaments. There were quiz and movie nights, we learnt the art of weaving and cooked with our families. We performed the traditional meke and sang in church every Sunday.
Bonfires were made on the beach, I went on snorkelling and fishing trips. We organised a variety show, a juice party for the children and the village fun day. We climbed Ruku Ruku, swam in the rock pool and enjoyed plenty of grog and hop hop sessions.
One of many highlights for me has to be the opening of the community hall as you’ve seen it go from scrap land to a beautiful building that we are able to give to the village. It’s something that will always remind them of us and represent our time spent in Uluibau.
Eventually the day to leave the village crept up on us and we all found it so hard. My Fijian mum had been crying all week and the night before we left my family organised a leaving feast for me and Hannah. Before we started eating, Gordie my Fijian dad gave a speech saying how much he’ll miss us, that he could always trust us 100% to leave us in charge of the house when they had to go to the mainland and that we are part of the family and always welcome back.
It was right then that it really made me realise how much of an impact we’ve had on them, the difference we’ve made and how after only 8 weeks I feel so comfortable and at home in the village. I did not want to leave. Then on Monday morning the whole of the village were standing on the beach crying as we said our goodbyes. It meant so much to me seeing all the kids, women and even the men crying because they didn’t want us to go. All the team were exactly the same, crying as we sailed away from Uluibau.
Our last 10 days in Fiji were spent at Pacific Harbour, Beach House and Smugglers Cove. I did plenty of sunbathing, eating and chilling out with the team, white water rafting, horse riding on the beach and a 14,000 feet skydive.
It was an awesome end to honestly my favourite 10 weeks ever. I’ll never forget my time in Fiji and the people I’ve met.
To the leaders- you were awesome, thank you.
Emma McKelvie (Mrs Kipling/ Meme)
On the building project this week, the team have been working away as they hit the home straight! The inside walling was completed and touch-ups made to the window frames. The skirting was also finished with the light blue, and with the rain stopping by mid-morning we had the green light to paint the steps and get the team up on the roof to do the frascia boards, flashings and the roof itself. With a big last push and real team effort the painting was finished and the build completed on time. An absolutely huge achievement by the team and something that we can all feel extremely proud of!
To mark the end of the building project, the Ratu (village chief) requested a Think Pacific logo to adorn the wall of the community centre. Rose’ design was chosen to represent the September 2010 gap year team and Rose had been busy paining her logo onto the community hall wall as a symbol of the achievements of the team and community.
After lunch the team were back on site to clear the area ready for the fun day and opening ceremony. By the afternoon we were able to relax inside and take a moment to reflect on the last 7 weeks of hard work and laughter. The hall that now stands proud is testament to the teams efforts, it’s been an unbelievable build and the official opening on Saturday should be a day to remember for the entire village and island community!
Here are some great photos of our September 2010 gap year team as they get stuck into their building volunteer project. Over the next eight weeks, our volunteers have some huge development aims to complete. Their biggest challenge ahead will be creating a community hall for Uluibau village. The entire building will be constructed from scratch within the next few weeks. There’s some hard work ahead but what an acheivement this will be by the end! With their great team spirit and enthusiasm already, we have every faith that our volunteers are going to absolutely smash this project!
Monday 8th March –
With the schools and kindi projects completed last Friday this morning we had the whole team on the build, and it was a busy place to be as we looked to crack on with the finishing coat on the outside, whilst Cat and Michelle put the top coat on the frascia boards and Immi began painting the outside of the windows. The stairs on the village side of the hall were also painted by Paskey and Fi, and by the end of the afternoon we were very nearly there on the outside.
For morning assembly a representative from the team from each sport was asked to go in and read out the results from the house sports day last Friday, with Lal presenting his Manchester United shirt to his chosen “best player” James in the football, and it is fair to say James had the shirt on pretty quickly around school!
At afternoon sports last week’s rota continued, with class 1 & 2 rugby once again proving one big pile of bodies, whilst cricket saw some almighty strikes.
After training it was time for the boys to begin learning their spear meke for the fun day, with Sarome and a few of the kids from school joining in to show them how it is done. At the de-brief it was also time for the team to choose their logo to be out in front of the Ratu. After much debate, especially with so many entries from the kindi that could take pride of place in any hall, the team went for Michelle’s incredible drawing taken from a photo during the new years celebration, with Immi’s artwork around it. The leaders meanwhile went for Master Khan’s logo and the turaga (well…it was his wife, he was away) chose a drawing from a kid in class 5 which included Rob and Sam as Roman warriors! It is now for the Ratu to choose which entry shall be the “January 2010 team logo”. At the de-brief today the teams for the tp Olympics next Monday were also announced and are: Team 1 = Paskey, Ashleigh Dexter, Vicky, Will and Gareth, Team 2 = Hannah, Michelle, Ashleigh C, Lal and Rob, Team 3 = Becky, Fi, Hoops, Chris and Tom, Team 4 = Immi, Cat, Benjy, Sam and Steve, and with the teams competing in hockey, football, touch rugby, volleyball and Frisbee it should be a battle royale
In the evening after a Monday night homework club the team headed into the grog shed for a few bowls and a little “hop hop”, with Will pounding the kava behind the tanoa and the team once again strutting their stuff on the dance floor!
Tuesday 9th March –
With the frascia boards dry Cat and Michelle were quickly back up on the roof this morning the put the top coat on the flashings, and by mid morning the roof was complete. Lal and Becky were also back on ladders completing the top coat on the outside, whilst Sam painted the final few windows. Inside the hall some painted the final coat on the doors, whilst the rest began undercoating, with Fi and Ashleigh Dexter painting the main set of stairs at the double doors. Tomorrow it shall be the top coat on the inside and the hall shall be complete, it is pretty unbelievable!
At sports 5 & 6 had an epic football match, whilst 3 & 4 were showing promise in the netball. And it was one last session for 1 & 2 with hockey which is always fun to watch. This afternoon it was also once again the girls turn to practice their meke, and there is mixed reviews as Ruci seems to change the routine a little too often, but as ever I am sure that they will be just fine on the day, there is plenty of time to go!
In the evening it was once again “movie night”, and in a close run battle with Face Off it was These Lovely Bones that was chosen. Steve and Vicky were not however around to watch as they headed out spear fishing with Solo and Russi, and whilst Vicky did not spear one Steve came back with a story to tell of the fish he gunned down in the dark of night, a true kaiviti!
Wednesday 10th March –
Today was an emotional day for all, as with just the top coat of the inside to complete, and with it being the final day of sports coaching in the afternoon, it was to be the end of the project work for the team. In the hall we were all there painting the inside, and as the final few brush strokes were going on there was a rousing rendition of “We Are the Champions” by Queen, and with a very very good job very very well done, the team came together in a huddle for a masu, and that gesture in itself shows just what an affect living and working in Fijian villages can have. After a word of prayer by the Fijian team, it was a mixture of happiness that the team had done so well (with Jack of course), and sadness that the projects were coming to a close, although with the fun day on the horizon and the tp Olympics next week there is lots to be keeping them busy!
For the last day of sports coaching with the kids there was less training and more match playing as the volunteers got involved alongside them. The kids have loved every single minute of the sports this project, and the introduction of hockey on the island, for which Paskey, and also Immi and Ashleigh C, must take allot of credit and praise, has been an absolute highlight. And whilst our work in the school may be done we shall be seeing the teachers and kids next Friday for an afternoon tea party which i’m sure will be allot of fun!
This afternoon there were practices for both the boys and girls with their mekes, and with the Uluibau rugby match being moved forward to tomorrow afternoon the lads were training hard in preparation. After last weeks game we decided this week that it was all about playing with a smile on our faces, enjoying the chance to play together, and not kicking the ball, and we are all looking forward to the team running out tomorrow and getting another victory! This afternoon the Ratu also chose Michelle/Immis’ logo entry for the hall, and so with that announced the girls will set about putting the artwork on the wall.
This evening was our last quiz night in the village before the grand final during the adventure stage, and on the night it was (of course!) the Think Pacific leaders who came out on top.
What an amazing 10 days I have had since I have been in Fiji!! From snorkelling the reefs off Caqalai to becoming part of the Nasa Vuki community, it has all been such a whirlwind experience.
Life in Nasavuki (the village we are all staying in) is very humbling. The moment I stepped foot in the village I have felt like royalty. One of my main concerns before arriving in the village was the food we would be eating, but these concerns were soon put to bed as on our very first day we were presented with what can only be described as a mountain of cakes and biscuits. My family are an amazing group of people. My Fijian Dad is the ‘Ratu’ (Chief) of the village, which at first was quite nerve wracking but as soon as we sat down and chatted my fears were allayed. The kids in the village make the sweltering heat of the day a little more bearable with their apparent never ending levels of energy and constant smiling.
Whilst writing this, the final posts are being put in place for the foundations. The speed at which we have put the foundations down has surprised everyone including myself and the site is beginning to take shape.
Within the TP group we are all getting on really well and although some of the guys have fallen ill over the past few days, we are all pretty close knit and doing our best to cheer them up. An example of this is how most of us have been given animal personas. Gareth is the evil penguin from Wallace and Gromit, Sam is Sid the sloth, and I have been compared to the polar bear from ‘Foxes Biscuits’ fame.
Moment of the day was the very moving burial of Ted the crab who is now set in concrete and will forever more be part of Think Pacific and live long in our memories. Off to Levuka tomorrow to stock up on some more clothes and send a couple of emails.
That’s about it for now and I hope the snow isn’t causing too much trouble back home!!