Our April 2011 five week team have had a great first few days together on their tiny castaway island in Fiji. Caqalai island is always a fabulous introduction to the South Pacific; just an acre in size and a few grass huts and palm trees lining the white sand beach which circles the island. We think it’s the perfect tonic for the long journey across to Fiji.
It was a particularly long journey for some, including Alex who sadly missed his connection flight in New York and had to be routed via New Zealand where he was met personally by our staff leader Ronan two days later than the others. Whilst we were organising Alex’s late arrival, the rest of our team enjoyed a visit to Niubasaga village on Moturiki Island to meet the chief and be welcomed into the Lomaiviti Province. A few bowls of kava and lots of Fijian dancing later and the team headed back to their beach to swim and sunbathe. The next day the team met by the Fijian Ministry and British High Commission. The National Centre for Health represenatives always provide a very inspiring presentation on the project objectives and the role the volunteers will play in the long term development aims for their islands. The team will soon be renovating the church hall in Mua village and offering lots of support to the youth clubs, the newly established kindergarten, the local primary school and island wide sports coaching projects so we have a huge amount to look forward to achieving over the coming weeks!
With Alex’s arrival, the team gave him a very warm welcome and despite being very tired, he was glad to be finally starting his Fijian expedition! The rest of this week has involved the team getting to know each other through some fun team games, activities and excursions including snorkelling trips out to the Moturiki reefs, boat journeys to the nearby island of Ovalau and evening dance shows and lovo feasts. The palm fringed volleyball court is of course always centre for lots of fun and competative games too! It’s great to see the whole team getting along so well and there is a real buzz of excitement about this project as the team look forward to arriving into Mua village and experiencing the traditonal Fijian way of life on Batiki Island very soon!