It’s been a very important last week for the Batiki team as the project comes to an end. Everyone is making the most of their time left with the villagers, the children and their Fijian families.
With just a final few days to complete the building and to inspire the kids in the different youth and sports projects, everyone was ready to bring all the initiatives to a big culmination!
In kindi, Phil combined his final lessons with the children, teaching numbers and different colours, with a ‘Kindi Fun Day’ on the last day, where he took all the children to the beach for a picnic and games. In school, Sanna continued with classes five and six, giving a real big push on the house speaking as their much anticipated competition came closer. Callum remained in classes one and two, succeeding in organising replies to pen pal letters from every school class, he was naturally very happy, as were the children with their new found pen friends from afar! A great individual project and massive vinaka to Callum for all his efforts!
For our last week on building project Lauren, Olly, Ellis, Charlotte, Eva and Yasmin all got stuck into painting, as well as starting on the corrugated walling. After two days of very hard work the walls were up and our building finally had an outer shell. It was then just the finishing touches to go and the completion of the tables and shelves. Finally, the volunteers all came together to design a logo that was personal to their team so that anyone visiting the island would know it was made by them. Once the logo was completed and the entire site was cleaned the team could finally sit back and look at the finished article of the new Library and School Office!
With the building, youth and sports projects all nearing their end, the teams attention turned to meke practice and preparing themselves for Friday when they would be performing to the community. During the week Eva, Sanna and Phil also enjoyed the chance to head out night spear fishing and aside from dodging some uninvited jelly fish (!), they had an amazing time. Phil managed to spear himself a fish while Eva went one better and caught two. Unfortunately our team leader and Sanna left the water without a catch and as the saying in Fiji goes, no fish, no lunch!
Tuesday afternoon saw the girls have a community netball match with the villagers and in the end the Fijian ladies beat our think pacific team by 24 to 19 but it was a very closely fought game and everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and competitive spirit!
Thursday afternoon saw the team take the kids for their ‘Sports House Cup Competition’; A great battle of minds, talents and physicality was needed to complete the challenging sports of….the sack race, three legged race, relay races and the long throw! Once the kids had completed all the different areas it was time for the team themselves to participate! Separating into their own houses the guys competed in the 4 sports and just to show off their skills even more to the children the team got the kids involved with a wheel barrow race as well! It was a very fun afternoon for the kids and the team alike.
For their last day on the island the team headed to school for the opening ceremony of the building project. First the team held a fundraiser, selling cakes, sweets, juice and raffling off a think pacific ‘sulu’ for the school kids, this managed to raise a further 120 dollars, which will be put towards the school funds. After the fundraiser, the team were invited to an assembly at school, where there received words of thanks from the school teachers and a prayer was held before Batiki District school officially opened their new library and office. Men and woman from all the villages turned up to give their thanks to the team for what they have achieved.
Following the opening ceremony, it was time for the decider of the house cup! The children who had been learning their speeches went first and performed in front of the island before the team joined their school houses and performed their songs to the judges. After 4 weeks of the team doing different house cup activities, it was finally time for the presentations and the overall school house winner to be decided. The arts and crafts competitions and the sports cup were won by ‘logo logo’ and ‘Vono’ took the honour of winning the photography competition. After a superb house speaking contest, It was Vono who prevailed winners in this also. This bought the competition down to the ‘House singing competition’ for the decider. Logo logo performed ‘no light no light’ by Florence and the machine while Vono chose ‘Don’t stop me now’ by queen.
After a bit of time for the judges to debate their overall winner, they decided that the house singing was in fact a draw, so for the first time in Batiki School History, the house cup competition was shared between the two houses, a great way to end the year for the house cup and all the hard work that every volunteer and child has put into making the programme so successful!
After the cup was presented to both teams, our volunteers then performed their meke to rapturous applause form the villagers! Finally, the team were invited to a farewell tea and cake party in school organised by the teachers. The team’s last evening in the village saw a farewell church service, where they performed the song Amazing Grace to the villagers and the community leaders also said a few words of thanks for everything that the volunteers had done for them.
The night was finished off with a huge meal in the community hall, before the team got their best dresses and sulus on and it was time to start the grog and hop hop dancing into the night. The party lasted through until the morning, when with heavy hearts, it was sadly time for the Think Pacific group to say goodbye to their families. It was a very emotional morning for the team to leave their island.
It is hard to believe how much the team have learnt and accomplished for the village in the short space of 4 weeks. They tried their best to slow down time but unfortunately it had finally caught up with them. We are sure that the golden sandy beaches, coconut leaves, beautiful seas and the big friendly smiles of the villagers have been a huge inspiration for everyone and we hope that we have left a legacy for the village and Batiki School. We are sure that the memories of Batiki will stay with our volunteers for life.
The team are now enjoying their final few days of relaxation in Fiji’s beautiful beach resorts of Viti Levu, before heading their separate ways. On behalf of think pacific we would like to say a great big vinaka vaka levu to the Batiki team for everything that they have done and we know that they will forever be missed by the villagers of Yavu and the island of Batiki.
Luke, Lulu and the tp team x