Friday 04th February –
On the building projects this morning the team were set the target of completing all the rafters. It meant that some were up by the ridge cutting and nailing the timbers that end, whilst others were on the top plate to fit and nail the rafter timbers there. With 13 rafters being put on each side, rather than 11, the team cut the dressed 6 by 2 timbers to use, and with some paint being on them from the timber merchants there was some sanding and plaining to do! By lunch all the rafters were on, and after a huge week on the building projects we are looking forward to getting the roof on next week!
In our kindi and youth projects it was the last day for Gillian, Fanny and Livvy, who have done a fantastic job in establishing the kindergarten so quickly on the island, and it was testament to their hard work that on their last day 14 kids arrived, our biggest number so far! They have introduced a slightly longer early learning time now that the kids have found their rythmn which is great, and the kids of course loved their song time, story time and arts and carfts. Before heading home the kindi kids also put on a little show of the hokey cokey for the build team and village, a great finale to the week!
For sports in the afternoon it was time for a house sports competition, planned by our expedition leader Alex (Paskey). The kids were split into their two houses and were competing by year groups of 1&2, 3&4, 5&6 and 7&8. However, with odd numbers in each house Paskey was collecting all the times and scores from the team and finding an aggregate to give us our overall house winner in the four sports: rounders ball throw, 20m sprint, long jump and relay. It was a truly brilliant afternoon, with the kids loving the opportunity to compete in new sports, and the team really encouraging them and getting involved in the competition, and the house sports shall be continued each Friday during project!
At the evening de-brief the team chose the sports for our next two week rota, with hockey and cricket coming in as entirely new sports to the island which is fantastic, and football continuing with Volleyball also starting. The team also picked their highlights from a busy week, remembering the funny times that have gone by. In the evening it was party time in the village, with grog and “hop hop” for everyone to enjoy!
Saturday 05th February –
Saturday gives the team some time to spend with their families and the village, with Ben and Oli heading off for a picnic with their little bro, Tavis, Dan, Harry and Mat heading around the bay for a snorkel and picnic and others relaxing with the kids or at home.
In the afternoon lots gathered in the home with Fiji 1 to watch the Wellington 7s, and the girls also headed to the school for a netball match, with a great mix of the team, kids and village ladies. It certainly looks like they will have a great chance in the Lovoni competition in Levuka in week 8!
And in the evening it was fancy dress time! With the village hearing of the “Tribal” theme they took to making the Fijian warrior dress for the team of leaf skirts and spears, with some of the girls also arriving in Masi. A beach bonfire was lit for the team to gather round and sing songs, and with the fire dying down an impromptu grog party began, with the guitars out and the hop hop in full swing, it was allot of fun and what life in Fiji is all about!
Sunday 06th February –
As ever Sabbath was an extremely relaxed day. The health and environment committees met to have the ideas introduced for their awareness weeks, and in the morning there was also a hymn practice. With it being the first Sunday of the month the three matagali’s of the village all sing a hymn and offer a soli, and the team were invited to take part which was great. Lord of the Dance was chosen by the team, and in the afternoon service it was our moment! There was of course also some huge feasts enjoyed and some time to rest ready for another big week ahead!
Monday 07th February –
Back on the building projects this morning the team were busy cutting and nailing the roof purlins, which run across the rafters, and once this had been completed just after lunch they began the process of strapping all the rafters and purlins to keep the building strong. As ever working up on the roofing timbers the jobs took time, but the team did extremely well, especially with the sun shining brightly throughout the day!
In kindi Livvy went in to assist Mat, Georgia, Bryony and Ben for a “handover”, and after a great first couple of weeks where the team established such a good routine the guys were quickly into their stride. The kids did well in circle time, getting a sticker when they said their names, and of course loved song time with some “hokey cokey” and “row row row our boat”! They also took the kids for outdoor play time and story time before they headed for home.
In school the team were also back assisting the teachers at the Batiki District School, with Rupert going into classes 3&4, Tavis in classes 5&6 and Dan taking classes 7&8. All the guys were helping with English and Maths in the morning and with Livvy starting in class 1&2 tomorrow when Master Vili returns from Levuka, she took the opportunity to go in during the afternoon to get to know the children a little, although with the teacher away they were all rather excited and a little crazy!
In sports coaching it was very exciting times as the team looked to introduce two entirely new sports, with hockey and cricket being played at the Batiki District School for the first time ever! For hockey it was classes 1&2 so a rather tough start, but they went through how to hold the stick and taught them not to use the back of the stick, whilst in cricket it was classes 3&4 so there was some catching practice and throwing before they looked to introduce Quick Cricket. Volleyball was also brought onto the rota, whilst Football remained as they work towards a mini football competition a week on Friday, I think they are looking to find the next big star here in Batiki!:)
In the evening it was games time, and after getting the kids doing a little limbo (which Matt found a hidden talent for!) it was time for the big one, the “human thumb wars”! with two people in sleeping bags looking to pin each other down without using their arms oit made for some hilarious watching, with Ben, Matt, Charlie, Georgia, Livvy, Gillian, Fanny, Satnam and our two leaders all entering the ring, and the kids went mad for it. Of course there were some big clashes, with Ben taking a cheeky dive onto Dan when all thought it was over and Paskey proving quite the human thumb wars maestro!
Tuesday 08th February –
Back on building project today and strapping was the name of the game for most as we looked to get it completed ready for the roof to go on tomorrow. Building Manager Jimmy also had help getting the collar tie on, whilst Charlie was cutting the rafters to length. After a big day all was set for the roof tomorrow, very exciting times!
It was a huge day in kindergarten today, with outdoor games proving the absolute highlight! With rope in hand the team introduced the first kindi tug of war, and after the kids showed their strength some of the big people joined in too! There was then a big game of “stuck in the mud”, and watching Ben, who stands at 6ft3, crawling through little Ronnies legs to free him was a brilliant moment!
In school Dan took English reading with class 7, whilst Tavis was working through word problems in Maths with class 5. Sadly Rupert was not feeling well so took a day off, whilst for Livvy she settled into class with 1&2, helping with their printing in English, simple maths and building blocks.
Sports was also going very well once again, with classes 3&4 taking hockey, 7&8 practicing their football skills, 5&6 on volleyball and the crazy 1&2 learning cricket. After school sports the guys and ladies were out for some netball and rugby 7s training, and with matches lined up for Saturday there is all to play for!
And in the evening it was movie time, and with the choices narrowed down to The Hangover and Bad Boys, it was The Hangover that won the day!
Wednesday 09th February –
On the build this morning it was time to put the roof on, and after the final pieces of strapping had been nailed into place the team lifted the first roofing iron up and into place. As the nails went in the grog party began, with the Ratu, elders and village community sitting on a mat to celebrate the occasion. The ladies had also tied the sulus to fly on top of the hall, and were singing as the irons were lifted up and set in place. It was not too long before one side of roofing was completed, and with the rain starting to fall, and lots of excitement in the village, the Ratu asked that the grog move inside for their first bowl within the community hall. And so as the team worked in the afternoon to complete the other side of roofing, and to nail on the flashings and ridge cap, the guitars and songs could be heard below!
In kindi it was once again tug of war time in outdoor games, and the games of stuck in the mud seem to be getting better and better! The team also drew out a big “Kindi” poster for the kids to colour tomorrow, and then their hand prints will be stuck all around it!
In school Tavis continued with Maths and English in the morning for classes 5 & 6, and he was busy in the afternoon leading the health science class. In Class 7&8 Dan also took English, as they read poems and passages and answered questions on the text, whilst Rupert had a story to read with classes 3&4. In class 1&2 Livvy was helping Master Vili with their basic writing and reading.
In sports it was football who had the crazy world of 1&2, but after keeping them running for the first 10 minutes they actually settled quite well into some heading and passing drills! For hockey classes 5&6 practiced passing and dribbling, whilst 7&8 were doing catching drills, throwing practice and were learning how to bowl, before playing quick cricket. In volleyball Tavis took classes 3&4 through some skill sets such as the set before moving into a big game, which they absolutely loved!
In the evening the team had the chance to learn the Fijian skill of mat weaving from the ladies in the community, and they seemed to love the opportunity to learn this key part of the culture, and also have a lot of laughs with the ladies who are always very quick to joke and make fun! And after mat weaving the grog party, that had been going on all day in the hall, moved into the shed and the “hop hop” began!
Thursday 10th February –
With the roof completed yesterday this morning the team began the flooring, and after finding the centre point of the hall the first row was nailed into place. They then worked in pods to lay the flooring either side, and despite some difficulties early on by the end of the day everyone seemed to be clear onthe process involved ready for tomorrow! Ben, Matt and Tavis also did a great job putting the frascia boards along one side of the hall, and that will also be completed tomorrow.
In kindi the kids were colouring in their kindi poster ready for the hand prints, which was then stuck up on the wall with everyones’ names underneath which looks great. As ever there was song time in the morning, and after the kids had headed for home the team wrote out the words to classics such as “Old Macdonald” and “Music Man” ready to teach them tomorrow.
In school Livvy continued to help classes 1&2, and whilst progress is naturally very slow when they do make the little break through it is great to see. And despite the heavy rain during the morning sports was up and running in the afternoon, with classes 1&2 doing some simple throwing in cricket, classes 3&4 doing dribbling and shooting in football, classes 5&6 having a match in volleyball and classes 7&8 getting their first taste of hockey!
In the evening it was once again quiz time, with last weeks winners “Fanny Bashers” including a “Countdown Round”, an “Intellectual Round”, as well as questions on music and films. With the scores counted the winners of this weeks battle of the tp brains were team “Quiz on your face”!
Friday 11th February –
Flooring was the name of the game of the game on build this morning, and with our building manager Jimmy helping Oli, Fanny and Harry to navigate the direct posts some good progress was made. Kerry, Satnam, Charlie and Gillian also did very well as the other pod, with 8 rows being laid before we broke for half day at lunch.
In kindi there are plans for a “Kindi Sports Day” next week which should be hilarious. Ben, Mat and Georgia continued with the programme including early learning for numbers and colours, song time, circle time, outdoor games and arts and crafts, and it is fantastic to see just how well the kindi is rocking!
In school it was the last day for Tavis with classes 5&6, and after they completed their test in the morning he took them through maths before lunch. Livvy also continued in classes 1&2, taking some of the slightly slower children for their printing and basic sums, whilst Rupert was back in classes 3&4 for story time. Dan also continued in class 7&8 with their English and Maths lessons.
For sports coaching it was once again a house sports competition, with the kids competing in long jump, sprints, relays, tennis ball throw and a tug of war, with Vono house our winners! And just before the kids headed for home there was time for a TP vs class 7&8 relay race, with their girls just pipping ours, and our boys taking the win!
And in the evening it was grog party time in Yavu, with the team and community enjoying the “hop hop” and having a few bowls of grog together after another big week on the gap year projects on Batiki Island!