Having started the painting at the weekend, we now had eight days left on project to complete the community centre. With two coats to go on the roof and three on the inside and outside walls there was a busy few days ahead. The weather has been great for the best part of this project and week 7 was no different with the sun shining our gap year team could continue painting outside of the building and had everything except a final coat on the windows completed by Friday. They also applied the primer and began undercoating the inside of the hall. This meant by the end of the week all that was left to do was complete the outside windows and finish two coats inside, that won’t be a problem with the effort our volunteers put in and the way our team go about every day on building project.
As the last rota for school and kindi are optional only Angela chose to stay with what are now ‘her classes’ 7 & 8. The bond she has made with these kids and the respect which they have for her is immense. It will be hard for both parties to leave each other in a few days but the impression and memories left on all their lives will no doubt stay with them forever.
Sports coaching continued as normal this week with cricket, hockey, netball and dance. There were also a few sessions of lacrosse played with the kids and team. With rugby and netball games arranged against Ulinbau Primary on Friday extra focus was put on these sports.
Johnny and Bertie also made the 45 minute trek across to Uluibau village and school on Monday and Wednesday to try and even things up by giving their kids some coaching too. On Friday the netball was up first and it was Moturiki District School who started the stronger with five unanswered nets in the first quarter. Uluibau Primary School did manage to close the gap to 2 points in the second quarter but MDS then found their shooting range just before half time and went in at the end of the second quarter comfortably in front. The MDS girls started where they left off in the third quarter and continued to dominate for the rest of the game running out comfortable winners in the end.
It was a different story in the rugby, however, UPS boys were clearly up for this game from the off and started the game much brighter than their opponents, scoring two tries in the first ten minutes of play. MDS soon found their rhythm and got themselves on the score sheet midway through the first half although it seemed that every time they scored UPS had an answer and went down the other end of the field and scored also. This game was played at an amazing tempo from the start and didn’t let up the entire game. With both teams pulling off some of the moves taught to them by our coaches the delight on Johnny and Bertie’s face’s was clear to see. UPS finished the game the stronger with the help of a few of the MDS class 6 boys and won the game 39-24 in the end but Moturiki Island was clearly the real winner on the day as we look to continue this inter school competition and push towards next year’s tournament in Levuka, which combines both schools and in which they did so well in this year.
Evening time for the team was as busy as ever this week with a full schedule from Monday right through to Saturday. Monday night saw each of our volunteers spend some time playing cards and chatting with their families and some even had their own private grog sessions. On Tuesday it was then time for another village birthday, this time it was the turn of team leader Ronnie. As it is I who am writing this I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team and my fellow leaders for the presents and cards I received and for the greats night fun had by all, which continued until around 6am the following morning for most of us, I couldn’t have spent it with a better bunch of people. I would also like to say a massive thank you to the village of Wawa and those who turned up from neighboring villages for the unbelievable feast and cake which was presented to me on the night, they truly made it a night I will never forget for the rest of my life.
After such a late night everyone decided to have an early night on wednesday although a few of the team did join the villagers for a few bowls of kava before bedtime. Thursday night was bonfire night and in true style some of the village elders built in impressive fire for the team to light. After the girls had practiced the Meke (traditional Fijian dance) which they will perform at the opening of the hall everyone gathered round and cooked fresh coconuts on the fire and chatted the night away. At the request of the team Friday was again family night as our volunteers looked to spend as much time with their Fijian families as possible over the next two weeks before leaving the village.
On Saturday it was time to head across to school for their final games of netball and rugby on Moturiki. Having already had two cup games the girls were finishing off their tour with a friendly game against the Nasauvuki ladies. Both teams started on great form and exchanged points in the first quarter which was a real credit to our girls as they only had two Fijians playing for them. Nasauvuki however then drafted in some of the young MDS girls and the game swung in their favor. They did run out eventual winners but our girls weren’t too disheartened as they enjoyed the experience of playing against such talented players and everyone came together for a group photo in the end.
In the rugby the boys were up against Niubasaga who are the current holders of the Think Pacific Cup so they had all to play for. All our boys were again playing with our American representative Will making his rugby debut in the second row. Ollie however had a late fitness test on his shoulders and unfortunately was unable to play although he did run the line as touch judge for the game. Even in the blistering heat the game was played at an unbelievable pace from the first whistle and continued the whole game. The Niubasaga boys had clearly put in some preparation for this game and pulled of some impressive moves early on to get them on the score sheet first. It was then our turn to get 3 points with the help of Johnnys right boot as he kicked home a penalty. There was never any more than 3 points in it for the rest of the game and with another impressive penalty from inside our half by Johnny the game went into the last 10 minutes 10pts to 9pts in favor of the cup holders. Despite some brave attempts from Bertie, Will and Lulu in the pack we were unable to get the final score needed to win the game and so Niubasaga hold on to the TP cup.
Both teams then made the walk across to Niubasaga where another great feast was laid on and the guitars and grog were in full swing. It was a great night and just added to the party atmosphere which will carry the team through their final week in Wawa and Moturiki.