Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’
Becky and Amy’s best blog ever;
Despite only being in the village for ten days so far, Naicabecabe feels like home. Our Fijian families have given us an unbelievable welcome and we feel like we belong here. We’ve both hit the jackpot – It just so happens our families are amazing cooks and there’s never a meal time where we don’t have to say “ma maoul” and lie down on the floor cradling our food babies. As Ronnie has reminded us many a time: “You’ll never out eat a Fijian!”
Hop hop has quickly become one of our favourite Fijian traditions. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday night we put on our sulus and head on down to the village hall for a crazy night of grog and hop hop – We may pass on the grog, but never on the hop hop! Best hop hop so far has been the fancy dress night. The Fijian’s found it hilarious when the whole team rocked up in full Fijian tribal wear. Definitely a night to remember!
Project is in full swing. We’ve both spent a week in school and a week in Kindi with an odd afternoon on build, and we’re absolutely loving it! We’ve both separately spent a week teaching on our own in class 3 which has been fun, but a challenge to say the least. In true Fijian style we found out on several mornings that our teacher was taking a day off to go shopping in Levuka or just not coming in at all!
The children are so full of enthusiasm and eager to learn however, that they’ve thrown themselves into everything we’ve given them. Favourites have been “the monster project” which we’ve carried on over the last two weeks, learning the time and a very manic drama lesson on the three little pigs!
Kindi certainly lived up to our high expectations and the madness began the moment we got there. Elisa, the Kindi teacher does an excellent job of controlling twenty or so very lively 3 to 5 year olds, but it’s clear that us volunteers really make a difference when we arrive. Handprinting went down a bit too well with most of us coming out covered head to toe in paint and glitter. Yesterday was ‘library day” and great effort had been put into Kindi costumes. Captain “Heg-arrr-ty” made an appearance and led the merry mob in a parade from the Kindi ship, around the field, and back.
Every afternoon is sports and the two of us have been coaching netball along with Anna, Annabelle, Becca and Zoe. Our training has become very important with the looming netball tournament in Levuka on Friday in which we hope our girls will be scouted. The boys have also been training kids for the rugby tournament which will be held at the same time and the whole team is excited for a day out supporting the girls and boys from the school. GO MOTURIKI!!! We’ve also been subject to a vigorous training schedule ourselves from the locals as we’ll be playing for the TP netball cup next week. It’s down to us to regain the cup as the rugby didn’t go so well for the lads last week!
Alongside our busy schedule we’ve had many TP events going on. Special events have been laid on for us and we have now experienced mat weaving and bilo making which we’ll all be taking back to England and using as replacements for shot glasses! The village kid’s party went down really well and tomorrow’s “Fiji Factor” and next week’s village fun day are sure to be just as successful. The fight is on for the quiz team of the project, with previous rounds of cracker eating, wheelbarrow races and twister all proving who the real men are!
Tonight is guy’s and girl’s night, with the boys having a poker competition and the girl’s a slumber party (although we have a feeling that a few of the lads will be joining; Ronnie in particular seems to be very in touch with his feminine side!) Saturday won’t be a day for relaxing though, as the team will be climbing the highest peak on the island of Ovaulau, Ruku Ruku, which should be a great challenge for even the fittest of TP members.
HIGHLIGHTS SO FAR: Stepping off the plane after days of travelling, our first outing in our jumba dresses and bula shirts, our welcome to the island, going to Nasara for a feast and hop hop, the tide being out so we don’t have to walk the twenty minute jungle trek to school, Nicole’s call from home telling her she’s been accepted to her Universities (congrats!), village feast for Jack the builder’s leaving, the girls digging a perfect trench, the village children knowing the words to Justin Bieber and Rihanna, pigs in the shower, chickens in the beds, frogs in the toilet, spear fishing (although our group haven’t gone yet), singing “Fijian boy”, buddy hugs (we love you buddies!), winning our first netball game 15-20, chocolate doughnuts, basically everything has been a highlight – WE LOVE FIJI!!
So mum’s and dad’s, “sega na leqa” – no worries, we’re all okay and loving life!
Becky and Amy, Moturiki Island, Fiji x
To all those waiting at home for a blog sorry it’s taken so long, but better late than never. It’s impossible to write everything that has happened in the past 8 weeks in Yanuca, although I can’t believe it’s been that long, but I’ll do my best!
I started off project life on the build and now that the hall is finished it’s awesome to see the whole teams’ work put together. On our first two weeks we managed to get the bottom plate down, walls up, roof on and started on walling. It was a physically tough two weeks, not made any easier by the fact I was the only girl there and also subject to much ‘friendly teasing However I’m now quite the pro at hammering, chiselling and sawing. Although tiring and hot work it was great to get stuck in and get the hall off to a good start. It also helped hugely with the tan…
For week 4 I spent the week in class 7 and 8 with Jack teaching children aged 12/13. I was at first a bit nervous about teaching the class but we had Master Mika there on the first day to let us know how things should be run. It was strange to see how different the classes are taught here than at home and to see the contrast between how in Moturiki District School it seems a regular occurrence! From Tuesday onwards we were teaching on our own, except for Wednesday when due to injury I was teaching on my own which ended up being something much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Because there were two classes we sometimes had to split them and teach separate things at the same time which could be quite challenging but it did mean we got the opportunity to do more teaching. It was an awesome week getting to know the kids (even the cheeky boys) and I really enjoyed teaching the classes especially Class 8 maths, which was maybe the biggest surprise of the week!
Kindi was quite the contrast from school. From going from people who understood you and could respond to you to 5 year olds who can’t understand you and vice versa was quite a challenge. Despite this, kindi was awesome fun. You could really see the progress in some of the children whereas in others it was a bit slower. Most kids had grasped colours and shapes by the time we got there and we moved on to numbers and alphabets. This was relatively successful however when the response to ‘What colour is this?’ was six, we felt a bit of re-cap was in order. After the toothbrush march, we would have song time which was always chaotic and noisy but great fun. For arts and crafts we came up with the theme of transport and made paper planes, boats (some successfully floated!) and cars to display on the kindi walls. The kids were so much fun to be around and always good to go a bit crazy with them and join in the games with them. Once you started you couldn’t stop so often you have children jumping off rocks to be caught for at least 15 minutes which does a good job at tiring you out. The home time song was welcomed at 12 so we could rest before coaching in the afternoon.
Sports throughout the trip has been a success and Anna, Harry and I have been coaching hockey for most of it. It reminded us a lot of playing at school and sometimes we got a bit nostalgic! We really saw improvement in the older year groups in reverse stick, passing, tackling and game play. It was always a bit terrifying to watch the mini matches that were played as often there were balls and sticks flying everywhere but the kids seemed to love it. With year 1 and 2 hockey was a bit difficult sometimes so we often resorted to duck, duck, goose, catch and other games to keep them entertained. We have also played two netball matches against Nasavuki village teaming up with Navuti village. We have had one win and one loss but it’s great to get involved and play with the Fijian women and it’s always a great laugh.
Village life has become more and more enjoyable the longer we have been here. We have been taken on fishing trips (some more successful than others), walks up to the plantations and the old village as well as lots of mat weaving, bracelet and bilo making. There has been a lot of hop hop and grog while we have been here and we are always aware when Jenny is there due to a certain noise being made repeatedly which seems to be spreading throughout the village unfortunately even to baby Lo who, apparently, has also been making Jenny’s infamous hop hop noise. The people here are amazing and it’s great to walk through the village with everyone saying ‘Bula!’ or to say some sort of joke. I also seem to fund myself joining in in games with the children and have recently been taught Zuru aswell as participating in numerous games of hopscotch. Family life is amazing – the food is amazing, our family are great (we have finally been allowed to do our own washing)and our house is really nice, despite having been disturbed by a crab half way through writing this blog.
Our past couple of days have been full of painting, TP Olympics, picnics and capture the flag. In our last 3 days we have our opening of the hall, the fun day, singing in church, our last night of hop hop and a rematch of capture the flag to name a few activities. Although I’m looking forward to them it also means that we’re leaving sooner than I would like. It has been the best 2 months of my life so far and I really don’t want to leave, but I think we’re all looking forward to R&R. I would recommend everyone who is thinking of travelling to go with Think Pacific.
Love to all those at home – I’ll be seeing you soon!!
P.S. In response to a previous post by Tom O, don’t worry about my gambling debts at the Kit Kat Kasino, I’m slowly paying them off by oreos instead.
I cannot believe it is already week 6 and we only have 2 weeks left in the village. I am having an amazing time and cannot believe it is nearly all over.
On Sunday it was my birthday and I had the most wonderful day. It started on Saturday evening with some serious hop hop and grog. As it was my birthday I was picked lots to dance and by the end I was defoes hop hopped out! After hop hop a few of us went to the beach for Star spinning (a game where you pick a star and focus on it while you spin 10 times and when you stop someone shines a torch in your eyes and it is almost impossible to stand up). On my 5th spin I found myself a couple of metres into the sea and then I fell face first so I decided to call it a day at 1 in the morning – drenched!
The next morning we woke up to church singing growing ever close and realised it was the priest of the island giving Holy Communion to individual houses. Georgia and I luckily received it last at 9 in the morning…some of the team received it at 4 in the morning! After, we had breakfast and I opened my cards I received from home (thank you to you all xxx) At lunch the whole of Yavu village came together in the shed where they had laid on a feast of delicious food which included a pink birthday cake with candles . I got to sit at the head of the shed with the Ratu (VIP!) and Eddy (my dad). Mere (mum) very kindly gave me a dress for my birthday to wear at lunch time. The rest of the day was spent relaxing on the beach hammocks with the team and eating lots more food.
I am currently in Kindi for the last week and am sooo sad that tomorrow is our last day. The children are adorable and have come such a long way since we first arrived. It feels amazing to hear nursery rhymes being sung in the village that we have taught them and they have gone back and sung to their families. In Kinde today we had superhero day and made them all masks and tied sulus round as capes and tomorrow we are going on a picnic where we will play pass the parcel, musical bumps and all the traditional ones.
Next week we are going to be painting the village hall which we have almost completed (whoop) and the week after we stop work and are spending time with our families going fishing and picnics etc.
Anyway, I am off to bed now but just want to send all my love to you back in England and I that I am missing you tonnes xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Bula! Georgia/Joja here!
We’ve now been in Batiki for about 2 and a half weeks and everything is going really well! I found it quite hard at the beginning just because I had no energy AT ALL so everything was so much effort – think it was a mixture of the heat, lack of sleep, jet lag I still had and just doing something every minute of the day so I was exhausted, and also it is very different to England so that was obviously a shock. BUTTTT I am LOVING it now. Thinking about leaving makes me really sad already so I dunno wat im gonna be like at the end!! Even the Fijians have said they are going to miss us so much and keep asking when we are going to come back. I know for sure I will return!
There is so much going on all the time. I started with the build which was good, although it was SO SO hot so I had no energy and as im a girl all the Fijian boys kept trying to take over my job although I kept telling them I can do it! Haha
I’ve now almost done a week of Kindi and thats going really well although the lil kiddies get very distracted and are so energetic. But its a lot of fun, there is lots of singing, playing games and the children are adorable. We played stuck in the mud with them yesterday so trying to crawl under their little legs was hilarious! In the afternoons Kindi people have had the choice of doing the build or going to school. I chose school because I miss the children in the day! The best part of the day is when the children come back from school and I have had my bucket shower so I’m clean and have energy to just play play play! So far I have been to class 1+2 (age 6ish), 5+6 (age 11ish) and 7+8 (age 13/14). 1+2 was crrazzzyyyyy because they don’t speak English and just wanna jump on you all the time so it was hard controlling them! Oh yer, there was no teacher so thats why it was mental. We had to keep them occupied for about 2 hours which was hard work! We just made them sing which was soo cute. The Fijians LOVE to sing and it sounds AMAZING! Class 7+8 was really good although I couldn’t do their work as I had forgotten what I’d learnt at school. After like an hour of work they just play games and sing songs. They sang one song and started banging on their tables with their fists and rulers and it sounded so cool!!
The children are absolutely amazing I love them so much. A lot of my favourite times have just been when mucking around with the children, they just make you so happy, have the most amazing smiles and laugh at everything!
The women of the village are also brilliant. They find everything hilarious too and are constantly trying to get us girls together with a Fijian boy! Haha. In the evenings when we can do grog, or chill on the beach or whatever, sometimes I’ll just go and sit under the stars with the women in the village and talk for hours! It is soo lovely.
I can’t believe how young they are when they get married and have babies – about 17/18!! There is one mum from kindi who is my age (18) and she has a 2 yr old and also a 11month baby I think. They are all so mature here! Something else I can’t believe is that the little children are just wondering around carrying knives, jumping off tall coconut trees, left wondering around the village near the sea etc. I have NO idea how none of them get injured, like NO ONE is injured, its like they just can’t hurt themselves.
One last thing before I go…the food. I am getting fat! haha I looked at my tummy this morning and its like a balloon. I eat soooo much here coz they just keeeep feeding us! But it is really yummy, and yes people at home, I eat fish now, and I like it! As soon as you say you like something here they will feed it to you all the time. We said we liked bumbacows (these doughnuty things) and now we get plates of them for breakfast aswell as pancakes and cakes with custand on! Yesterday I ate 20 bumbacows – my family loved me haha. In my family I live with Mere my mum, Etuate my dad, my brother Aisake (14) and then 2 nieces Mere (11), Gakula (10) and a nephew Nemani (6). I love them to pieces! And I have so many cousins who are amazing too!
Anwway thats enough from meeee! Going to teach Volleyball in a mo!
Lots of love to everyone at homee!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Saturday 29th January –
After a big first week on the gap year projects last week, today was an opportunity for the team to have some fun with their families in the village. After breakfast Harry and Matt headed up to the plantations with their dad, whilst groups also headed out around the bay for some snorkelling and spear fishing, with the fish caught being cooked on an open fire by the beach!
Others spent the afternoon swinging in a hammock and relaxing, and with everyone back in the village by late afternoon a community football game kicked off, with some nice touches from the kids and some great goals being scored. It has been a big week and I am sure everyone will enjoy a Sabbath rest tomorrow.
Sunday 30th January –
This morning the team attended divine service with the community, a chance to hear the unbelievable voices of a Fijian village singing. There was also a welcome for our new building manager Jimmy Manuel, who works closely with Jack, our head building manager and we are very excited to be working with Jimmy for the coming phase of building projects here in Batiki.
In the evening the team came together in the shed to play some cards, an evening which ended with very impromptu human pyramid building, with a 4-3-2-1 stack being our greatest achievement to date!
Monday 31st January –
Back on with the projects this morning the volunteers were quickly into their rhythm. On the build the bearers were completed early meaning that the team could crack on with the joists, and with Jimmy setting a target of all 30 joists on by lunch the team were working hard, achieving the goal with 5 minutes to spare! In the afternoon they were straight on with nailing studs the top and bottom plates, and before the end of the day one wall of studs was lifted into place and braced.
In the kindi and youth projects, our gap year volunteers Gillian, Fanny and Livvy have established a great little routine, and after morning prayer and circle time the kids were singing songs including hokey cokey and twinkle twinkle little star. In arts and crafts they were colouring in, and during outside play time they introduced the “tree game”, which is where the kids have to run to different trees without being caught in the middle.
In school Oli assisted class 3&4 with their story writing, whilst Satnam had classes 5&6 writing a diary of what they did over the weekend before reading it to the class. With classes 7&8 Kerry was also busy assisting with English and Maths before taking arts and crafts.
On the sports coaching projects – rounders and football were the sports of the day for classes 5-8, with some keen football skills being shown by the boys during some heading and footwork drills. In rugby Harry and Charlie did their best to introduce defensive and offensive lines with classes 1-4, whilst in netball Bryony and Livvy also looked to run through some basic training exercises.
Tuesday 01st February –
On the building project this morning the team checked their measurements of the wall studs before lifting and nailing the final three frames into place. In the afternoon they then began measuring and cutting the window noggins, as well as cutting the extra wall studs to be placed around the structure.
In kindi for early learning they went through their numbers from one to five, using marbles and number cards. At outdoor games we played duck duck goose and the tree game, before having sleeping lions and story time.
With meetings taking place in Suva for the school placements Kerry, Satnam and Oli joined the build. Sports coaching was in full swing in the afternoon, with classes 5-8 taking rugby and netball ,with a match planned in Netball for Thursday with the school kids taking on the tp team. For football and rounders it was classes 1-4, and what they may lack in concentration they make up for in excitement!
In the evening it was movie time, and after narrowing it down to The Hangover and Taken, it was Taken that won the day, everyone loves a little Liam Neeson!
Wednesday 02nd February –
With the frames up yesterday this morning on the building project the team nailed on the double top plate, finished nailing the studs and completed the window and door noggings.
In kindi the face paints were out during arts and crafts, with Gillian, Fanny and Livvy transforming the kids into tigers! They also had song time, early learning and outdoor play, and it really was a great day!
In sports, Charlie was playing in amongst classes 1 and 2 as they had a structured game to finish, whilst in rounders Ben and Matt took classes 5-8 girls through some catching and throwing drills before playing a game. For football the young ones actually seemed to understand and use the skills being shown by Satnam, Rupert, Fanny, Tavis and Dan which was a huge improvement.
At the de-brief the team decided on the committees for the Health, Environment and Entertainment programmes that shall run through the project. These are smaller aims which each gap year team has to deliver as part of the overall volunteer project, including leading health awarenss initiatives in school, environment projects within the village and a youth festival for the community. The first job for the entertainment committee was to choose the theme for Saturday night’s village fancy dress party, with Tribal being the choice!
In the evening it was cooking time for the team as they helped their mums in the kitchen to learn some of the Fijian dishes. And after dinner there was a very relaxed grog session in the shed with a few of the village, whilst others had some family time in their homes.
Thursday 03rd February –
On the building project today the focus was on the ridge and on the rafters, with our building manager Jimmy having Ben, Tavis and Charlie help him centre and nail the ridge, whilst the rest of the team marked where the rafters would be placed on the top plate and ridge board itself. After lunch they began to cut and nail the rafters into place, and with 13 completed before the end of the day we are very confident that all will be set by the end of the week tomorrow!
In kindi the team used the glue, sticks and felt paper to make houses and gardens with the kids during arts and crafts. There was of course circle time in the morning where everyone sings, and games of hokey cokey and row row your boat too, another day filled with fun!
In the sports projects it was game time for the girls in classes 5-8, as they took on the tp team! After some great netball, at half time it was 20-8 to the TP girls, and with the village ladies also looking to play they came on to replace the tpers. Mistress Litia also joined the school team, along with our leaders Paskey and myself to try and turn the game. After some excellent netball, and some laughs, it finished 33-16! In the evening it was quiz time, written by Quiz on your face and including rounds on Tevita, the turaga ni koro in Yavu, Sweden and Movie quotes amongst others. With the scores counted it was team Fanny Bashers who won the day by one point, and took home the oreos, as well as the privilege of writing next weeks quiz.