After an incredible few days relaxing on the castaway island, our May 10 week volunteer team have finally arrived and settled into the village of Niubasaga! This chiefly village of Moturiki will become home for our gap volunteers over the next 2 months. So here we are, week one down and our feet have barely touched the ground! We arrived to our new home for the next two months on Saturday afternoon and were warmly welcomed in by the whole community and after a quick official welcome into the village we all immediately started getting to know our new Fijian brothers, sisters, mums, dads and friends better. Sunday was a relaxing affair and the team witnessed their first Fijian church service and a chance to hear the beautiful choir voices. The service was led entirely by the women of the village as it was Fijian Mothers day. We then all ate together as the men of the village had cooked a lovo (traditional Fijian cooking method) to give the mums a well deserved day off!
The first rota has seen Rhiannon, Tess, Peter, Molly and Ben help out at Moturiki District School. The guys have had a superb first week at school getting fully immersed into their teaching roles. We’ve seen it all in school this week, everything from maths games to science experiments, to even pondering the meaning of life! The kids have made sure there hasn’t been a dull moment in school for our volunteers. Rhiannon has taken control of class 3 and has been fantastic at getting the kids excited and eager to learn about Maths and English using fun stories and games. Molly started this week with a bang with her very own science experiments in class 4. She’s become a natural in school and has set the bar very high for the rest of the expedition! She helped put her class through their arithmetical athletics ensuring all the kids in her class are gold medallists in multiplication! When she found out the times tables were written on the back of the kids’ workbooks they may have slipped out of a medal finish but we’re sure Molly is going to have them back up in poll position in no time. Tess has taken to teaching like a duck to water and smashed the first week at school. She has taken the reins of class 6 and has worked closely with this little intimate class.
From teaching English and Maths to getting involved in learning about Fiji’s rich cultural heritage, Tess has already become very popular amongst all the children. Last but not least we have our two boys, Peter and Ben, who have definitely enjoyed the authority and power that comes with teaching! Peter has taken class 7 and has set to work on making sure all the kids become great thinkers of tomorrow. Class 5 has enjoyed the company of Ben who has done a great job at working in small groups with kids who are struggling, to give them that extra bit of help. It’s safe to say the first week at school couldn’t have gone any better, with all the kids and teachers very impressed with the efforts and enthusiasm from all the volunteers so a massive well done to everyone.
Kindi has seen the whirl wind trio of Katie, Sophie and Jess thunder through its doors this week. The girls have matched the energy the kids bring every day! Walk passed the kindi classroom and you’re bound to her our girls and the children laughing away, not to mention the occasional ‘awwww’’ and ‘he’s soooooo cute!’ Kindi has been treated to plenty of songs this week with ‘the little green frog’ being a volunteer favourite! With activities like hand prints and painting for arts and crafts, our guys have made sure the kids are all having a ball! Topped off with some extremely messy and frothy yet effective toothbrush time, the kids have made sure our girls will never forget their time at kindi! With plans to introduce a theme for next week, our trio are certainly making the most of their time here and appear to be complete naturals at controlling the little rug rats.
The build team have continued the amazing start to project with an outstanding first week. Our guys who have grafted all week digging, concreting, lifting and shifting wood in the Fijian sun should take a bow. Harvey, Josh, Jacob, Jody, Sarah and Lucy have worked away without complaint even when some “iffy bowls” made a brief appearance to the build site. But everyone has had a smile on their face and a spade in their hand. Sarah was so desperate to get stuck in she very nearly did get stuck as she slipped into one of the holes dug out for a post! What more could we ask for? Not a thing! The build has already taken a drastic leap from the bare ground we started with just a week before! With the music playing and the sun shining down, everyone has had a great first week and can’t wait to start building the frame come Monday.
The House Cup competition also started this week, helping the kids get involved with extracurricular activities. House Art and Photography has kick started the competition and already we’ve seen some very artistic displays from both the kids and our team. Along with sports coaching we are very lucky that this term includes an inter-school youth rugby and netball tournament on a neighbouring island. With the pride of our school and island on the line, all our guys are working hard in coaching and training the various rugby and netball teams so they are ready to compete and triumph in the tournament come week 6!
It appears lots of the team are fighting for top dog status in the grog hall and trying to keep up with the Fijians. It seems at least one volunteer has spent the evening drinking kava with the elders every night, much the delight of the Fijians! Friday night saw Niubasaga host a grog and hop hop extravaganza in which all our guys had a wonderful evening of grog and dancing. Our guys had a day of snorkelling and volleyball to shake off any ‘grog-overs’ on Saturday. Team ‘Black Hurricanes,’ made up of Ben, Jacob, Josh, Semi and Rob took the crown at volleyball while everyone got to see some amazing fish and coral off the Niubasaga coastline.
We couldn’t have asked for a better first week in Niubasaga and everyone is eager for the hart work of week 2 to begin! With our volunteers feeling right at home, week 2 our gap year project promises to build on the success of this initial week as we really start to make an impact on the volunteer programmes.
Vinaka vaka levu! Rob, Euan, and the Nuibasaga volunteers!