Past volunteers

Volunteer stories: Lucy Price

Lucy Prince

The second week living life as a Fijian has come and gone so quickly, in under two weeks we’ve grown to know our fellow Fijian neighbours to an extent you’d believe we’d been close friends for years. That’s the amazing thing about life here, absolutely every Fijian has a heart of gold and a smile to stretch from both end of the earth. I am writing this blog to you lying on the floor of the living room/dining room/ bedroom/ kitchen of my house after consuming  a MASSIVE Sunday dinner, accompanied by two very cute new friends intently watching my every move! ( I don’t think they are even from the village!) Niubasaga has been host to the other 9 villages of Moturiki today for an extensive church service, so of course there was a great feast laid before us. Listening to the priest preach loudly for an hour in a language that you have no chance of following, I think I had the right to doze off a couple of times!

Not only has meeting the beautiful people that live in this village been an amazing experience, meeting the TEAM FIVE tp’ers has been awesome aswell. Just like the barney song, we’re a happy family! Everyone has gelled really well and each and every one of us is totally embracing the astonishing experience.  The team leaders have helped make settling in to such a totally different lifestyle much easier and their enthusiasm for getting us all involved and growing together as people is huge. Kudos to you!

Starting our expedition with three wonderful days on Calaqai was fantastic. Boating through the lush greenery of the mangrove buses and then to pull up on a ‘shipwrecked’-esque white-sanded island most defiantly one of those moments where I had to pinch myself. We spent our days playing dramatic games of volleyball with the Fijians at the resort, lounging on the beach, admiring the breathtaking scenery and just generally getting to know the big group of strangers we were about to share what we hoped to be five of the best weeks together! It just so happened that my 19th birthday fell on the Saturday that we were in Calaqai and no joke, I have to say it has been one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. The leaders were very secretive in organsing a signed sulu for me and Kitty and co made me a superb cake that was literally the size of a house! Being sung happy birthday by a bunch of people I’ve never met before in such a happy chorus once again made me speechless. Again, I had to take a reality check and tell myself I’m in the best place in the world right now.

It may just be because my name is easy to say,( I’d like to think otherwise!) but walking anywhere I hear shouts of BULA LUCY!!!!! Even by people I haven’t met yet! It’s amazing!

It was at the birthday hop-hop that I developed myself a reputation of being a great dancer- only because I took the initiative and asked a Fijian to dance! From then on I think I’ve been associated with a hop-hop and crazy dancing! Without embarrassment or any exhibit of self consciousness, the Fijian boys were up like a shot to grab a lady to dance with. The yelps of laughter from them when you throw in a snake hip or a bit of a booty shake is absolutely hilarious! They all love it!

I have to say the sevu-sevu on our first day on the island was one of the most amazing displays of human grace I’ve ever witnessed in my life. The gratitude and passion they all showed for our presence was phenomenal, and when the Turaga ni koro mentioned that their hearts and homes are open to us forever with buckets of love really tipped me and brought a lump to my throat. I discovered then that the Fijians have so much time for people and their culture. The respect in this community is immense.

Teaching at school has been wonderful, the children in my class are fantastic- although very hard work! The first few days I found tough as Mr Sake the class 6 teacher left me on the first day and just said ‘They’re all yours.’ ! No props, no prep – nothing. Just a class of eager eyes staring at me and a language barrier right infront of me. I learnt to take the rough with smooth and treat it was a challenge and with the helpful words from the leaders managed to turn the hard points into a challenge. We were then given a few lessons to teach, this time with some textbooks, which really got you in touch with the children. English lessons were enjoyable and they thouroughly enjoyed the drama lesson I pulled out of the bag for them- I probably should have taught them ‘heads down thumbs up’ after I’d done some lessons as every time I stood up to teach something they’d be hands up like a flash with 21 requests of ‘MADAM MADAM! PLAY!!!!!!PLAY!!!’ I have to say being called Madam was quite bizarre! Being in the school really made me realise how priveledged we are back home. I’m looking forward to completing the build this week, although sad that by the end of it we will have only one week left in the village.

Anyway, Harry’s lying here on the floor with Billy and Jason discussing rugby but really I think he’s trying to hurry me up so I better wrap this up and get creating some more exciting things to talk about in the next blog!

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It was the best experience of my life. I feel like I've come away with some of the closest friends you can ever make.
Lucy Price, Shrewsbury
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