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Fiji Islands Building Communities

July 10, 2018

Today was a whirlwind day.  The group of us who didn’t go to New Zealand arrived at like 6:15 in the morning after an exhausting 11 hour flight.  On the way to our hotel we stopped at a really cute market and looked at some of the local fruits and veggies. Meeting all of the new people once we got to the hotel was amazing.  Everyone was so nice and I soon realized I would have absolutely nothing to worry about with making friends or talking to people. I love my room, I have very quickly made friends with Emily, Maddy, Kerri and Sam and a little while after we all met we went to the beach to do some introduction/orientation type games and the beach was gorgeous and the food was really good; fries in Fiji are about 10x better than fries in the United States (in my opinion at least).  After we went to the beach we came back to the hotel to do a quick change from our suits to go to the Nadi for dinner and sulu shopping! We stopped in a bunch of shops while on the main road where we met lots of really fun and interesting people. We all met back at the Nadi Farmers Club for dinner, and had a good dinner. Once we arrived back at the hotel we practied our Sevu Sevu ceremony with a really cool Nativi local; Solomon.  I loved my first day here and I really can’t wait for the rest of our trip!

-Riley B.

July 11, 2018

Today when we woke up in our second day in paradise, we started the day off with a nice breakfast at the hotel. After that, we all gathered together to create our group contract, to communicate with each other about what we wanted to get out of these new eperiences; it was a great time to disscuss different aspects of the trip and what we want to take away. Then it was right off to Nativi Village to meet our host families and our home for the next 6 days. But of course we stopped for lunch and enjoyed some ice cream as well. The bus ride was long, but allowed us to look around and see different parts of the island. Maddy, Riley, Josh and I all took lots of pictutes and videos on the ride down to capture the best moments. When we arrived at the village we were welcomed with an awesome seremony and drank some more kava with the rest of the people here. We all felt right at home with our host familes, and spent a lot of time playing with the kids (which are adorable). We finished off the day with a great dinner in the community center. Today was a great start to the next few days to come!

-Emily W.

July 12, 2018

We began our day with a variety of bread, fruit, donuts and juice. After breakfast, we went straight to work with our assigned tasks. Some cooked, some helped in schools, and some helped build the foundation to an extension of a kindergartern teacher’s house. To make the foundation we mixed cement and poured it around the cinder blocks. In the kitchen, some prepared our delicious lunch of chicken stew, rice, plantain, and more. After lunch, we continued back to work but we all went to the working site and continued to mix cement and pour it into the foundation of the home. Our work help to create a kitchen and dining room space for the house. After working on the site then having tea time all together, we all convened to an open green area where we played soccer, volleyball, frisbee and more. The kids loved using our cameras to take lots of pictures. We finished the day off with a great meal of roti with rice, vegetable stir-fry, plantain, and curry lentils!

-Lizzy H

July 13, 2018

Started the morning off with a range of breakfast options: two different kinds of slices/cakes, delicious fresh fruit and bread with eggs. Afterwards, the group split into two groups – one group was to make a start on the cementing of the extension room’s floor, and the other (which I was in) was to walk over to the primary school and assist the teachers. After a short walk that crossed through a small river, we made it to the school. The school is currently busy with the construction of new classrooms to replace those that were destroyed during cyclone Winston. We met with the principal and gave her our gifts of school supplies and crafts. We then split into smaller groups and walked over to our assigned classes. Meg, Samantha and I were assigned to class 3, which had a few of our host kids in it. We proceeded to teach the jovial kids how to play pictionary and a number of different clapping/ rythm games. At 12.30 another awesome lunch was devoured, and at 1.30 our morning school group switched with the morning construction crew. They would be spending the afternoon organizing games for a two hour recess for all the students. At the construction site, we managed to complete all of the cementing of the floor by 3.15! Seeing the progress being made is amazing. By the time afternoon tea had finished, the kids had returned from school and were eager to play some games. Sam, Meg and I had a great time exchanging games with the growing number of excited kids. The game: “Heads down, thumbs up” was a hit and we spent an intense hour before dinner playing it with them. Dinner was another tasty spread of dahl, rice, rotis, and more. After that, we remained in the community hall to play a few games as a group and chat about the day, and our days to follow. We dispersed later, though most of us came back to the hall to screen print the village’s rugby team’s name on shirts or fabric of any kind (to show our support for their team in the game tomorrow which we were going to travel to). The day ending with kava drinking and more games with the kids, before we wandered back home to sleep to prepare for another beautiful day.

-Stellar N.

July 14, 2018
The night before was quite a ride, I was able to witness kava drinking that lasted until 11pm. Anywho, the next morning consisted of us tired and clumsy kids who wanted to sleep in. Breakfast was the usual, coffee, tea or milk with desserts. After breakfast was schooling time. Solomon educated us about Fijian life and how they rely on plants for survival. As noon arrived, we departed to the rugby game. The atmosphere was wild. Even though the majority of us were clueless about rugby, we were entertained by the hits delivered by the players. As of right now, we’re currently having dinner. The next few hours will consist of acoustic music, dances, kava drinking and many more. With the group game on our mind, look out for the carabiner!
– Khoi D.

July 15, 2018
Because Sunday is the day of rest in the village, we had no work to do this morning. We were served a breakfast spread of cake, egg and watermelon at 8:30 before getting ready for church at 10. All of the girls were given dresses and the boys were given black sulus to wear by their host families. The church is on the border of Nativi. It’s white and has gold and blue decorations around the front of the room. When we walked in, all the kids were singing songs and occasionally some of the adults would join in. The priest talked very passionately during the service and would often slam his hands down onto the altar. He thanked us for coming and said farewell for Tuesday. The service lasted for about an hour and 40 minutes. Afterwards, everyone was taking photos with their host kids in their Sunday best. The rest of the day was filled with naps and quiet, indoor activities. It was a very relaxing day of rest! Right now, we’re clearing the dinner dishes from the community hall and then we’ll probably have free time before going to bed.
-Meg W.

July 16, 2018
We started off the morning with a variety of different cakes, fruits and hot drinks. After breakfast, we began our last day of service work in Nativi Village. Half of the group began to paint the kindergarten teacher’s house, while the others were assisting the teacher in the classroom. Others were helping the women in the kitchen prepare our lunch, while three worked on a photo project. After a morning of work, we came together in the hall for lunch. We were given a wonderful spread consisting of chicken, rice, and a variety of vegetables. Later that afternoon, we helped mix concrete for a home and finished our painting job. A couple of us set off to go swimming in a near by river after the afternoon’s work had been finished. Tea at 4pm did not disappoint, and the sugar donuts that were prepared were demolished by the hungry 20 in a matter of seconds. Because it was the last day in the village, time after tea was spent playing and spending time with the children for the last time. After our free time, we congregated in the hall for a special evening. We started off the dinner with a birthday celebration for both Miles and Josh. We proceeded to have a fantastic final dinner filled with chicken, fries, vegetables and than topped off with a delicious birthday cake! We wrapped up the night in the hall with the village as they presented us with a goodbye ceremony. We drank kava, danced, sang and enjoyed one last amazing night in Nativi. As we leave Nativi, we are all excited to embark the next leg of our journey at Volivoli!
-Celia S.

July 17, 2018

It was our final morning in the Nativi village. Our host families gave gifts like mats, flowers, hats and sulus and we said our last goodbyes. We stood in front of our bus and did a conga line as the members of the village sang beautifully, bringing us all to tears. We then made our way to Volivoli for our scuba adventure. On the  gorgeous boat ride out to the water, we had the lucky experience of seeing two humpback whales playing and jumping out of the water. The coral was absolutely beautiful and a couple groups even saw a small shark in the reefs and my group saw a puffer fish. After our 25 minute dive, we snorkeled and sat on top of the boat to relax but we slid around a lot because we were soaking wet. After we got to land we ate lunch and began our three hour trek to Takalana where we will be spending our last few days in Fiji.

-Jaymee P.