Fiji Islands Building Community (Session 2)
July 12, 2019
Hello from Nadi! Today was our first day in Fiji. We all had breakfast, and then sat and talked by the pool. Then, we had our first group meeting, and prepared for a walk on the beach, where we played some get-to-know-you games and did some icebreakers. We then had some pizza by the beach, and headed back to the resort. We had some free time before we went to the market, so we had a quick dip in the pool to cool off from the sweltering heat (quite the change from freezing New Zealand).
Then we all changed and went into town to by our sulus for our upcoming week in Nativi village. Sulus are similar to sarongs that are traditional to wear throughout the day here in Fiji. We also took this time to buy some souvenirs/gifts for our friends and families back home. Then we had a dinner out at the Nadi Farmers Club. We all enjoyed some delicious food, and a live musical performance. We rounded out the night with a practice for tomorrow night’s Kava ceremony that we will have in Nativi, called a Sevu Sevu ceremony. This ceremony will welcome us into the Nativi village and our homestay. We followed the practice with a quick dip in the pool, card games, and just overall rest before all of the many activities to come.
July 13, 2019
Today we woke up in Nadi for a nice breakfast quickly followed by our departure for Nativi. We began our journey and enjoyed the most beautiful bus ride I will ever experience. After stopping in the town of Rakiraki for lunch, we walked through the local market where myself and some other purchased pineapples and coconuts. We quickly got back on the road for the last leg of our ride. After many more outstanding views we arrived in the village of Nativi.
Once we were dressed in our traditional sulus, we exited the bus to be welcomed by the kid villagers. Then it was time for our Sevu Sevu, the traditional ceremony to welcome visitors into Nativi. Our group sat around the elders as they began. We then drank kava and were officially accepted into the village. To my surprise the village ladies broke into song and dance leaving everyone smiling or laughing. After the ceremony finished, it was time to meet our Fijian Families. As they called our names we stood up and met our host mothers, fathers, and siblings who gave us beautiful flower necklaces.
We were then brought to our homes and given tours. I got lucky because my home was right next to the community center. After getting to know each other, our brothers and sister took us to see their school and church. This did not last long as soon we found some of their friends to join in a game of Duck Duck Goose. Before I knew it everyone else joined along with their new siblings. I never thought of it to be that great a game but when joined by the happiest children I’ve ever met I never stopped laughing. In between afternoon tea and dinner, I had a great time dancing with my new family and their friends. Before I knew it, the room was almost full and I was being invited to dance. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and ended the evening with endless games of Uno. I love my Fiji family and don’t want to leave.
July 14, 2019
Hello from Nativi. Today I woke up to a beautiful sunrise. I wrote a bit in my journal and then got dressed to go to breakfast which was an awesome assortment of wonderful breads (coconut, chocolate and others) tea, coffee and pineapple.
After breakfast I went back with Are, our host brother and played Uno and sat with him, Tina, and our host dad. We then got ready for church with beautiful dresses provided for us. After getting dressed we played more cards until it was time to go to church. Church was teachings and songs. It was very beautiful. After church, we came back to our house and played games. After a while of playing games, we ate lunch which was meat, sauce, fries, coleslaw, noodles, and chicken. After lunch, we went to another house and I took pictures, played cards, and games and sang songs. I then went home and took a shower and played more games. Soon after we had afternoon tea and crackers at our homestays. After tea, we walked around the village and went to another house where we played more games and music. After we played outside with the kids, they enjoy hand clapping games and being carried. Between meals I really go to bond with the other village kids and Global Works students. We then ended the night with dinner which was fish coconut curry, rice, roti and fried eggplant. Then we came home and went to bed. Also I forgot to mention that Sunday is the day of rest in Fiji so no work was done.
July 15, 2019
I don’t even know what day it is but it doesn’t even matter because every day is amazing. This morning breakfast was at 7.30 and we are always complimented with nice warm tea, coffee and delicious cake, not to mention the lovely array of tropical fruits and local farm eggs. After that I went back to my room with my friend Jon to get ready for the day. We grabbed our gloves, put on sunscreen loaded up our water bottles and headed for the work site. We started mixing cement and digging out the dirt to create a drainage ditch. After a strenuous morning we broke for lunch. Then we had an hour of rest time before we came back to the work site to work on the same project. Around 4.30pm we had tea time which is super relaxing and essential after the long hours of work. We then played volleyball which got competitive between us and the villagers. After volleyball, we had an hour where we got cleaned up and we were looking fresh for dinner. Dinner was amazing as always and it’s such a happy and good vibe. The highlight was the fresh fish with coconut curry. After dinner we did a reflection activity on notecards about what experiences we want to take back from the village and apply to our everyday lives at home.
July 16, 2019
Yandra (Morning) from Nativi. Today I woke up bright and early to the roosters screeching. Luckily the early morning let me see the beautiful sunshine come up over the mountains. After getting ready, we made our way to breakfast to find sweet bread and eggs. The food, delicious as always, was finished quickly. I grouped with those who weren’t busy and visited a litter of puppies in the village. They were adorable. After playing with them for an hour, we headed back to the community center to sign jobs before getting into work. My group was assigned the drain. We started by shaping the ditch with shovels. After working hard in the hot sun we took a break for lunch. We all tiredly lumber back to eat, grateful that lunch was perfect as always. We had pineapple, rice, chicken and noodles with a delicious passionfruit juice smoothie. The food was so full of flavor it was incredible. After lunch we went down to the river to skip stones and dip our feet to cool off. The cool river was refreshing before we returned to the work life. The day got hotter and the work got harder. The gravel had been delivered so it was time to make cement. The cement was heavy but the Fijians were fun and playful while working. After a long work day, the group reunited for tea time.The tea was calming with a sweet bread to go with it. Tea time didn’t last long as we were eager to play volley ball with the Fijians. They were good and we only ended up winning one game out of many. While we were playing volleyball, Kyle had gathered an army of children and sent them out after a target. This meant many children came joyously running in your direction. At dinner we had flatbread, chicken with noodles and pumpkin curry sauce. The food was great after the long day. After dinner, everyone returned home to get rest for the next day
– Miles O.
July 18, 2019
Bula Nativi! For our last full day in the community we spent the morning learning how to plant cassava and sugarcane. I later found out that my host family owns the cassava farm, which I thought was pretty cool. Afterwards, we ate lunch and played games at the community center before setting up a surprise birthday party for Miles. For the birthday tea, the community dressed Miles up in their traditional birthday sulu, and gave him a celebration full of dancing and singing. Shortly after we had downtime to talk to our families and start packing. Everyone gathered at the community center for our last dinner in Nativi. The food was great, as always. After dinner we had the farewell ceremony, drank kava, danced, and had fun. It was time for bed, wrapping up our beautiful stay in Nativi.
– Amber J.
July 20, 2019
We all woke up this morning at Takalana resort to an overcast but beautiful morning. There were frequent off and on rain showers. The water was visible from the dining hall, and from where we slept. The ocean was like a sheet of glass.
After breakfast, half of us went dolphin watching and the other half went down to the beach to go for a walk and then kayaking. I was with the group that went kayaking in the morning and it felt extremely relaxing just to be floating in the water and to soak up the sun. After kayaking we walked back to the resort for lunch , which consisted of some of the best ceviche that I have had. After lunch it was my group’s turn to watch the pod of dolphins. The water was extremely blue, and it was not hard at all to see the dolphins. After about 20 minutes of watching the pods, we went to the edge of the reef to go snorkeling. Tat is now one of my favorite activities. Moon Reef is bursting with marine life. After dinner, we headed back to the resort to have a delicious dinner and play card games. Today was a very fulfilling day!
– Aidan V.
July 21, 2019
Today it was amazing to wake up and look out my window to see the sunrise over the ocean. We all went to breakfast and had lemon donuts and cereal. It was the most American meal we’ve had in a while! I packed up to get ready to head back to Nadi. The bus arrived at 10 and we started our 5 hour journey back. On the bus, I slept, talked, and sang songs with friends. We stopped for lunch at a small roadside shack, before arriving to Nadi a short 45 minutes later. As soon as we got to the hotel, we immediately jumped into the pool. We all chilled and talked, savoring our last night together. Everyone was around, and we shared our favorite memories of the trip. We walked to dinner, which turned out to be Burger King! Afterwards we hung out at the hotel before lights out, preparing for our last day in the morning.
– Grace C.
July 22, 2019
Today was our last day, but it was still jam-packed with fun. We started off with a great breakfast, then setting off for the mall in Denarau. We had some time to shop around for souvenirs and eat lunch. We then set off to watch the new Lion King movie back in town. After a fantastic time eating popcorn, we rushed off to the beach to watch the sunset and munch on pizza. We ended the day getting checked into security, with one of the shortest wait times I’ve seen! It is always hard to say goodbye, but I know that we will all be happy to see our families again.
See you soon/sota tale matka!
– Kyle J.