Fiji Sulus, Sun, and Service 2017
July 10, 2017
We arrived in Fiji today and it was lovely. Once we got off of the plane, we went through customs. The line was extremely long and it took forever. Once we got through customs, we changed into something more comfortable and then got going. After we left the airport, we went a local market and watched Mark eat an extremely spicy pepper. It was really funny but, I felt kinda bad. We left the market with various local produce and met up with the rest of the group at the resort. We all got together, picked our rooms, and began to bond. We went to the beach and played some volleyball. We then left to go to another beach to do more stuff and see more things. We swam for a while then, we went and ate some delicious pizza. We had some good service. After we ate, we did some team building games. We went over our itinerary and proceeded to the market. We shopped for our sulu’s with excitement. A few of us went to a textile store to get a piece cut. We all got our new sulu’s and they looked great. We had a great experience at the market. We waited in line for a very long time to get 10 coconuts, sliced into halves. Once we left the market, we all headed to dinner. We left dinner and met up altogether. We all learned how to wrap our sulus and experienced kava. Then we went to bed, goodnight!
July 11, 2017
Bula! Welcome to the village! This morning we woke up after a good night’s sleep and made breakfast with the left over food. We played some group games like “four corners” and made our group contract. Then we played games and even met some puppies! Then we jumped into our sweet rides and started are travels to the village. We stopped for lunch on the way in the bustling town. The food was an amazing mix of Chinese and Indian so the majority of us got chicken fried rice to share because the portions were massive. Also, the people who ate the corned mutton last night got their free ice cream from Adam.
We jumped back into our stylish vans and drove another hour to our new families. We put on our beautiful sulus and were welcomed into the village with a traditional welcome ceremony, which included drinking kava. We were introduced to our host families and got to play with all the kids of the village. Right away we started a game of tag before we had some delicious tea and donuts. We played duck, duck, goose with the kids in a giant circle. After that we all split up into our families and played our own games. I had a dance party and played some hand games and UNO with my family while other’s braided hair and played other card games. We all got back together for a spectacular dinner of curry, rice, lentil soup, and fries. After dinner, we all went back to our homestays for more games, culture, and a good night’s sleep before our first day of work tomorrow. Moce!
July 12, 2017
Happy birthday, Felicity! This day started off with a breakfast of cake and brownies, and it was decorated adorably with Frozen (the Disney movie) balloons and handwritten Happy Birthday signs. At around 9 am, our first day of work commenced. Nativi village was in the eye of cyclone Winston, and a lot of the village has been destroyed. We started reconstruction on the house of Joshua, the village’s chief. There were three jobs: shoveling dirt into the wheelbarrow, running the wheelbarrow to the house, and leveling the floor of the house with the transferred dirt. The heat was intense, but the work was fulfilling. Many of us have expressed the hope of finishing this house before we leave. We then had about an hour to rest, which I spent wandering the village. After tea time we went back to the house. This time we worked by sanding the wooden planks and painting primer onto them. Following the service portion of today, I joined a bunch of Fijian kids in a hand game and almost won. I left for a few minutes to wash, and I had a tub of water and a cup to pour the water onto myself. Once I got back outside it was already getting dark (around 6:15pm). The kids placed nearly forty stickers over my face, neck, and arms. They were also interested in brushing my hair and getting piggy back rides. I love how friendly and playful they are. Before dinner I was led to the house by a few kids in the dark. I tripped a few times but had good guides. Dinner was once again amazing, and I appreciated the change from American foods. Following this, I headed back home to play some games with my new brother, Molu, then went to bed. Goodnight!
July 13, 2017
After a relentless day of partying for Felicity’s birthday, we woke up to learn that today we were celebrating her American birthday. Everyone got a birthday oriented toy. We had a breakfast of multiple types of bread including donuts, some sort of cake thing and just usual bread. We split into two groups, one of eight and one of six. We wanted to keep the groups even in order for everyone to have a teaching partner. There were multiple classrooms for us to teach in, we taught time, english math and other school thing. Our morning of teaching at the school ended with a bang, when all the kids got out of school to play duck duck goose. We all walked back from the school to eat a hardy meal, and prepare for our work. Today we had to mix cement and apply it to the floor of the house we were building. It was nice to feel accomplished about all the concrete we got on the ground. We had been building the chief of Nativi’s house, but even he helped out. When we finished the house work we drank tea, and Ben got to make one of his famous drink concoctions including peanut butter, jelly, crackers and tea. Following the tea time, the vast majority of the group went to play volleyball, rugby and baseball. We ate a large dinner of rice and soup. After dinner we experienced a Fijian Meke, in wich all of the kids got to dance around. Following this Jam packed day of adventurous activity we wall went to bed.
July 14, 2017
I woke up after a restful night of sleep to a dark twilight that covered the landscape: The temperture outside the house was reminiscent of home. As soon as the sun rose, Devin and I began to walk towards the Womyn’s Center where the group has breakfast every day. We stopped along our path to visit the resident puppies that lived next to our house. Macadamian, Caramel Frappucina, Almond, Felicia, Avery, and Juan were just some of the eleven puppies that would come eagerly when they caught sight of our sexy sulu cloth. At breakfast, we enjoyed a balanced meal of cake, bread, and fruit with sugar as a side. After the meal we got to work on our service project which was to build a house for the community in which we were living in. Today we primed all the wood beams and poured concrete to create the floor. The work was all done by hand because we lacked power tools. What we lacked in equipment we made up with lots of hands; we moved at a steady pace and accomplished the entire floor. We got so much work done, even Stephan King would be proud. After a nice lunch of ramen and rice we played volleyball with everyone from the village. Then we enjoyed “tea” and “crackers” as a group. I then had nice ice cold shower;), then walked to dinner. We enjoyed a nice dinner of raman and rice then went to bed, bright and excited for the next day.
July 15, 2017
After waking up from a wonderful night, we got another delicious breakfast from the village ladies. We then got out work sulus on and went onto the worksite to finish the floor. Even with a minor mishap while getting the water to flow through the hose (LOL), we finished the work in a timely manner(Yippie!). We then got to enjoy some volleyball with the locals until lunchtime, where I ate two whole plates of ramen with sausage(mhmm…sausage). After lunch we got to enjoy some rugby with the villagers. We started with a game of two hand touch so everyone could join in. I then walked onto the rugby field to be warned by Jim, my homestay uncle, that me and Dan were about walk onto a game of rugby full of rucking . After being tackled and thrown around the dirt field we learned they were going easy on us, and I didn’t want to find out what it would’ve been like if they were going all out (ouch). After we were all tired, we got to watch the kids play a game and then return to the village for some naps and more time with the children. After dinner we shared popsicles, poopsicles, and dreamsicles, we could almost unanimously decide this was the best day yet. We then got a wonderful weaving demonstration from Millie. We went to bed exhausted and ready for a day of rest.
July 16, 2017
Our first Sunday in the village was amazing. The day was kind of sad because today was our last full day in the village. Many people cried, but not me because I’m kind of heartless, but other than that it was great. We spent the whole day with our families and it was great. We went to a really cool church service, and it was so amazing to watch. Zoë looked amazing at the service (love mark). After the church service, we took a bunch of great pictures and we all looked awesome. We got to hang out with our families for the duration of the day and it was amazing. It got a little emotional, but it was great. They told us hpw much we loved them, and we said it in return. Living in this village has been wonderful. I’m going to be so sad when we leave, I might actual cry. Maybe I do have a heart! Goodnight, from my last night in the community.
July 17, 2017
Monday was an emotional rollercoaster. We started off the day with an early breakfast of oatmeal at 7am. After breakfast it was time to say goodbye to our friends from Nativi. Many tears were shed by most of our group and many of the people from the village. After the emotional goodbyes, we were off to the Voli Voli resort to scuba dive. We saw many different types of fish, big and small. Luckily, there were no sharks or swordfish, though we literally found Dory. After a VERY bumpy boat ride back to the resort, and a lot of people feeling queezy, we had a delicious lunch of fish and chips. After lunch, we left for Takalana. It was a very eventful car ride. We lucked out when Craig said he knew how to change a spare tire. We had a little pit stop for some ice cream and 5 minute tire repairs and then we were off again. Once we arrived at the resort, we had a delicious dinner of soup and chicken. We chilled for a while and looked at the stars. A few of us saw a shooting star. We are all excited about out our last few days here and looking forward to relaxing by the beach.
July 18, 2017
We had a super relaxing morning and we got to sleep in a little bit. After breakfast we did a group activity reflecting on our time in Nativi village. We reflected on our impact on Nativi and Nativi’s impact on us, we then brainstormed some ideas for further sustainable service projects we can do on Nativi. After a delicious lunch, we hiked up to a swimming hole in the middle of the forest of Fiji. It was a beautiful fresh water pool. We jumped off a ledge into the chilly water. Later that evening, after another amazing meal, we did another group activity and our daily popsicle, poopsicle, and dreamsicle. We then headed down to the beach and enjoyed our night by a bonfire, listening to Delaney read us crime stories, and listening and dancing to Fijian music. We all miss Nativi and are very upset we are leaving in a couple days, but we all are so grateful for this experience and the relationships we have made.
July 19, 2017
We woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. After a breakfast of cereal and banana bread, we gathered the things we needed for the day and waited for the weather to improve so we could go on our boat adventure. As we tried to leave the shore, we discovered that we didn’t have enough life jackets for all of us. We then waited for a second boat to come with more. As we neared the reef, swarms of dolphins began to playfully circle our boat. It was an amazing sight to see dozens of dolphins all swimming together and jumping in the air. We even saw one or two babies. We then anchored our boat in shallow water and jumped overboard. We had a fun time swimming, snorkeling, and diving for shells at the reef. Sadly, we had to return to the resort for lunch. After lunch, we were able to have a relaxing afternoon chilling with each other and learning how to make coconut toffee. After our final dinner at the resort, we did some group bonding activities to wrap up our trip. We then headed down to the beach for yet another awesome bonfire. A group of Fijian men were there playing music and dancing, so we all formed a circle and sang and danced together. Since it was our last night, we were allowed a curfew of 1 A.M. (although most of us fell asleep before then). We then packed our bags and ate our last breakfast at the resort and soon we will be beginning our 6 hour drive (which includes a trip to a spice garden!) around the island back to Nadi.