Fiji Sunny Service & Island Immersion 2022
July 13, 2022
After 11 plus hours of traveling, we arrived in Fiji! We sadly turned in our phones. Then we headed to the local market, we drank coconuts, and ate pineapple and papaya. Then we went to get breakfast. We had an amazing view of the water. We swam for hours in the ocean. The beach is so beautiful! We showered and then hit the town. We bought souvenirs and sulus. Sulus are the skirts we will wear in the village. We went back to the house to meet the rest of our group. Some of us went back to the beach to swim more! After that, we had dinner. Then we went to bed!
July 14, 2022
We woke up and both groups had the opportunity to build our connections by ziplining. We had a long and thrilling day of going ziplining; soon after we had a delicious lunch and even had ice cream courtesy of the owner of the zip lining place [crazy Kevin]. We then had a beautiful hike up to a scenic waterfall where everyone partook in swimming and explored the nature. We ended the day with more bonding exercises, a community contract and a filling dinner. All of us packed up our things and crashed for the night before our early adventure the next day!
By Natalie & Leigh
July 15, 2022
Camera starts with high aerial view of the Fijian beach. Seagulls squawk in the distance as it slowly zooms into a large boulder on the shoreline, as a small group of teenagers finish a climb to the top.
View cuts to a close-up shot just barely above the edge of this rock, and the upper body of Ian, one of these climbers, rises into view. Abruptly, the cluster of rocks supporting his right hand crumbles away, causing the hand to slip back under the cliff face. Ian shows a panicked expression as the rest of him rapidly falls with it.
[Editor’s Note: Too harsh of opening may deter parents? Consider a field of puppies]
Camera freeze-frames just before Ian’s face falls out of view. Play iconic record scratch sound effect.
Ian (voiceover): Yep, that’s me. I bet you’re wondering how I got here. Well, that all started a long time ago… this morning.
[Editor’s Note: Are you trying to get us sued]
Camera fades into a top down shot of a group of people boarding a metro bus. Ian is centered in the shot.
Camera transitions to a medium shot of Ian. He looks straight into the camera while walking towards the bus.
Ian: The rides are usually fairly interesting, but those were in our own vans. This time, we went for public buses instead. That was…
Camera cuts to a view from the front of the interior of the bus, looking down the aisle. There are a couple dozen other random people together with the students. The air is mostly quiet, with silence occasionally broken by whispering. Someone coughs, and another says ‘Gesundheit’ some time after.
[Editor’s Note: Why did you describe “do nothing” in so much detail]
After scene plays for an uncomfortable ten seconds, camera changes to a sidelong view of everyone climbing out. As Ian does so, camera follows.
Ian: After that, I was hoping for a better ferry ride. It was for some…
Cut to the top deck of the ferry, showing a group of our teens posing for a photo while another takes it.
Ian (voiceover): And for others…
Camera shifts slightly to the right, revealing another student hunched over the railing, clearly not having a good time.
The next shot is a 3D rendered version of a globe, zoomed in on the Fiji area. A small boat symbol travels from the main island to Wayalailai.
[Editor’s Note: Our special effects budget is a Sharpie and a few maps I got from a gift shop. Make do]
Ian (voiceover): But we all got to the village there in one piece. The locals were incredibly welcoming, I will say.
Camera cuts to a beachside view, with Ian and a couple others stepping off of a motorboat. The beach is filled with dancing townsfolk and travelers alike, though Ian simply strides through.
The camera follows Ian as he enters a large building filled with others sitting cross-legged. He drops to the same position, as someone offscreen mutters some Fijian verses. A coconut filled with a whitish liquid slides to Ian’s feet, which he quickly drinks.
[Editor’s Note: Gross oversimplification, but fine]
Ian (voiceover): And after that quick ceremony, we were free to do as we wished. The rest of the day was ours.
Upbeat ukulele music plays in the background as we shift through a variety of scenes of fun. There is one of a group of kids going fishing, and the camera dives into water to reveal a couple more snorkeling. The next shows some others taking a walk on the shoreline, with the horizon right alongside.
The final scene is a replay of the earlier one, in which Ian once again nearly reaches the edge before slipping. He falls, with the music holding its breath in anticipation… and drops just short of six inches before stopping. The camera circles to his back to show a wide, sturdy path of rock he landed on feet first.
Upbeat music resumes as Ian successfully finishes the climb. Others already atop the boulder pose for a photo against the breathtaking sunset, and Ian unstraps a camera from his back to take one. The camera slowly rises into the air, further and further away, until the rock is just a speck on the horizon.
Screen goes black, preceded by the finishing notes to the song, and a single camera click.
[Editor’s Note: Wait, none of us know how to fly a drone. How are you getting all of these aerial shots?]
[Author’s Note: How much do catapults cost these days?]
[Editor’s Note: Dear God. Thank goodness no one will see this draft]
July 16, 2022
We woke up to the beautiful waves crashing against the Namara Village’s Beach. As we all were getting ready for the day, the villagers prepared a beautiful Fijian breakfast. We gathered in the Community Center, which we plan to paint later in the week, to eat a meal complete with fruit, breakfast pastries and traditional Fijian dishes.
After breakfast, some of the group read on the beach while others talked in the grass. Continuing on through the day, the group decided to have a beach day. We built a sand castle with Tim, which proceeded to be ruined by the high tide a few hours later. Many of us took advantage of the beautiful weather and swam. We took lunch outside and ate egg sandwiches, fish, and curry facing the beautiful mountains.
In the afternoon we snorkeled in the coral reefs. We saw loads of fish, including zebrafish. The water was crystal clear and beneath the surface was a magnitude of bright colors of reef. It was magical. Dinner was served in the community center while two of the villagers sang traditional Fijian songs. We also sang Belle Happy Birthday in English and Fijian!
The evening was filled with laughter as we played games, told stories, and reflected on one of the most beautiful days of our lives.
Avery the boss
July 17, 2022
We woke up to the sun beaming on us like a warm blanket. The only sounds we heard were the chirps of various Fijian birds and the contagious laughter of the children in the village.
Of course the day started with yet another delicious breakfast full with banana pancakes, pineapple, and fruit. As we ate our breakfast, the group discussed our plans for the day. We were happy to learn that the day would be full of relaxation because it is Sunday.
In the Namara Village, no one works on Sundays because the Bible states it is the day of rest. After our bellies were full and our hearts happy, we set out to play with the children in the village. We taught them American card games. Funny enough, we had to teach our leader, Tim, the card games as well. Unsurprisingly, Tim lost every game and claimed we all cheated. We love you Tim.
At lunch we devoured freshly caught seafood and warm bread. As the day went on we sat on the beach reading and swimming. Some even managed to finish a whole book (Riley) in one afternoon.
As the clock struck 4, we had our favorite part of the day, Tea Time! We enjoyed cassava pie ( no idea what’s in it but it’s scrumdiliumcious) and tea. Craig, our leader, took drone footage while Tim warned us about coral cuts. A few of us “decided” to get cut in the coral and a worried Tim gave us a ‘Tim Lesson’ and said we no longer shall let the coral cut us. Tim took care of the cuts and we continued to read till dinner.
Dinner was prepared by 7 and consisted of chicken, vegetable, and fish curry. We finished up the night by enjoying some late birthday cake for Belle. And of course, we proceeded to annoy Tim some more while he was working. After our successful mission, Tim was thoroughly annoyed and we headed to bed for the night. P.S. We made sure to bow down to King Austin and study our math cards.
Till next time,
Avery and Nnyala
July 18, 2022
After stuffing ourselves with a delicious breakfast, we wiped down the outside of the community hall and then began to paint the entire building a gorgeous blue. Once the outside was done we recharged with a filling lunch and then got right back to work on the inside of the building. After a mix of dancing, painting and singing we all cooled off with a swim in the ocean. To finish off the day we went on an expert level hike up the mountain right behind the village.
July 19, 2022
We woke up bright and early in order to see the incredible sunrise on the very top of the mountain behind the village. We came back and recharged by taking naps, reading and journaling. We did some finishing touches on the community building and then did more resting and reading. Some of us tested our volleyball skills in a game against the kids in the village. After the sweat, and exhaustion was too much to handle we got ready for our final dinner. We had dinner with the entire group, then danced and gave our thanks to the community for allowing us into their village and sharing their culture and kindness with us for the past few days. Our final night with the community ended with a bonfire where we listen to music, danced some more and said our goodbyes to the village.
July 20, 2022
This morning we waved our final farewell to the Namara Village after breakfast before setting off for Barefoot Manta resort on the island hopper ferry. After about an hour commute, with only minimal boat sickness throughout the group, we finally arrived to a warm welcome song. We had a delicious lunch after being greeted by Cookie the parrot. Afterwards we all just chilled out doing our own thing that afternoon, with a plethora of activities to choose from, my favorite being the beach volleyball. We watched a beautiful sunset on the beach before heading off to another great meal. Post-dinner we went back to our tent like residences to prepare for the next day.
July 21, 2022
Bula from Fiji!! Today we woke up for breakfast at around 730. Then we went SCUBAing and learned basic skills. We focused on what to do if you lost your mask, breathy thing, inflator thingy, check your gears, and lots of other fun stuff. Afterwards we swam at the beach and tanned. We took walks around the island. We played a fierce beach volleyball game before getting ready for dinner. We watched the sunset and ate dinner which was soup, bread, and a good chicken, fish, or veggie curry type thing. For dessert we had pie and the. Had the best day evaaaas peace out.
By the Virginias
July 22, 2022
Bula everyone! We woke up to the birds chirping and the waves crashing. In the early morning, we headed to the buffet where we ate traditional Fijian foods and various native fruits. All of the scuba groups then got ready to go scuba diving. We went to scuba in three groups and all went down to 18 meters. Virginia U. and I, who are in group 2, saw various coral and fish of many colors. After the dive we all took our gear off and got cleaned up to hang out for the ready of the day. Lunch was a delicious buffet and much needed. There was bbq, fish, and fresh salad. As the day went on we played volleyball with other people at the resort and the staff. After a stressful volleyball tournament we headed to dinner. Tonight, the resort had ‘Fiji Night’ where we ate traditional foods, drank cava, and celebrated this beautiful culture. We danced and sang the night a way. Cheers to another great day in Fiji.
By Anaya and Avery
July 23, 2022
Bula! We woke up and had breakfast. After that some of us went scuba diving, some of us sat on the beach, and some read. Then we went to lunch, Katherine had fried fish and she said that it was the best fried fish she’s ever had. Then some of us studied for our scuba certification test. We went scuba diving for a second time and we saw manta rays, and Reese saw a shark! When we got back, we took our scuba certification test and we all passed! After we officially became certified scuba divers, we had a special dinner called Lovo, Lovo is when they smoke the food underground. After dinner the Fijian employees at Barefoot Manta Ray did a singing and dancing celebration. Then we all got a good nights sleep.
July 24, 2022
We awoke with the bittersweet knowledge of our impending departure. Shortly after a scrumptious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, banana bread, and tropical juice, group B and C went for their final dive but group A was already certified (because of their superiority -Nick). During our dive, in which we all successfully cleared our ears, we saw tons of vibrant, healthy coral; courtesy of the barefoot manta organization. We then rushed to a timely lunch and enjoyed a beautiful goodbye song from the lovely staff at Barefoot Manta. The 4 hour ferry went by in the blink of an eye with reading, napping, and enjoying the view. We collected our bags and booked it to a delicious dinner where everyone shed some tears over our great memories. Everyone was also deeply saddened by Reese and Belle leaving early tomorrow.
By Reese and the boyz