My second week in the village is drawing to a close and it’s been absolutely incredible this week – we’ve seen and done so much and it’s completely set us aside from any other Think Pacific project even more than we already were!
As you know, Monday started off with a hospital visit – not the best thing in the world, but it did help and by Tuesday I was feeling a LOT better (aside from that my right eye was now swollen probably from a ant/mosquito bite…yay). Tuesday was the hardest day, 1) because I felt like it was never ending and there was always going to be something wrong with me, 2) because ants got into my snacks, and 3) because I was still pretty weak from being ill. However I pushed through the trek and had a good day at school with the kids and we progressed a lot on our house cup arts and crafts too which the children loved!
Wednesday we were told we were going to stay on Caqualai resort island for a couple of nights due to the funeral and the large amount of new people coming into the village for it. We had our day at school (and already I had more strength from actually eating and found the trek easier) and then when we got back to the village all packed up our belongings.
At the resort we were given a dorm room, rickety wooden bunk-beds all stuffed into a room, with three people on little foam mattresses on the floor. It was so much fun and such a laugh all staying together in one big sleepover! And even though the shower was a cold drip from a shower head, it was slightly better than pouring a bucket over yourself.
The next day (Thursday) was the funeral day. And it was so emotional. It was my first ever funeral, and having a traditional Fijian one be my first was something to remember. The service was sweet, the singing was beautiful and even though I can’t understand Fijian it was a lovely service. Afterwards we were allowed to go watch the burial. This was very heart wrenching as many of the villagers were crying and wailing. It was so sad and so very emotional but an absolutely beautiful burial. The church choir was there on the burial hill we trekked to, and the village men all buried the coffin in the dirt before the women decorated it with material and ribbons and flowers. It was beautiful. The rest of our day we spent back on the resort island as a team.
Friday I think was my best day on project so far! This whole week the trek has been amazing as the ground has been dry too! We made it to school in a record 30mins (cut 15 minutes off our start time!) The kindi day was so much fun, we only had 15 kids in but it was the perfect number for the day. We got to do butterfly painting with them and also had a massive musical bumps & musical statues competition to Disney songs. They all loved it and the teacher even stayed and helped and got involved which was so nice to see. We absolutely smashed the kindi day but the day kept on getting better even when they went home. We had several dance parties with the school on the field with the kids at lunch time and had our house cup judging competition too. Yellow House (my house) came 3rd, but I was so proud of the children for their hard work as they did most of the project and absolutely loved doing it!
We were back in the village that evening and all of us went to have cava and hop hop with the village which was a lot of fun and such a laugh. Hop hop is the Fijian dancing they do at cava. Several of the villagers were on the guitars (my dad included) and they would play after each round of cava. Everyone would get up, find a partner and tap their shoulder. Then you would dance! Although it’s more of an ‘arm round each other and step back and forth’ it was so funny and I stayed until midnight (my latest night here)!
Saturday was our excursion day, we went to Levuka (the old capital of Fiji and where the hospital was) and had a town day! Everybody was so excited because a town day means shops and that means snacks and also we could have a BURGER! The boat ride to Levuka was mental, it poured with rain and we all were crouched under a tarp on this little motorboat going across the ocean. It was insanely bumpy and we were screaming and bouncing around. I did in fact get s burger for lunch (it was SO good) and a coke, and a chocolate milkshake! We saw the place where Fiji signed the treaty with England too. On the way home it was another brilliant boat ride, but instead of being crazy and stormy the weather was good. Since we were ahead of the other boat our driver stopped at a patch of beautiful clear turquoise water and we all jumped off the boat in our clothes and swam in the sea for a while (and then struggled to climb back in!) Family dinner that night was also hilarious, the drunk boat driver care and sat with us all and provided a lot of entertainment and we were hysterically laughing with our family for ages! It was all round such a good day!
Today is Sunday, the day of rest. We woke up to pouring rain at crashing onto the roof at 7am and it’s now 8am as I’m writing this. Soon we will have breakfast and then go to church. After that we have the day to ourselves to relax before our evening briefing to tell us about the exciting plans for our final week in the village.
I cannot believe how fast it has gone, we’ve been here two weeks and it’s gone by ridiculously fast! I also cannot believe how much I’m going to miss it here. In the last week especially it has become a home and a family unit here. I am now so comfortable with the lifestyle. Before the toilets still kind of grossed/stresses me out, and it was hard not having much light or electricity etc. but now it feels normal. The toilets don’t bother me and I don’t mind walking around barefoot. Yes, I’m very dirty, but I’ve accepted it and I’m enjoying the lifestyle we are living. It’s going to be strange not waking up in my bed, hearing the ocean outside the window, playing San Mario (an amazing Fijian clapping game) with the village children and trekking to school everyday.
It has been a whirlwind adventure and I know that this week will fly by too and next thing we will be back on the mainland. I don’t want to think and maybe never coming back here again because it’s such a sad thought. But I’ve had the most amazing time here with the most amazing people and I can’t wait for this next week!