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Babale Base - 2015 Kick Off

By 2 years ago
Categories Fiji Islands

The turn of the year marks an exciting time for the GVI team as we will be expanding the size of Babale Base, starting a new project at Dawasamu Primary School, and applying a more integrative approach to the expedition programme, where we will combine community engagement with the work that we do at schools. All of these new developments will take place in the Dawasamu District, a place of natural beauty, friendly local communities, and virtually untouched from tourism. The place that we call home is Silana village, an area with which we have a special bond. It is a beautiful place with a rich and vibrant culture, not to mention one of the friendliest places you are ever likely to visit.

image      I was incredibly excited to return to our special home, along with 5 other staff and 12 volunteers. Shortly after we arrived in the village it was time for the Sevu Sevu (welcome ceremony), where the new volunteers got their first taster of authentic Fijian culture. The group was accepted into village through presenting kava to the chief of Silana. It was an evening full of laughter, storytelling, traditional Fijian music, kava and dancing! On Sunday we all went to church and then had a feast in the community hall to commemorate the pastor’s last service. I myself am not religious, but it is always amazing to go to a service at the Methodist church and to experience firsthand the importance of religion in the village. It was a special occasion and it was nice to pay respect to a man who had given so much to the community.

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It has been a very hot and humid week, but this did not deter the first group of volunteers who have seamlessly settled into life in Silana village. The expedition team has been busy improving hygiene and sanitation facilities at the primary school through installing tippy taps and a pathway to the compost toilets, as well as implementing climate change adaptation through anti-erosion planting. The education team has put on Youth Clubs and Kids Clubs for the young people and children of Silana, as well as training, and preparing resources for the start of term next week. Both teams have also been helping with developing the kitchen area and constructing the new bure (traditional Fijian home) for future volunteers.

 

During the afternoons and evenings, we have all taken a well earned rest; relaxing with a movie on base, spending time in the village, going for a swim in the sea, or just marveling at the beautiful surroundings. On a particularly hot and humid afternoon we made the short hike up to the waterfalls, where we cooled off in the style.

It is good to be back at our beautiful home by the sea!

Tom Hollingsworth, Education Project Leader

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