Wednesday the 10th October was officially ‘Fiji Day’ to celebrate the independence of the Fiji Islands from the British Empire. ‘Fiji time’ caught up with Ratu Meli Memorial School, however, and we celebrated the holiday , as well as World Teachers Day, on Thursday along with a day off on Friday (Base Improvement Day!)
The day started as usual, with the boat powering into the beach, although this time, as soon as the engine cut out, you could hear the students singing their hearts out all the way from the school hall. They put any English school to shame with their passion when they sing. When we actually arrived at the hall we could hear the children in utter chaos and walked in to see every teacher wearing a fresh flower garland and students standing up from their place and dancing down the aisle as the other children roared with laughter. Most of the 6 year olds, let alone the older children, had more rhythm than I could ever imagine having! The hall was alive with laughter and music, especially when some of the teachers got up to dance and put their all into it and one of the eldest male students came out in a floral dress.
The children went to class for a little bit to copy down their homework for the weekend, and as class 2 (my class) sat there scribbling away, they broke out into the national anthem. Then the children got to move onto the next thing they were born for: sport. We tried to organize the students into groups but it soon became one massive game of rugby whilst the other children amused themselves with skipping ropes, volleyball, rounders and netball.
At 12 all of the children got to go home and we got the treat of meeting the chief of the Yasawa’s with Kava and cake. It was my first formal Kava ceremony and the chief seemed extremely down to earth and grateful for the work we do. The cakes however were the definite highlight!
I’m so glad I was able to spend Fiji Day and World Teachers Day here in Fiji. Both the teachers and the children are so enthusiastic about the celebration of independence, as well as being thankful for their teachers.