First week at GVI's Navotua village base

By 3 years ago
Categories Fiji Islands

Six of us vollies (that’s a volunteer in GVI lingo) descended on Navotua Village last Saturday – a week ago today.  Strictly speaking we comprise four vollies and two staff but with such a small group we’re all mucking in together.  We have two houses between us which, one in the village and one at the school, but they are only about a minutes walk from each other. The house by the school has the holiest of grails: a flushing loo.  When you’ve spent the last month flushing the loo using a bucket filled from the sea you realize just how much we take for granted back home.

We are here to teach in the village school for three days a week with two days a week spent continuing to teach in the Nacula village school on the other side of the island – Ratu Meli.  We have already noticed a big difference in our relationship with the local children simply by our full-time presence here.  The minute we walk out of the house, 2 students, Sera and Lewatu, magically appear and pretty soon we are surrounded by the kids.  It’s a great chance to sneak in a bit of covert English vocab learning with them plus they’re just the loveliest kids.

Monday was national Teacher’s Day in Fiji and Ratu Meli had invited the Navotua teachers and students to a picnic on the tiny island of Yaroma to celebrate.  I think it was a rare opportunity for the children from the various villages that are boat rides away to play together and enjoy a day splashing about in the sea.  The children caught fish to BBQ (the kids here have some serious life skills going on) and we all shared mango, watermelon, rice and noodles.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning we got down to some proper work but then on Thursday afternoon we had a school party because Friday was Fiji Day so was… yep, you guessed it – a public holiday!  We had the children draw a Fijian flag each and then we played musical statues, swap seats and balloon catch not to mention the fact that we had a bit of a disco going on too.

Village life is very traditional and very much subsistence based.  You pretty much grow and catch what you need and Mother Nature makes sure that mangoes and paw paws abound.