Our first day of Summer School was held in Navotua, the village farthest from base, and it was a complete success! As we arrived on the beach, some kids and ladies from the village greeted us with the Bula song, beautiful lei’s of frangipani and hibiscus flowers, and a coconut full of juice for everyone! Needless to say, our day began with huge smiles on our faces.
After setting up the arts and crafts stations, kids piled into the hall and created to their hearts content. The penne necklace station Andy and Mel were leading was a particular hit with the kids… Soon they were all sporting pasta headbands, belts, necklaces, anklets and bracelets.
Kids of all ages attempted paper mache with Alice and Steph, but were more enthralled by the balloons they were using as molds than anything! Charlotte and Katie manned the Christmas Tree Hands craft (the kids trace their own hands and decorate/cut them out, and then they are arranged to look like the foliage of a Christmas tree), which covered the floor in glitter and entertained the kids all morning. The villagers then supplied us with a lovely tea break mid-morning that included donuts, roti, pawpaw, and lemon tea… and also a heaping plate of freshly-baked scones! Navotua set the bar high. Post-tea, we played a sweltering hot game of soccer, and duck-duck-goose. When the heat got to be a bit much, we moved back inside and played Musical Bumps, FreezeDance, and 4 Corners that showed the fiercely competitive side of the previously well-mannered kids. To end the day, we sang a few Christmas carols with the kids, and then made our way back to base for lunch feeling great. Back at base, a few of the highlights include a giant food order that came up and allowed us to have a real salad for dinner (it’s the little things in life), and also the arrival of Elly, from the GVI Charitable Trust, and Keddy’s dad Dave (who brought all sorts of goodies from Canada with him! Maple syrup! Smoked Salmon!) We also received a shipment of 40 bags of cement that were hauled onto base dutifully by the construction crew and other helpers. In the evening, we played a trivia game organized by Alice and Keddy which showed the fiercely competitive side of the previously well-mannered volunteers.
On Tuesday, our plan was to do our second day of Summer School at Navotua, but the majority of the students were to be attending a picnic for their Sunday School group. We were fortunate enough to be invited along as well, and so we ventured to Malakati with the villagers from Navotua, Malakati, and Naisisili for the day to spend it swimming and playing with the kids.
Malakati is absolutely beautiful and it was a gorgeous day… the kids were having the time of their lives in the sea, playing with their floaty toys, volleyballs, and the volunteers (they took to hanging off our backs and refusing to let go – Miliy was latched permanently onto Mel, and Sera onto Alice). James took a particular interest in the water sports, and was always seen running /splashing/swimming with the kids with a rugby or volleyball. For lunch, we were treated with kava, curry chicken, cassava, a noodle dish, pasta salad, and Tang (Lenny would have been so excited!). Back at base, we were pleased to meet our two new members of staff, Tai and Howard, who will be part of our new Dive program. We also got excited by the arrival of bread, and the game Spoons began to take over Monopoly Deal as the legendary game on base. If you want an adrenaline rush, you don’t need to go skydiving… Just
play a game of Spoons with GVI voly’s (particularly Dan, Steph, and Owen!).
On Wednesday, we did our first day of Summer School in Malakati. We began the day a bit indulgent; Lice made us bubbacao (Fijian donuts!) and the boat ride to the village was quite leisurely – Katie, Keddy, Charlotte and Alice were kind enough to serenade everyone for the length of the journey. We tried out a few new crafts today, including Alice and Matt’s idea of a Christmas mural that all the kids could contribute to. We ended up with a lovely, glittery mural that was hung proudly on the wall. Mel and And
y also allowed the children the responsibility of painting the actual pasta for the necklaces, which was also a success. The Christmas worksheets we
re discovered by the kids who completed their crafts early, and so
soon the mural was surrounded by their completed wordsearches, connect-the-dots, colouring pages, snowflakes, and Christmas puzzles. Outdoors, we played soccer and catch, and then came indoors to play a lot of 4 Corners and Musical Bumps. It was an exceptionally special game of musical bumps though because Andy had brought with him a huge amount of great toys that we used as prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in the game. The kids clearly loved their new toys (a big stuffed bear, a bright green backpack, and a spiky yellow rubber bouncy ball), and it made the day even more special. We left Malakati sad, but confident that the kids enjoyed our efforts. On Friday, the Voly’s were treated to a trip to the caves for the morning! Edi and another guide showed us through the caves and also demonstrated their wall-climbing/cliff-jumping skillz. Even Winston jumped off from about 10 metres! Steph got stuck in the “Pregnancy Cave” but acted the trooper and made her way out in the end. It was a lovely day for everyone, and we finished it off by having a kava session.