Well it’s been 7 weeks here and I’m loving working in the gardens with the women’s and youth communities digging and planting. This week we’ve also finally completed the school library revamp! The children at Ratu Meli Memorial School on Nacula have been getting to grips with computers, making great use of the laptops and now they’ve also been donated some desktops by the Blue Lagoon resort. To accomodate these we needed to make the library more secure and using funds generously donated by Singapore American School we were able to do a full refurbishment. It took a few days of scrubbing, painting and installing mesh over the windows and new locks on the doors, but it looks fabulous and the pupils love it. The children are also harvesting and eating their first crops of long beans and cucumbers they’ve spent so long planting and caring for, good nutritional additions to their diets so a big well done!
We were also able to use the SAS donation to purchase a much need water tank for the school dormitories. As a result this week saw the completion of our first water tank from scratch in a while. It took loads of backbreaking work hauling 50kg concrete bags onto the boat and up to the school from the beach. Luckily Esava, Nathan and Bill had lots of enthusiastic help from the Fijian guys, because they’d have flattened the rest of us! But we had an amazing weights workout for a couple of days barrowing up the sand from the beach and collecting enough gravel and rocks by hand before getting stuck in with the mixing and pouring all by hand again. The tank came by boat, as you can see an interesting ride considering our boat driver Bill couldn’t see the front. It was fun rolling it up to school from the beach and then Madison and Navi volunteered to get inside to clean it. Nathan literally got on a hot tin roof to fix the guttering then as a GVI tradition we all got to sign our names on the base before it set. Hopefully the school will have enough water to weather the next dry season!
A really busy week of firsts saw us working with the Government Water Authority in Nabukeru. We’ve installed and then re-ratproofed water tanks there recently; who knew rats would chew through wire mesh to reach water, that’s how desperate the dry season here can get! Now the village is building a new water tank on top of the hill so they needed an army of volunteers to dig trenches for pipes from the hilltop all the way to the village…. we didn’t quite get that far but in the heavy rain I don’t think we made a bad effort.
And while this has been a fantastic week anyway with the completion of so much hard work, my highlight was the trip to Nabukeru. The commute to work here is always fun, whether high seas and rain or glass flat and sunshine, it beats the traffic at home. We were extra lucky this week after spotting and then getting close to a pod of 8 dolphins with a calf on the way to work which was amazing! A great photo taken by Karen and I got some wonderful video footage including some underwater. An experience I’ll never forget.