Time Capsule Letter
a BIG BULA to everyone!
I can’t believe it has already been so long since our trip to Paradise. I can still remember the sound of the waves when lying in bed. Often I still think back to the school and the friendly children we all met and tutored. Those boat rides…. especially on those sunny days when the beautiful turquoise colors were so prominent in the ocean below us and the stars shining so bright for us.
You are probably back in school or starting college right about now, but I want you to know the lives you impacted and memories you created in the villages and for yourself will have a lasting impact for years to come.
Our time spent together here truly did have positive change for me too. You should all know you left Naviti Island and the villages a better place than when you came. The rain water tanks will provide clean drinking water for the communities in times of need and we can be so lucky that it rained so much in order to fill those tanks for the people in need. The Food Bank we helped setup for the community are thriving and the seedlings are growing well and obviously the watermelon and bean seeds planted is very likely by now bearing fruit. Be sure that Azea is monitoring and assisting with the food bank and that it will not go to waste or is by no means a project we worked on that will not be looked after.
Ahhh, the children in the school, I am sure they miss you all so much and they can all read that much better with your one-on-one assistance given. And just as important, the knowledge YOU gained on this trip we hope will serve you and the communities you go on the be in for the rest of your lives. We all know how precious clean drinking water is and the harm using plastic is to our environment and the place we all call home.
Another thing I can’t forget is how much fun we had together and the deep conversations that was part of our daily experiences. You all made this trip so much fun and I loved being around you all. We experienced many memorable moments, like the Fijian culture through Kava ceremonies, bula dances, mud bath, beautiful landscapes and those Manta Ray’s, oh those majestic creatures!
We worked really hard and had so much fun together, remember the night everyone (except me) jumped in the pool! I’ll cherish so many moments. You all made the trip so worthwhile! I want to thank each and every single one of you for making it all worth it! You guys rock! The second GLA Fiji 2019 group!
Do you remember the pledge, the groups OMG – “One Meaningful Goal” – that we created at the end of the session? We pledged to use reusable water bottles and to encourage our friends and family to do the same. It will not only save the environment from plastic but also save you so much money that you can put towards something meaningful. We would love to know how this is going!? Don’t forget about your individual OMG’s too!
Vinaka Vaka Levu to you all!
Friday July 12, 2019
We have all except for one arriving tommorow morning early, made it to paradise which is also called Fiji!
Today after we arrived and filled up on breakfast we did our swim test that we all passed. We played some name games, walked down to the beach where we had some more fun in the sun and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the ocean!
From us all!
Saturday July 13, 2019
We started the morning with a delicious breakfast, then met up to go over the code of conduct and went shopping for our sarongs that we’ll need to wear in the village. We all had out lunch at the best fish and chips restaurant in Fiji where after we left the tarred road for the informational talk and hike at the sleeping giant of which everyone enjoyed so much!
After that we all bathed ourselves in mud which has rejuvenating properties, played some fun games and almost all had some good massages.
All and all it was a fun day out!
Sunday July 14, 2019
So today we went to an Indian cooking class and learned some interesting facts about the indo-fijian community in Fiji.
At the resort we enjoyed their pool that has a slide, played a quick round of mini golf, lounged in the hammocks and made use of their kayaks. The food that we helped prep was delicious and the people even friendlier.
After a full day at relax resort we arrived back at our homebase (form now) had some free time and had another delicious meal that was cooked in an underground oven(lovo). After dinner we were entertained by a group of fire dancers. Everyone had so much fun for our last night in Nadi. Tommorow we are leaving this island on a 3-4 hour boat ride to our homebase at an eco resort from which our service work will commence.
Bye for now.
Monday July 15, 2019
We started the day early and left from Nadi to head to our home base for the rest of the trip: the Yasawa islands. It was a three hour boat ride where we enjoyed the sea breeze on the front of the boat. When arriving to the island we were warmly welcomed by our new Fijian family! From snorkeling to dancing to listening to each other sing and play guitar. We welcome our experience on Yasawa with open arms and open hearts.
Lexi and Lela
Tuesday July 16, 2019
Hey mom and dad! Its Foster and Yoyo, hope all is well at the crib. We are having a blast in Fiji. Despite sleeping through breakfast we had a really good day. We began our first day of service with a warm welcome from the people of the villages we are serving at. We were so grateful to be welcomed into their community and take part in the cassava welcoming ceremony. After the ceremony we split up into our service groups, rainwater conservation and children education. In rainwater conservation we laid out the foundation for the water tank with the help of our lovely coordinator Jim. In children education we meet and read to the children of the primary school.
After an afternoon of serving our lovely Fijian community we returned to home base for some tea and quality bonding time. Before dinner we dug deep into analysis of our leadership skills and learned a lot about ourselves. After a delicious dinner we watched a fire show extravaganza, wow, on the beach provided by our hotel staff! Overall today was super fun. We are so excited to see what the next couple of weeks hold. We can not thank our parents enough for making this incredible experience possible. Miss you tons, see you soon!!
Xoxo- Foco and Yoyo
Wednesday July 17, 2019
Today, we dove into our first full day of service in our community here in Fiji. The rainwater harvesting group build a cement base while those working on education continued to work and read with the kids. We were able to get a lot of work done on our respective projects. After service, we all took a quick dip in the ocean, jumping of our boats and snorkeling. Some of us were even able to see an octopus! After a relaxing afternoon back at home base we ate a wonderful dinner and participated in a show put on by the staff here. We were all tired by the end of the day but proud of our work and in awe at another beautiful day in Fiji.
Carmella and Aspen
Thursday July 18, 2019
Bula! Today we had a blast continuing our project with the children and helping them read english. After reading and spelling with them we enjoyed playing games with them, getting to know them and their culture, and understanding life on the Fijian island. After our service, we headed back to the home base where we enjoyed tea time and each others company. We then did many leadership and team building activities to end the night before dinner!
Over the course of three days, full of hard work, companionship, and dedication, today we finally finished constructing our water harvesting tank. Which we are all so proud and grateful to have been apart of. Our hearts are warm to know that all the water tanks are being put to good use. After, we enjoyed and authentic lunch in the community and were attacked with hugs and kisses from the local children.
Haley and Jessica
Friday July 19, 2019
Today was the first day everyone switched spots on the island to work on the previous projects the other group had done before. Team one (Gray, Aspen, Lela, Haley, Yoyo, Annemijn, Hannah, Ellie, and Lexi) went to build a water tank w/ a filter while the other team (Dunkin, Jessica, Foster, Lindsey, Schuyler, Ani, Jojo, Sammy, and Carmella) went to the school to tutor some students in their English via reading, writing, and spelling! After a couple of hours of freetime the two teams conjoined to play two truths and a lie, led by the two leaders of the day, Jojo and Gray.
We ended the day with a bonfire at the beach!
Talk to you guys tomorrow!
– Jojo and Gray
Saturday June 20, 2019
Hello to everyone back home!
Today we had a chill Saturday as we had the day off from service. A few of us went snorkeling in the morning and got to see a lot of really cool animals (especially the tiny jellyfish that stung us in the water)! The rest of us stayed back at home base and had the opportunity to learn a little bit of the Fijian language and culture, along with learning a few songs! Today was a relaxing, but fun day and we all really enjoyed it!
-Imani & Lindsey
P.S. Lela says “Hi mom! Sorry about the face”
Sunday July 21, 2019
Bula! We had a great day today (no thanks to the wind.) We started off the day with a great breakfast and then we got our mentor groups! After some bonding and human knotting we played some fun Fijian games thanks to Mrs. Alliti! Then we got into a seriously heated debate which in the end we decided to agree to disagree! We’re off to end the night with movie night!
Schuyler and Annemijn
Monday July 22, 2019
Today we unfortunately couldn’t do service so we had another fun filled day at the resort. We started the day off with some good breakfast and then went on a nice hike (which was really steep and exhausting), but had two fantastic views! After the journey down we went to the beach and had some free time until lunch at around 12:00pm, which in Fijian time is actually 1:00pm. Later that afternoon, we did a fun activity that focused on loving who we are. After that we had some more free time until our amazing leadership scavenger hunt (arranged by Hanna, Duncan, Aspen, and Grey).
After a really fun scavenger hunt, we decided to watch the sunset. I personally, Hanna, attempted frisbee but every time I threw it it landed in the water. After that we had dinner, which was also very much on Fijian time, 8:00pm rather than 7:00pm. Dinner was a good chicken, potatoes, and pumpkin soup. Dessert was a coconut bar with chunky chocolate sauce. Finally, we were supposed to have a movie night but because of Fijian time dinner, it was too late and tomorrow we have to wake up early so we have to get some good sleep. Vinaka!
From Hanna: Mom, Dad, Harper, Gramma, Nana, and Fafa, I miss you so much but know I am having so much fun! This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience I will never forget!!! I love you guys! ❤️
From Duncan: I love you Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, Noah, and Cheri! Fiji is amazing and I can’t wait to share all about it when I get back. Say hi to Rocco and the girls for me! Miss you!
Tuesday July 23, 2019
In the morning we said our goodbyes and wished safe travels to our friend, Lexi, as she headed back home. After, the weather finally cleared up and allowed us to head back to service. Group 1 finished up the water tank and Group 2 had their second day at the school doing the one on one reading program. Then, we headed back to the base and played a capture the flag as a big group for the leader of the day activity (shout-out to Haley for getting run over). Finally, to top it all off we ate dinner and then watched Pitch Perfect with freshly stove popped popcorn and blankets!
Till next time,
Leaders of the day, Sammy and Ellie
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Today we had a pretty good breakfast of eggs and pancakes! Unfortunately there was no cereal and very little fruit, but that’s okay! The two groups switched again today. Group 1 went back to education and continued to read with the kids, and also play some Uno. Group 2 went back to Somo somo and helped out with the food bank by planting long beans, cassava, and watermelon, as well as playing around with the local village kids again. Group 2 also had a delicious lunch made by the village women.
Then everyone headed back to the island and had some free time until the leader of the day’s game. In this game, people had to put random things, they brought to Fiji, in a bag. Then the whole group was separated into two groups and then Lela, Ani, and Hanna (the three leaders of the day) would announce some item and whichever team got the item to one of the three leaders first got a point. Then we had dinner, which consisted of some beef, vegetables, sweet corn soup, and rice. It was a fantastic day!
~Ani, Hanna, Lela
From Hanna: Hi to everyone, especially Carolanne! I continue to miss you all so much and it’s only about a week’s time til I’m finally home! I can’t wait to tell you guys about everything! I love you all so much! 😘❤️
From Ani: Hello my beautiful family! I miss you guys beyond words but I’m having a blast. Can’t wait to see you guys and tell about all the adventures! Miss and love you guys!😘
From Lela: hope everyone is doing well and the house is still standing 😂 love and miss you all so much and can’t wait to see you ❤️❤️
Friday July 26, 2019
It rained last night and this morning, so the hike up the mountain was further pushed back and then, unfortunately, cancelled. Instead, the group watched Lilo and Stitch, and then had some free time until some of the ladies from the different village came to us and taught us how to make virgin coconut oil using untouched, just-picked coconuts. The group played a hand in making it too, and had a lot of fun shaving the coconuts. Even though it was a bit gloomy today, the sunset was amazing! After a couple more hours of free time, the group met for dinner, played ghost in the graveyard and then rounded up the rest of the day with a hearty goodnight.
Saturday July 27, 2019
It’s Jessie, Ellie and Foster! Today we headed to the islands to work on the food bank! At the school we painted the bathrooms and did murals on the important steps of hand washing, at the food bank we planted eggplant and tomatoes! Group 1 went snorkeling and saw Manta Rays while Group 2 took a nice nap. After we got back we had our leader of the day activity, dinner, and looked at the beautiful stars!! Ellie says hi Mom, Dad, Addie, and Mimi & Gramps!! Foster says hi to her Mom, Dad, Dog, Sister, and the nice poop she’s going to take when she gets back!!! Jessie says hi Mom, Dad, and Anica!! Until next time!
Sunday July 28, 2019
Today we woke up ready for game day! Was our Fijian family fun day !
After having breakfast we broke up into teams to compete in a coconut shaving race and then we headed to the beach to do a tug of way for which we used a super strong tree vine as rope. After our team lost in both challenges, we took a boat out to an island where we had a fun afternoon at a beach, doing swimming, tanning, playing frisbee and having a cookout. Later on, half the group went to snorkel, where they saw sharks, manta rays, pufferfish and many more sealife. We returned to homebase a few hours later where we played charades and eat dinner.
Overall, this was a fun Sunday to remember!
Until next time,
Leaders of the day, Annemijn and Sammy
This morning we all had breakfast together and saw a rainbow! Today was our last day of community service. Group one went to their last day working with the kids and group two worked on the food bank agriculture project in Somo Somo. Afterwards, we got back to home base and participated in a few activities. We played musical chairs and had another fun mentor-led activity. After a delicious dinner, we had a movie night and watched Inside Out. We hope all is well at home. See you soon!
-Yoyo and Jojo❤
Tuesday July 30, 2019
This morning we took the boats to the primary school for a farewell ceremony led by some of the students. The youngest children of the school sang us songs to wish us safe travels and share their appreciation towards us for the opportunity to work with GLA. We sang two Fijian songs to thank them for their hard work the past couple weeks and joined them for a Fijian dance.
Before we left the village we all played games in the field and gave our goodbyes. Afterwards we took the boats to Somo Somo for a cava ceremony and lunch with the community. During the cava ceremony, community leaders shared their appreciation for our contribution to their community and the friendships that were built during our time here.
Sammy, Ani, and Lela, from our GLA group, represented the three projects we completed during our time in Fiji: the food bank, rainwater harvesting tank, and education. They spoke about each of the projects and shared their gratitude towards Somo Somo and Fiji.
We ate lunch, which was prepared using a traditional Fijian style where the food is cooked in the ground, and then shopped in the small market outside of the community room. Women from the village brought crafts such as bracelets, anklets, necklaces, sarongs, shells, etc. to sell.
In the afternoon we left Somo Somo and returned to the resort for afternoon activities. We completed the competition we started this weekend with a paddle board relay race and human hurdles. After our leader activity of the day activity, which was hide and go seek tag, we had dinner. The resort prepared a special meal for us on our last night and performed a few songs to wish us goodbye.
We all took part in the snake dance, in which everyone dances in a line and copies each others dance moves. To end off our last day at the resort we all jumped in the pool after dinner to celebrate the staff at the resort and the amazing time we’ve had the past three weeks. Lastly, we’d like to wish Lela’s dad a very happy birthday; hope it’s very special.
-by Duncan & Aspen