What a truly amazing first day in Fiji it has been! Once meeting with the local staff and directors we settled into our rooms before a delicious authentic Fijian meal. It is astounding how kind and thoughtful we have found the local community to be having only been here for an afternoon. In the late evening we were pleasantly surprised by multiple traditional dancers that did everything from dancing with fire to pulling a few of us in for a dance or two! Overall this sneak peak into the local culture that we will be experiencing over the next few weeks was quite unforgettable.
We all started the morning off well-rested for an introduction to Fiji’s history and culture with Gabbi (a Fijian staff member). We then learned specifically about the Indian Fijian culture before departing to a local Indian community. We were greeted by Pastor Praveen Chand, and took part in cooking various Indian dishes. We were inspired by how courageous the Indo-Fijian people are, by preserving their native roots here in Fiji. It was also interesting to see how they cooked most of the meal outside (it was eye-opening to experience how much work went into the big meal).
After our bellies were filled to the brim with delicious roti, curry and dahl, we went to a mud bath and hot springs just outside of Nadi. Everyone covered themselves from head to toe with volcanic mud. We then did ridiculous relay races while still covered in mud! It was a blast! Some people even had short massages with coconut oil while others enjoyed fruit and shopped at a little market. We learned today that the coconut tree is the tree of life here in Fiji because the whole tree is used for many things! The mud bathes were a super fun way to end day. We are all so surprised about how friendly the people are here. Everyone says “bula” and waves!
By Maria, Julia and Bundev
Today, July 9th, we met in the presentation room after breakfast to discover more about leadership and what it means. It was informative and even allowed us to practice our teamwork abilities. In addition, we set goals for our time here and realized how important it is to support each other. We then headed out to downtown Nadi on a small bus and experienced the local culture on a ‘lil shopping spree. We bought goodies from the grocery store and browsed the different sulus to get for wearing during service time. Lunch was at a pizza shop called Mama’s Pizza! Let’s just say there’s a reason Fiji is known for its own local foods 😉 Then we went on a nature walk at the Sleeping Giant Garden. The view was amazing!
After returning to the hotel, we had internet time to have some of our last communication with the outside world before leaving for the rem te Yasawa Islands. A mentor then lead some rooftop yoga as the sun was setting! Tonight we are preparing for our big journey to Botaira and will update you all on what comes next!
Madison G, Jacob & Jared
Today was a big day for the GLA team! We started off our morning by eating breakfast and traveling to the ferry dock to travel to Naviti. As we sat on the boat deck, we felt the Fijian sun and admired the beautiful crystal clear water and exotic islands. After the long but short-feeling boat ride, we arrived at our new home. We where welcomed with singing, fresh coconuts, and a beautiful flower necklace. As we ventured towards the island, we admired the colorful reefs and hermit crabs. We then heard the beat of the Fijian drum that signalled it was lunch time. We all sat down and ate our first meal while overlooking the view of the ocean from Botaira. After lunch we were assigned rooms and told to put our swimsuits on for our swim test/free time! We snorkelled, swam, and jumped off of a platform until it was time for tea. After tea time some students played volleyball with the locals while others relaxed in their rooms. We then came together for a cross cultural talk, where we learned about the ‘danger of a single story’ and how stereotypes are portrayed of cultures from around the world. Before dinner, local Fijians performed a torch lighting run and we all ran behind, following the flame! Dinner consisted of rice, soup, rolls, and chicken, fish and veggies. Following dinner, we were all briefed on what our service adventures hold for the upcoming days!
– Avery and Camryn
Today was the first day in Gunu Village on Naviti and our first day of service. We were greeted on the island by the Village Mayor Whice, and observed a traditional welcoming kava ceremony. We were also greeted by the local children who sang us a song they had prepared. After introductions, we got to work on service. The marine group pulled and replanted over five hundred mangrove trees which will become the habitat for 75% of the fish caught for the village. After which, we had a mud fight with Gabby and his students. The education group taught three groups of children from all English levels by helping them with reading, writing, and spelling. Afterwards, we played soccer with some of the children during their PE class. Finally, the sustainability group spent the day gathering rocks and sand to make a water filtration system. When we got back, we got to snorkel and have some solo personal time as we watched the sunset from the beach. Today was the hardest day so far but it was also the most rewarding; we are all excited to see what will come in the next few weeks.
-Kimberly, Hannah, Kasidy
After an informative film about how climate change is directly impacting Fiji, we headed off to bed and woke up to another stunning sunrise. It was another good day at Gunu village! The sustainability group built the base of the water tank which consisted of timber, a plastic sheet, a rocks, and cement. Education continued their one-on-one sessions with students at the school. The marine group, who call themselves the “Soso Squad” (Soso meaning mud in Fijian) remained at home base to learn about the role that mangroves and coral reefs play in different ecosystems around the world. They then geared up to snorkel in a designated area while tracking coral, fish and invertebrates. Upon returning back to home base we had some free time and then learned how to wash our laundry (the undergarments that are not washed at the village). The dinner was delicious fish, cassava and other options! We had a brief mentor time following dinner discussing what service is while star gazing. We are off to bed and will check in later!
-Billy, Phoebe and Sage
Good morning friends and family both old and new! Today was the last day of our service groups and we are now switching on to other ventures. Marine finished up their first service rotation by cleaning up the coral reefs and collecting any trash that was seen on the beach. Sustainability finished making the water tank and putting gutters on the houses to collect more water for the village. It was really rewarding to know that this is something that will effect their lives for as long as they need water. Education continued to help the children learn; and by the end of their service they had seen a difference in how the kids performed.We are now moving on to different projects in the community to keep the village clean, help the children with education, and to preserve as much water as possible. It is a fine day on the islands of Fiji. Hope you’re all well 🙂
-Maddie, Theo and Kylie
Good morning family and friends! Today marks our completion of one fantastic week in Fiji! We began helping out in different service groups. Some started their morning with little, smiley faces as they mentored school kids for 25 minutes one on one. Others put on their hard hats and got to work collecting materials for our new water tanks. And the others got their hands and bodies dirty planting mangroves. After arriving back at home base we all enjoyed a intense game of speed charades and delicious octopus. Although the sky has been cloudy for the past few days, the Fijians bring fun and light to our lives! #TeamBula
-Jane and Molly
Bula! Today we finished our second rotation of service. We all felt the great impact we made while in a different service rotation. !!Upon arrival back at the home base after a long day hard at work we played a team building activity known as sardines. This game brought us much closer together. We then all had the option of afternoon tea before settling down to a delicious, fresh dinner and watching yet another beautiful sunset here in the Yasawa Islands! Vinaka!
|Today Sustainability and Education started off the day with a short hike to the village for service due to high winds and rough waters. Depending on the weather, the boat sometimes drops us off on another side where it’s safer for everyone to make it into the village. Sustainability mixed concrete for the water tank and assembled the base. Later, Sustainability worked on redoing the gutters on a local’s house.
Education spent the day teaching the children reading, writing, and math. We sang, learned, and played with children of all ages.
Marine spent the day picking and planting mangroves followed by a swim. After walking back over to the other side, some students lounged on the beach while others swam a short distance to a cool island.
After we returned, there was free time to swim, play volleyball, or relax. Before dinner, there was a sunset journal with the topic of writing a letter to your future self. After dinner, we participated in an identity activity where we expressed different layers of what makes us who we are in a supportive environment. Following, there was a Ted Talk and then bed!
-Maya, Madison C., Camryn
Bula from Fiji!
Today on Gunu, education, sustainability and marine groups wrapped up our last bit of service. We all are buzzing with accomplishment.
In education, many of the students taught us hand games, sang us songs and introduced us to new Fijian words.
In sustainability, we worked up as many droplets of sweat that would fit into the 3100 liter rain catchment tank .
In the depths of the coral reef in the azul waters, the marine group continued scientific data collection, a five-year project. A fish team, invertebrate team, and a coral team checked the reef for indicator species.
Later in the day, the whole group viewed a Ted Talk made by Drew Dudley regarding the importance of “lollipop moments”. This inspired the members the collective whole to share with the group their own impactful lollipop moments.
Cheers to wrapping up an excellent two weeks of service!
– Julia and Leslie Knope
Sending love to my mother and Fitzgerald Golfo
First day after completing our service, we had a Saturday full of activities. Group 1 went on a hike to Kese Village, which we braced with 7-8 students and were lead by Noah. Originally the group expected the hike to be a lot harder than it was, but the ending was very rewarding. We ate lunch with Noah’s family, and had a beautiful boat ride back to Botaira. For group 2, we walked along the beach in the morning looking at some animals that live by the shore on low tide. We saw some sea slugs, octopi, and some eel. Then we took a boat ride around the island to visit another reef and snorkelled for a couple hours. In the afternoon, we weaved some bracelets out of local plant leaves. Group 3 started the day off with a “medicine walk” around the resort with Ms. Tema. We spent around 2 hours walking around the resort learning about all of the plants and their medicinal purposes. After we sat and drank tea made from lemon leaves while some of us worked on our friendship bracelets. In the afternoon we sat with Jessica and Lisa while they shared their wisdom about being a savvy traveler. It was very inspiring and gave us good resources about how to ‘travel authentically.’ After this, most of us spent the afternoon playing volleyball and swimming. We closed the day off with a sunset swim out to a floating dock that has a sweet high jump off a ladder. We took tons of pictures and had a dance party on the floating dock and just had a grand ‘ol time! Today was definitely the hottest day while in Fiji!
-Kiara, Jake, and Emma
Fiji July 7-27
Wrapping up our last few days in Fiji, today we went snorkelling, weaved bracelets, made coconut rings, and learned Fijian songs and dances. Throughout the day we celebrated one of our own’s birthday with cake, balloons, and song. Happy Birthday Kavya! To finish off an amazing weekend we held a talent show where we watched everything from an interesting German rendition of party in the USA by Billie and Theo to a belly dancing lesson hosted by Tabitha. So bittersweet to be leaving Fiji in less than a week!
July 24, 2017
Bula! Today after breakfast the group was spilt into two groups, one group went on a hike while the other went on a medicine walk. The group ended their hike in the beautiful village of Kese! The actual hike was challenging and extremely tiring, but defiantly worth it because the view was amazing! The rest of the group went on a walk around the resort grounds led by Ms Tema, who showed us the medicinal properties of several plants that grow on the islands. Both groups met up together on a remote beach called Malivu! We had a awesome barbecue and the snorkelling there was one-of-a-kind. Everyone enjoyed soaking up the sun and celebrating their last few days on Naviti Island!
July 24, 2017