Saturday July 21, 2018
This is how Fijians welcome us to the country of coconuts and paradise beaches! Big bula smiles and some very excited GLA staff members guided us through the early arrival.
No resting though.. The program kicked off with a traditional Kava ceremony. Basically those ceremonies are important to locals as it is a form of respect to the village. Staff was invited to drink some of the liquid Fijian gold, which is a grind of pepperplant mixed with water. Apparently it tastes like mudwater… We get to try this magical stuff later on the program as they will be more ceremonies. Anyhow, this is where the chief and the village warriors will celebrate their guests and take the time to get to know eachother.
And so we did! With some namegames and plenty of fun interactive teambuilding we are already bonding pretty well. Things did get muddy at one point… At the mudpools that is ofcourse. All 26 of us ( we have one more student coming tomorrow morning), went ahead and treated ourselves to a natural spa day. Ready to get some soft skin, we wrapped ourselves in mud. We had enough time for more games whilst drying the clay out. In a relay competition we tried scoring in egg throwing, ball passing, balloon duo-running and an ultimate dance off. By now we know who has got the moves and who has got the good tunes to dance on! We even managed to squeeze a massage in and buy some souvenirs.
Back at homebase in Nadi Bay, we did the official introductions and played some games and hopped in the pool for some relaxing time. After that we gathered for our first CHOW CIRCLE. This is were we have a talk about the day. We go over the schedule for what is yet to come, and do shoutouts to what we loved during the day. The student leaders of the day get to introduce everyone to a quote of today and some local Fijian vocabulary. After chow circle we always get into the food!
Pineapple, papaya, bananas all the way for local fruit. Hurraaaaay! That will keep our energy level up. For now let’s get some sleep. Can’t wait for tomorrow!
Monday July 23, 2018
We woke up early today to get onto a 4 and a half hour journey on a ferry to the Oarsman’s Bay lodge. When we arrived we were greeted with flowers and coconuts to drink. We were assigned to our bungalows and ate a traditional Fijian lunch. We had a tour of the land and finally got into the water for a swim and snorkel session. We then had a nice break and had tea time. We watched the absolutely beautiful sunset and played some beach games. After dinner we had a workshop about setting SMART goals. We finished our night with getting into small mentor groups. Tomorrow we will be visiting the billiard for the first time!
Tuesday July 24, 2018
Today was a very productive day. We woke up and had breakfast before we took a short boat ride to the local village. We introduced ourselves to the the Chief after getting his permission to serve in the village. We did this through a traditional kava ceremony. After this, we got a tour of the village where we visited the church, the local houses, and many more of the building. We gathered around for tea time and ate coconut and papaya before we learned how to weave baskets from coconut leaves and scraped coconuts. We saw and interacted with many of the locals.
After we got back to our home island, we snorkeled around the reef and began searching for fish in order to begin keeping track of them. After an hour of free time playing volleyball, swimming, and relaxing by the beach shore, we gathered for dinner and broke into small groups to talk about “the danger of a single story,” the TED talk we watched. Then we all headed to bed excited for what’s in store for tomorrow!
~ Eleanor and John
Wednesday July 25, 2018
After breakfast we had a marine animal presentation. We learned the different types of animals that we will find. We spit into 2 service groups. My group planted coral and collected the invasive species, crown for thorns. We saw a lion fish and a sting ray. When we came back we had tea time and relaxed until dinner.
In my group people were assigned to different species of fish and count how many we see. For lunch we went to the village and the women there gave us tea, papaya, and baked goods. While we were there we played with the dogs and the children at the village. After that we went back out to the reef and came back to the lodge to rest and have tea time before dinner.
-by Colleen and Luke
Thursday July 26, 2018
Yandra! (goodmorning!) We split into two service groups today. One group went to the reef to count fish, so we can empower the marine protected areas. We looked for parrot fish, butterfly fish, surgeon fish, goat fish, rabbit fish and luckily found plenty. It was a successful day of collecting data. Eventhough the ocean is colder than we expected it to be, our heart is always warm as the love is a light that never dims. A quote JackJack came up with for today! We are dealing with some romantic souls over here 😉
The other group worked on the coral table by collecting coral pieces and ziptying them on the coral table to then put it back into the sea. It will take about 5 months to grow into branches that can thrive by themselves.
After we got back from service we listened to a inspiring presentation about the meaning of service and why working with the local communities is so important. We work our hardest to make sure that as one united team with the locals, we can impact for the better.
By Zoe and Jack
Friday July 27, 2018
Hey it’s Kennedy and Brecker! Your leaders of the day!! Here’s a brief rundown of what we did!
We spent pretty much the entire day planting mangroves after learning that they help the environment more than rainforests by collecting more carbon. Coral safety is also a big issue which we learned from a coral song. We got superrrrrrrrrr muddy and couldn’t see our feet while planting mangroves, although we did get sidetracked by having a big mud fight that turned some friends to enemies. The boat ride back was super relaxing and some people fell asleep until we saw a leopard shark swimming really close. None of us got clean until the 5th water activity including a shower. The game of telephone-pictionary did cause some disagreements that came sprouting out of nowhere. Today was Lovo day and that meant that all the food was cooked out over a open flame. To wrap it up today was a pretty awesome and muddy day! Halfway through the trip and loving it!
P.S- See mom I told you I would make it ~Kennedy
Saturday July 28, 2018
Weekend Time! We were separated in to two different groups.Hiking was the first activity for group 1 And for group 2 went cave snorkeling in the Sawailau Caves. The local guide said we haven’t been to the Yasawas until we’ve been to the caves! . For the groups that went hiking, we walked around 2 miles up to the tallest peak on the island. There were amazing 360 views of our island and surrounding islands. It was extraordinary to see all the wonderful teamwork as the GLA leaders gave each other a hand and saved one another from sliding down the cliffs. This would be a painful thought to image that kids do this hike every day to school. Hard work for sure to get there but rewarding with a view of the coral reefs and aquamarine water. During cave snorkeling, we saw where a scene “the blue lagoon” movie was filmed. There were two chambers. The first one had an open top so there was light.
The second chamber was dark but incredibly cool to explore even though it was dark. The guides had underwater flashlights so we could see the structure. This went all well until an eel in a curvature manner guiding himself along the cave as all the adolescents were completely exposed waiting to be eaten.(the creature was only 12 inches long) After another delicious dinner (we’re all eating so much home cooked food) there was a monstrous celebration involving practically the entire island for our rather enthusiastic Sam. We exhausted our energy in creating a fabulous card that celebrates the day of her miraculous birth. We then forwarded our attention to the movie screen as we munched obnoxiously on popcorn and various other mediocre snacks. Our bodies decided to give out and we had a slumber fest as we all cuddled together for warmth and fell asleep during the movie. We were shortly awoken by abnormally loud snoring and we all headed to our beds. This ended the day in phenomenal fashion and I felt content as a anchored my salt water engulfed hair into the nice mushy pillow. I hissed in the same way as someone would when the click open the can of a refreshing soda pop. A small smirk filled my face as my eyes closed in a fulfilled manner.
Peace and Blessings,
Alex and Allison
Sunday July 29, 2018
Today was another relaxing weekend day in Fiji! We woke up this morning and went to an island that serves as a kind of park for Fijians. While we were there, we played games, sunbathed, snorkeled, and played beach volleyball and rugby. We also competed in an “amazing race” where we had to finish Fijian tasks like basket weaving, scraping coconuts, and planting coconuts (Alexandra and Evan’s team killed it). After the race, we went home and had a presentation on “lollipop moments”, or small moments that can make a big impact in someone’s life. It was another fun day in Fiji and we are all looking forward to continuing with our service tomorrow!
– Gabe and Julia A
Monday July 30, 2018
The blog is by Amanda and Will:
What an awesome day it was! We went to the village to do waste management service. We split into two groups and each group was assigned a different task. One group created trash bins out of recycled water bottles while the other group went around to each house in the village and surveyed which households needed grey water filtration systems.
To make the trash bins, we cut pieces of wood, nailed them together, and painted them red. We used empty plastic water bottles to make the sides of the trash bins. The garbage bins are important for keeping trash out of the ocean. There’s over 270,000 tons of trash in our oceans and it causes so much damage to our ocean ecosystems.
Our director Sam did a presentation about plastic and how it is absolutely destroying our planet. Reduce/ re-use/ recycle! So yes, putting our new plastic knowledge to work.
The trash bins make it easier for the villagers to transport trash instead of throwing it outside and having it end back up in the ocean. The group responsible for surveying and making the water filtration used old gasoline tanks, cut off the tops, poked holes all around, and filled it with dead coral and sand. The dead coral and sand acts as a natural filter of the waste water. The filtration systems are very important to ensure the well being of the ocean. If there were no filtration systems in place the grey water would drain into the ocean and pollute it, thus killing animals and their ecosystems. After we had lunch in the village, the two groups switched activities. Once both groups finished, we started a beach cleanup which entailed going around the island and picking up trash. We collected sooooo much of it!
Today we have put a lot of effort into our service and we could all agree it was an extremely successful day. All the little kids of the village came up to us to play around. The village and the little kids were all so thankful for our help and its so rewarding to see how happy everyone is. It’s an amazing feeling to know that the littlest things can put a smile on someone face for eternity.
Today was an emotional last day in the village. We started out by helping the villagers prepare and cook a traditional Fijian meal called Lovo. We then presented what we have learned about coral, climate change, waste management and mangroves to the villagers and finished by singing the coral song. The villagers then entertained us with traditional singing and dancing and pulled us in to join the fun. It then hit a lot of us that it was our last day in the village and a lot of us shed some tears in hopes that we wouldn’t have to leave. Afterwards we bought souvenirs from the local villagers and the money that we spent would go straight to their local economy. We then headed back to base to finish the day with a big bonfire!!