Monday June 18, 2018
Bula! One of the first Fijian words that we learned today. Staff and students were greeted with this friendly word which means hello. After excitedly arriving at Home Base and getting breakfast and a tour we got to meet each other! The Fijian sun was strong and the pool was refreshing. The groups played a super fun “fetch” charades game and then delved into orientation to learn about how to keep ourselves safe and healthy while having fun on this adventure. After a walk to Wailoaloa Beach to learn about protecting resources and how to keep integrity on the program we got our first look at a Fijian sunset!
Dinner was plentiful with fish, lovo chicken, taro leaves, potatoes and lovo roots. We also were treated to Fijian dancing and singing and ice cream for dessert! Exhaustion finally hit and off to bed to start acclimating to our new life!
Wednesday June 20, 2018
We all woke up to meet the sun’s greeting at our former home base in Nadi. While some of us were rather sluggish to wake up, all of us were very excited and ready to take on all of the challenges that this new day had to offer! We set course towards our new home, Nacula; a beautiful island that presents new view points, challenges, and amazing sunsets! Upon arrival we were greeted by the local staff singing a traditional Fijian song. After hours of warming up and preparation, we all passed our swim tests! We all then had our first snorkel lesson, had a great meal with live Fijian music, and, to cap it all of, a sunset that put some students to tears. What an amazing day! Onward to more adventures!
-Written by leaders of the day: Kenneth Warren and Maggie Bruce
Thursday June 21, 2018
Today was our first full day on Nacula island. We took a boat ride with Captain Bill to meet the kids who attend the island’s school. We were greeted by six of the school children charging across their activities field. Once in the school, all of the kids demonstrated traditional songs and dances. After finally saying goodbye, we headed to the village, where we witnessed a kava ceremony and took a tour of the place where we are going to work. We were also given a morning “tea” that included fresh coconuts and roti rolls. Back at the home base, we snorkeled and played volleyball with some of the staff. Later, Jessica led a talk on how to set SMART goals. All in all, this was a great first day and we can’t wait for tomorrow!
-By Nicholas Partee and Isabel Cohen
Friday June 22, 2018
Waking up to a beautiful sunrise, students already knew they could look forward to an amazing day. We started off with a presentation from our local mentors, Moses and Gabby. Dressed in a bright yellow lakers jersey so that nobody could ignore him, Gabby explained the biology of marine organisms to the students. In order to do our best at helping the locals manage their resources, we first needed to learn how to identify and quantify the marine life found on the reefs of Nacula.
Fiji relies on coral for a lot of their exports, and without protecting the coral, the economy could collapse. When we learned about all the positive things that coral does, we were inspired to work hard to not only help conserve the reefs, but also teach locals to do so.
The knowledge we acquired during the presentation proved to be particularly useful while out in the field. Split into two groups, we all used our new skills to do our work. Group one went out into a reef near the village to collect data by counting fish. Each person had to look for a specific fish and mark down how many they saw in four ten minute periods. We later compared that data to the data found by our mentor Gabby, and put it into a government database. While looking for our species, we also got to experience a diverse marine ecosystem that is uncommon in our daily lives. We saw fish with bright colors and coral blossoming with life. Eels, sea cucumbers and sea stars dotted our vision while species like parrotfish, butterfly fish and goat fish darted across our path.
Group 2 on the other hand travelled to the local village to begin our coral restoration project. Once we arrived there we collected coral tips and after collecting half a bucket worth of coral tips we began glueing them to the coral cookies. We then tied the coral cookies to a pvc table with a metal grid on top and placed it in a suitable location 4 meters deep. We there then rewarded with snacks and juice from the local villagers.
Upon arriving back at home base, we were greeted with afternoon tea and time to rest after an eventful day. We spent this time bonding on hammocks and listening to music, happy to be in good company and an inspiring country.
Saturday June 23, 2018
Today our GLA family divided into two activity groups. Group 1 had a spectacular hike along volcanic ridges to a dazzling 360 degree view of the island. It was filled with plenty of laughter and great music. Activity group 2 ventured to Yasawa Islands landmark, two cave systems filled with fresh/salt water. To enter the second cave we had to make a short swim through a tunnel underwater that opened up to a lightless cavern. Group 2 partook in either local snorkeling or kayaking. While Group 1 had their turn at venturing through the Yasawa caves, Group 2 also made coral cookies for our conservation program. At the end of the day, we regrouped to share a delicious meal together and reflect on our adventurous encounters of Fiji’s epic beauty.
Sunday June 24, 2018
Today was our adventure/ hang out day! Half of the group went hiking up the mountain near home base; while the other half went to the Blue Lagoon private island to snorkel. After the hike, the hiking group joined the other group at Blue Lagoon to participate in activities. We snorkeled, swam, and played volleyball. We also participated in the amazing race which consisted of learning to weave baskets, scraping the coconuts, planting a tree, and kayaking. All three teams had to work together to complete the given tasks which helped with leadership and teamwork. Finally, we had a BBQ lunch on the island and bonded as we hung out together as a family!
Monday June 25, 2018
Yadra, GLA parents! Yadra means “good morning” and was our word of the day today. We met at 6:45 today before breakfast and departed for our service work in and around Nacula Village. We split into two service groups, one of which surveyed the reef and counted marine life and the other harvested coral for eventual growing and planting. We had a delicious local-cooked lunch in the village. Then one group picked up trash on the beach while the other continued our reef survey. We then returned to our home base for tea. We practiced a song to present to the school before dinner. While we ate, a group of us had fun doing a traditional Fijian dance. After dinner, we closed the day with a bonfire on the beach.
Tuesday June 26, 2018
Sun. Water. Humidity. Today we started off with an early morning service activity. Throughout the morning we planted over 1250 mangrove trees. As a team we pulled together, and our hardwork paid off. After service we had lunch in the village with the amazing locals. We cooled off with some fresh coconut water and lunch. Afterwards we played some games with the locals. To finish our service we coastal mapped the shores. Coastal mapping is the process were we take data from different spots on the beach and over time see how much it eroded away. To finish off the awesome day we sat down and watched the amazing Fijian sunset. We all had so much fun today, and we do miss all of our families!
Wednesday June 27, 2018
After breakfast our team headed out to the village to finish planting mangroves. Altogether we planed an extra 110 mangrove trees today. After getting a short break and a snack prepared by the village, we began our next service project. We started to construct four different garbage bins made of wooden planks and up-cycled plastic water bottles as part of our waste management program. This is important because without anywhere to put the garbage it ends up littering the island and sea. When we came back to home base we engaged ourselves in practicing for our performance for the school tomorrow. It was really fun to sing with everybody and we all enjoyed spending time with each other. After dinner Sam did a presentation about pollution in the sea. We suggested ways of how we can help reduce the waste that is filling our planet. All in all today was a fun and eventful day filled with laughter and learning.
Update: Photos from today!
Thursday June 28, 2018
Today was a monumental day as we completed our service here on the beautiful island of Nacula. We began the day by visiting the children at the school and performing the “Coral Song”, something which we had been strenuously working on to master. The looks of joy on the faces of the children when we graciously walked into the school was heartwarming to say the least. We were given a pleasant surprise when the children performed yet another ravishing medley of traditional Fijian and western music.
It was an understatement to say that the hearts of all the students were melted by their adorable voices and bubbling enthusiasm. Isabelle and Braden then proceeded to give the children a presentation about the excellent work that we had accomplished and how the children could better their own society. Following this, a session of pure fun and games began. With top – quality relay races, intense volleyball matches and creative tattoo sessions (fake don’t worry!), it was safe to say that the sound of laughter was was prevalent for the entire hour.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and after heavy-hearted goodbye as well as the creation of a few secret handshakes, we proceeded to the village in order to complete our service projects. We all worked tirelessly and with immense determination to accomplish our goals of creating a more sustainable way of recycling trash. Stopping for a bountiful water break and the usual lunch hour, we managed to complete all 4 recycle bins with messages written on the sides to inspire the villagers to find more sustainable ways to live. As an added bonus, we used some slightly hefty rocks to create barricades against the sweeping tides, thus keeping the sand evenly spread. This stopped the natural deterioration of one side of the beach.
Upon arrival, we were given free time until dinner, which was spent relaxing on the beach, going kayaking, snorkelling by the nearby reef as well as playing a modified version of rugby. To cap off the excellent day, we had a “lollipop” session in which we truly appreciated the people who have made a positive change in our lives by rewarding them with a lollipop. Overall, a rewarding day in which we spent time with arguably the cutest kids in the world, completing our service projects and relaxing by the beautiful beach of this hotel.
Vidur and Harrison
Hello family and friends!
Today was an extremely eventful day for the GLA students. We arose to a beautiful sunrise. We attended a lovo feast and participated in cultural ceremony and dance. While in the village we attended a formal kava ceremony as a celebration of the work we have done and a goodbye to our new Fijian family. After spending the day singing dancing and eating we headed back to oarsmen resort (home base) where we were able to spend free time hanging out with our GLA family before dinner. As usual the staff here at oarsmen outdid themselves. All in all, a great day for the GLA crew!!!