Welcome to GVI Fiji's Community Development Programme blog. Here you can keep up to date with our projects in Fiji.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reports From the Field: Sam

The last week has been at times; hot, mildly daunting, amusing, and extremely rewarding. The week began with a quick slightly travel-lagged intro and education weekend on the basic and well-loved a GVI Tovuto base on Nauniya Lailai in the northern Yasawas. After an involved and complex briefing, that basically involved discussing the not so complicated procedures of installing a water tank and the fairly complex procedure of navigating local politics and Fiji-time work constraints to actually find a place that a water supply can feasibly be placed, we were ready for work.

After loading nearly 700 kilos of equipment and our 5 person team into our boat we were off to begin our first day in a fairly large, by Yasawa standards, village on the nearby Nacula Island, a 20 minute voyage around shallow reefs. After a quick introduction and reconnoitre, we found a suitable site and began digging the base for the water tank that we would be installing.

Thus the daily pattern for the week was established as follows, awake early, cook if it was your turn, load the boat and travel across to Nacula, work hard in the intensifying heat of the Fijian morning, 10pm break for scones and papaya, more sweating, lunch in the main hall (an amazing carbohydrate loaded experience that did challenge anyone not fond of anything that comes from a fish – just a warning from the wise “No fish today” just means no fresh fish and does not exclude the canned variety which is used as an ubiquitous flavouring agent ), a less intense afternoon work period (very hot) – sometimes interspersed with afternoon naps with the men of the village (You have never had a day-nap till you have napped on a Fijian head-log!), then back to base for snorkelling, dinner (cooking if it is your turn), a causal evening, sometimes a few beers, and a well-earned rest!

So after a week we had installed a 10,000 litre tank, fixed some other water catchement systems and made some great friends with some of the elders and youths who had helped us at all stages of construction. Our team consisted of three Australians, one Englishman , and Dan Lund our intrepid leader. We all greatly enjoyed this week and other than; friendships, increased construction skill, amazing sight-seeing, we also learned some Fijian , the value of water on a hot day, and how valuable the concept of Kere-Kere (look it up) will be back home.

Sam “Double D” Pankhurst