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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tovuto Base - Week 1 2012

Construction – by Katie
The first week has flown by but at the same time it feels as though we've already been here for months. It's taken much less time than I thought it would to make GVI base camp feel like home. The construction crew has bonded quickly over our mutual lack of knowledge of pretty much everything to do with construction work. Thankfully, Thom, the construction project leader, has been patient with explaining and walking us through the various stages that are involved in installing rainwater tanks. We have learnt how to pick the appropriate house to attach the guttering to, making sure that the pitch of the roof allows the rainwater to be gathered in the tank and also ensuring that the ground is flat enough to be able to build the concrete base into. We have been carrying on the work the previous volunteers were doing in the village of Malakati, where three more tanks and filters still need to be installed.

On Wednesday we took a break from our work in Malakati to do some work around base camp. The new dive building was still in need of mosquito netting and metal grates for the windows, as well as one door. Another volunteer, James, and I got the job of building one of the doors and it was probably my favorite task of the week. Building the door from scratch and using only hand tools definitely gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. However, this was nothing compared to how I felt after completing one of the bases for the water tanks in Malakati. On Friday we mixed concrete, sand and stones in wheelbarrows to make a seven foot by seven foot base. This was by far the hardest work we did all week but after we poured in that final wheelbarrow of concrete, leveled the base and wrote our names along the side it made all the sweat and aching muscles well worth it. Even though it’s only been a week, I can honestly say, apart from the heat, there is nothing to complain about and even the heat just makes it that much more enjoyable to go for an afternoon swim back at base after a hard day of work.

Education – by Nish
This week was the start of something new for all of us, and we were eased in nicely by running a holiday arts and crafts week before the official start of term. We broke new ground by visiting 2 new villages, Matacawalevu and Vuake. The start of the week was our chance to plan the weeks activities. We decided on having crafts stations each with different craft activities. There was a bracelet station, mask making station, a face painting station and colouring station, each manned by a group of two volunteers. We also brought with us, our trusted ball bag complete with parachute to play any outdoor games. A range of different ages were called to come and play with us, from the very tiny two year olds, to the 14 year olds who just wanted to play volleyball. We were welcomed into each village with open arms and big smiles. Each volunteer was gifted with bracelets, flowers and cuddles and were even lucky enough to be given a Fijian feast mid-week by the village. We rounded off on Friday with a tour of Ratu Meli school, where we will be spending the majority of our time, and met a few of our new students during a game of 'Taki'. After a week of fun and games, and being enchanted by the Fijian culture and children, we are all keen to get stuck into the new term and the challenges it may bring!

Marine – by Dalton
It's been a long week of learning for the marine team. After the initial introductions and greetings on arrival at the Tovuto base, we were all very excited to get stuck into some diving. Ron and his pile of paperwork had other ideas. On the second day however we got to experience our first dive at the famous blue lagoon, needless to say the underwater environment there was breathtaking.

Throughout the rest of the week we began our learning and studying of the targeted species for our future survey work. From snails to snapper and sea cucumbers to starfish we, for the most part, committed them all to memory during Candice's lectures and the various point-out dives. Even the bizzarre leopardfish bumfish was noted down, courtesy Howard. Throughout the learning, one of our fellow volunteers also completed his Open Water Diving course.

Congratulations Matt! As the week drew to a close we were all feeling a bit worn out and decided that we'd spend the weekend away from base at Coral View resort. Well rested or not, I think we are all keen to complete our Advanced Diving qualification this week.