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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Marine – by Bek
Today is Friday, and almost 2 weeks to the day that I arrived on the GVI Fiji base in the Yasawa Islands...and with only 2 more weeks to go, it doesn’t seem like enough time...I want to stay!

I was already a PADI diver on arrival, so I have been able to get straight into the survey training and am now happily surveying corals and invertebrate life forms...it’s a pretty fab feeling to be able to identify life by name, colour and behaviour, and know that my contribution will help the project.

This morning the marine team had two dives: my buddy Matt and I completed nine LIT and IBT surveys on the first dive which we will write up this afternoon once dry! Our second dive was a ‘fun’ dive for Matt, and a fish ID point out dive for me, as I still need to be able to identify the various species on the target list. Whilst doing this, we spotted a 4-5ft White Tip Shark cruising the reef, then 5 stunning Spotted Eagle Rays ‘few’ past us as only they can do – slowly, elegantly and so majestically, their long tails trailing them b y at least 3ft. Breathtaking! With the clear big blue as a backdrop, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Life on the base is very basic and a lot of things happen on ‘Fiji’ time...you learn to slow down and adapt! There is a decent amount of down-time for you to swim, read, journal, have a beer chat or have some alone time...or you could walk to Lo’s Tea House for her famous cake!

If you’re reading this because you are thinking of joining the marine team at the Yasawa Islands GVI base...I would say there is nothing better you could be doing!! And check out these pics...

We have now begun work in Navotua village which is a 40 minute boat ride from Tovuto base. The villagers made us very welcome on arrival and treated us to a number of feasts including lobster, crab and seaweed. The local men were also very keen to get involved with the construction tasks which is awesome.

With the site assessment already completed, we began with general maintenance on the church, school and community house. We faced the logistical challenge of cleaning the down piping on the church with scaffolding, which was far more entertaining than it sounds. We also successfully connected three 10,000 litres tanks which we were previously out of use.

During our time at Navotua we have also enjoyed the added bonus of spending time at the school. We have been delighted to get involved with swimming lessons in the afternoons and we all got a little over competitive during a 20-aside soccer game involving all pupils and volunteers.

The weather has been behaving itself and we have completed two whole weeks at RMMS without interruptions. Almost all the kids are back at school and they are delighted that the volunteers are back for another year. Currently we have a volunteer in every class as well as Merryn and Eli running the one-on-one programme, supporting those pupils who need additional tuition.

In Class 6 Nish has been teaching the pupils the art of debate and there have been several heated discussions about whether girls are better than boys and whether octopus are better that crabs. Aside from being allowed to argue with each other for an entire lesson and not get into trouble, they have also learnt lots of new vocabulary and how to construct an argument.

The one-on-one programme is getting more support from the Fijian teachers than ever before. Teachers have been spotted following GVI’s example and taking pupils for extra tuition sessions to help with Maths and English which is big progress!

Also last week Nish, Andrea, Sanna and Kevin hosted a unique dance class for class 1, 2, 5 and 6, teaching them the ‘sprinkler’, the ‘shopping trolley’ and the ‘lawn mower’ moves which was a huge success.