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Sunday, June 23, 2013

A new tank for Grandma

Part One

Construction had completed a third day fitting a tank to provide fresh water for Grandma at her house. It was a genuine community project. All of the people living near Grandma joined in. The men did the heavy lifting, carrying sand and rocks up the steep hill and mixed the concrete for the base. The ladies came to help with the cooking and a big lunch was prepared. We worked and we ate together.

At lunch on the final day, one of the ladies spoke on behalf of Grandma. What she said was that Grandma is very old and all her life she has wanted a tank and thanks to GVI she will get one now. This is a major event in the life of a venerable, old lay and she knows that GVI made it possible. There is a human face to the work done by GVI and thanks to this human face there is now a happy old lady living on top of a hill with fresh water to use. She is grateful to GVI and all the people that have made it possible to complete such an important project. Well done!

(Norman, 8 week Expedition Volunteer)

Part Two

After completing the water tank up at Grandma’s house (see previous blog) the construction crew was treated to a great surprise; we were invited back for a thank you feast! On Monday evening 6 lucky construction members trekked up the beach, and the hill, up to Grandma’s house. When we entered the house it was clear that a lot of effort had been made in order to welcome us. Weaved palm frawn mats lined the ground and plates were already set out, served with all the starch-laiden vegetables so popular in the islands. Kasava, sweet potatoes, and yams lined our plates and an extra plate was even laid out to put our excess vegetables on. After Tai accepted our dinner in a Fijian tradition Grandma said grace and the meat bowls were uncovered. They held mangrove land crab curried in coconut milk, smoked tuna mackerel, and boiled barracuda; a true seafood feast. As the guests sat down to gorge, our hosts sat back and allowed us the first choice of the meat. Lively conversation continued and many laughs were heard throughout the night. When we had our fill it was our turn to move back from the mat and let our hosts have theirs. The feast continued long into the night and I felt honoured to be a part of such a special event. In traditional Fijian fashion our feast ended with a joyful and relaxing kava circle with the whole community on the hill, even Grandma took part! All of these festivities were brought about by the fact that we gave this woman a water tank to collect filtered rain water. For something that is so easily accessible at home it was so special to see how happy we made someone who had never had clean drinking water from the comfort of her home before. Thanks to the community and hard work put in by everyone, I will never forget Grandma’s house

(Hayley 12 Week Community Scholar)