Volunteering in a Fijian village school.

Slept extremely well so had a quick breakfast of toast in the room and got ready for the bus. Met everyone in the hotel entry area. Half our group headed off in the mini bus to the church site and to the Nawaka village for craft. After about fifty minutes the mini bus returned to pick the rest of us up to go to the village. On arrival we enjoyed an expansive morning tea. Once the table was cleared the craft ladies restarted work using the new sewing machines. The first project was using material scraps to make patchwork quilt squares. The electronic stop-start sound of sewing machines could soon be heard. The teaching group sat around on the verandah planning lessons together. Just after 12:00 we were served lunch of a chicken casserole, rice and other local veggies. About 12:45 our teaching group walked through the village and out to the school which is on the main road. A covered way leading into the school had an overhead display of qualities the children were encouraged to have – patience, resilience, self control, sharing etc.

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The blue painted school was mostly one level but there was a small second storey with two classrooms on the main building. The assistant principal met us at the office and each pair was escorted to their class. My partner and I were working with the year 4 class. As the principal was at a conference his class was also in the room so there were 45 students in the class! After introducing ourselves I drew a map and we talked a bit about Australia. After talking with them for a while we came to the conclusion that clearly their level of English was better than we had been led to believe. So we did a few counting activities in English with them, played a game or two, John told the kids a story and we asked questions, some of which they understood, some not. By this time the 45 minute session was over. The young lady teacher told me the kids were going out for sport next. This class was her first appointment. Meanwhile Karen and her partner Sandra had been in Year 1. They had chatted with the children, sang some songs, played games, drawn and told stories.

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Year 1 students

Once we walked back to the village we chatted about the successes and failures of our lessons. The mini bus returned to collect us in two groups.

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The craft ladies group came back second as the local village women were having such a productive time they were loathe to stop. The day ended with a delicious meal of Chinese food (- the highlight being some homemade chicken wontons) at a restaurant near to our hotel.

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