Wednesday was our monthly social, and breaking the habit of going for pizza, we met at Bamboo restaurant at Wailoaloa beach. We were about 30 altogether, and shared a massive buffet of salads, fish, meat, and some unidentifiable but tasty treats!
Last Friday Nadi Christian School celebrated the Graduation of their Kindergarten class. We have 4 volunteers at the Kindergarten and Primary School: Sarah Orridge, Pia Wagner, Margaux Michel and Sandra Langsted. The special guest and Head Pastor said a few words and presented the prizes for special achievements to all the Primary classes. The Kindegarten students put on some wonderful (although somewhat chaotic) dances, and Pia's drama class from the primary also did 2 short sketches.
Pia wagner with her Kindy Graduates
There were some great costumes on display, and the Kindergarten students looked especially cute! It was a great morning of celebration for everyone!
Diwali, commonly known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, is the biggest event in the Hindu calendar.As approximately 30% of the population in Fiji are Hindu, it calls for a massive celebration across the country.Diwali is a national holiday, so even non-Hindus join in the festivities.In Nadi town the main street was closed up and a stage erected for the week leading up to the bank holiday. During the daytime stalls were selling clothes, food and trinkets, and by night there were shows on the main stage.A number of our host families are Hindu, so some of the volunteers got the opportunity to join in with the more traditional aspects at the festival at home.
I was lucky to have been invited to spend the evening with one of our hosts, Uma Wati, and her family.Our volunteers Wilma Sharples is staying at Uma’s, and for the entire week leading up to the Friday she was helping to make all the traditional Diwali sweets.It seemed that she had made enough food to feed an entire family for a year, but part of the tradition is to give the sweets out to friends, neighbours and family members so I’m sure they wont last long.
Here are a few photos from the volunteers Diwali experiences…
Yesterday 9 of us (Mary Crowe, Becky Bellamy, Christina Jacob, Alastair Murray, Marina White, Tamsin Cardale, Maciej Sulek, Wilma Sharples and me) went white water rafting on the upper Navua river, just inland of Pacific Harbour on the south coast.We had a 4am….yes 4am!!!...start as it’s a couple of hours drive from Nadi to Pacific Harbour where the Rivers Fiji office is.It was then about one and a half hours further inland to get to the part of the river where we boarded the rafts.We had a short stop on the way for some juice and banana bread.The views along the (very bumpy) track were absolutely stunning, and it was great to see a part of the country that many of the tourists never explore.
After getting kitted out with helmets, life jackets and a paddle, we walked for about 15 minutes to the drop in point of the river.We had a quick safety talk where the guide explained what to do if we “popped out” of the raft at any stage.He unnervingly made it sound like “popping out” would be a regular occurrence!
As soon as we set off down the river we were surrounded by the most wonderful scenery.The river has cut its way through the rocks creating stunning canyon walls.Around every bend was a waterfall, most of which the raft was directed straight under by the guides, giving a refreshing power shower.
The rapids were by no means hard core (mostly grade 2 and 3) but were fun all the same.After about 3 hours, and just as the rain started we stopped for a picnic lunch.Then for another 2 hours on the river, stopping off at a waterfall that if you walk behind it it gives you a rather intense back massage.35 kilometers of rafting later and we arrived at the end of our river journey.The ride back on the bus was equally as impressive as on the way, or so I hear (most of us were snoozing by this point I think)!I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see the beautiful interior of Viti Levu.