6.30am start at uprising resort for Heather, Anna and me. We went for breakfast and then left the resort at 7.30am and were driven to the office. When we arrived we were introduced to an instructor and given an introduction about how to Suba dive. We were then given wetsuits and the appropriate Suba diving gear and got on the boat with another group of people.
Left to right: Anna, Heather and Lucy
We sailed out to sea near pacific harbor. After 20 minutes we stopped near an island and the other group of divers left the boat while Heather, Anna and I waited. They were all experienced divers. When they came back we set off again and arrived near a small sandy island after 5 minutes. We put on the BCD, air tank and flippers then jumped into the water. This was the first time the three of us had been on a suba dive and we all found breathing through the regulator a weird experience! Our instructor had us practicing some of the skills for example knocking our regulator out of our mouths while underwater.
We then began our first dive! We deflated our BCDs and disappeared underwater. At first I had all sorts of troubles with my ears. During the decent I wasn’t equalizing and that’s why I was having trouble. I inflated my BCD again and composed myself before trying again.
Heather and Anna enjoying their dive....
The whole experience of breathing underwater was very strange and I struggled to begin with. After 10 minutes, we were all comfortably swimming 10 metres deep amongst all the fish and coral. We saw loads of small fish, especially lot of tiny blue ones! Luckily no sharks!
We saw all sorts of different shapes and sizes and colors of fish and coral. It was beautiful! I found the diving experience surprisingly noisey as all the bubbles passed my ears during exhaling. But after 5 minutes it wasn’t noticeable and I found a rhythm. After a 35 minute dive we ascended back to the boat. Once we were all out of our kit we were heading back to kland, all exhanutesd from the dive!
Volunteer Lucy Hoskin
Blog By Lucky Hoskin- England
Photos thanks to Heather Carroll
On the 14th of February, Fiji observed St Patricks Day; more comonly known as Valentines Day. To celebrate this occasion volunteers Heidi Brathlie, Caroline Sternersen, Leila Juman and Verena Rausch joined their host family, Padma and Jimmy Narayan in their local church. The family belong to the Latter Day Saints Church and every year church members mark Valentines day with a get together dinner and dance event.
Volunteers L-R: Verena Rausch, Caroline Stenersen, Heidi Brathlie, Leila Juman
The volunteers appreciated being part of this celebration as the church members got together to commemorate the biggest display of love in the world through Jesus Christ and the Lord almighty.
It was an evening of fun, excitement and entertainment and the church members appreciated having the girls celebrate with them as much as the volunteers did learning and enjoying from a culture and religion far from their own. This is indeed what volunteering in another country is all about. Sharing, learning and exploring!
Volunteers practising their dance moves with the locals.
Heidi in action!
Journeying from my island in the North Atlantic to the South Pacific has been one of the most challenging and simultaneously amazing things I have done in my life. As a Class 3 teacher at Mount St. Mary’s School, I get to see first hand the difference between the Canadian education system and Fiji’s.
Upon arriving at Mount St. Mary’s, I was warmly greeted by my 41 new students, all excited to hear about my life in Canada, my family and friends, and all the activities I have planned for the next two months.
All the class are very caring, fun loving and eager to learn new things despite how much of a challenge getting a quality education is in Fiji. The school has no gymnasium, organized soccer or rugby pitch and no sports equipment. There is no music program, no instruments.
The biggest shock to me, however, was the classroom walls, and classroom resources - nothing but ragged books and a blackboard. Slowly but surely, the walls of classroom 302 are filling up with arts and crafts done by the students.
In between English, Social Studies, Religion, Math and Health Science lessons, I have also gotten to opportunity to teach them some of my favourite primary school games, such as “7up,” “What time is it Mr Wolf?” and “Down by the Banks.”
My time spent at Mount St. Mary’s has been very fulfilling so far, and I am looking forward to the upcoming weeks!
Photos and Blog by Heather Carroll @ Mount Saint Marys School, Nadi
Whilst I’d seen photos and videos of schooling in underdeveloped countries, the reality of the education in these vastly different places can only be truly understood when you spend time within the schools themselves.
I have spent my time with the Year Four class whose subject outline is very similar to that of Australian schooling: Maths, English, Health Science, Social Science and an extra Language (in this case, Fijian).
The main teaching difference is the syllabus within each subject, such as the fact that “learning to swim” was part of “health science” in Year Four, whilst back at home, this would be part of “Physical Education” in Year 1 or Year 2.
Furthermore, the children can’t actually attempt to swim as there are no facilities here for them to do so. In general, facilities and equipment is minimal and inadequate for the children. In some classes, there is only 1 reading book for the entire class.
The library is made up purely from books donated to the school and the teachers give their own sporting equipment for the children to use on sport days. Being a relatively poor school, the furniture is also insufficient with some of the children needing to sit on the floor.
Class sizes of 40 make it difficult for the teacher to have personalized learning with each student, especially with the vast differences in academic abilities; however they do an incredible job. So far the teaching experience has been enlightening and rewarding.
Photos and Blog By Chirag Lodhia @ Nadi District School
Volunteers Jakob Michels, Lukas Vorwerk and Tara Dean have been all hard at work from this week as they embarked on a fencing project with the school management at Nausori Special School. Head teacher Sera was elated with a generous donation amount from Projects abroad which would be a huge boost to the finances of this project. According to her the staff were really concerned about the safety of the children and it was number one priority for them to have the fence put up as soon as possible.
Volunteers Lukas Vorwerk and Jakob Michels with School treasurer with the donation cheque.
Unfavorable weather conditions in the past few weeks hindered the start of the project and the team had to wait for fine weather before they started this week. Other volunteers, Raissa Lieber and Maike Birk are expected to pitch in today to help with some painting, digging and cement mixing today. The volunteers are very happy to have contributed to this very worthy project which is ensuring the safety of the children they are working with in a safe and friendly environment.
Last week we hosted our annual host family dinner at the Suva Bowling Club. It was an evening to show our gratitude to all the families who have opened their homes to our volunteers and have created a home away from home for them.
As food is a very integral part of all our daily lives, we thought that this evening of wining and dining with our host families would give us all a chance to share stories and get acquainted with all the other families.
Our Operations Director, Mr Greg Thomson from UK, was also present and had a great chance to have a chat with all the families. Lucy Wells, the Program Advisor, from the Australian office was also here with us and having a great time mingling with families. This gave a great insight to the type of hospitality that Fiji families have to offer and the immense love they give to their host daughters and sons.
Regina Grimm from Germany is our first volunteer doing the Community Village Project and is having a very good time. She is staying in a traditional village in a modern time. This means that the village is still observing the tradictions and cultures set forth by their ancestors but at the same time they are following a modern approach to earning a living and education.
Regina is involved in the kindergarten seeing how the education system is taught there. During her spare time, she is learning and helping the women of the village with the weaving and making of different types of food stuff.
Speaking to her, I learnt that she is really enjoying herself. It seems like the village has really opened its doors for our volunteers and Mokani has always been a great experience for all!
I did my tattoos in Fiji. I have been here now for 4 months and spent a lot of time in the water, surfing, diving, canoeing or just swimming...other than that I have always loved the ocean. That is why I got waves on my skin; Turtles for good luck and family and the coconut tree stands for life.
The Fijian art and culture is amazing, that’s why I tattooed myself to remember my outstanding period of life in this beautiful country........
Visit Our Main Sites
Be Our Friend