Friday, May 28, 2010

Getting Going with Exercise

Last week we had a fun cultural experience. After building a garden in Korovuo one of the ladies invited us to a village party. There was a guy from the village who had gone to France to play rugby and he had come home for a few weeks so they were celebrating. A Fijian celebration involves sitting in the town meeting spot and everyone drinking kava and smoking with music playing in the background. This lasts for two to three days. In order to come to the village we had to offer sevu sevu which is a gift, usually kava, to the chief. One of the women provided this for us and we were invited to sit in their circles. The people were very welcoming and friendly. They offered us kava and most of us tried it but didn’t like it. We then danced a little with the people and headed home. The people here are so open and accepting. It was neat to feel a part of their village.
We had an amazing workshop on Tuesday with Gold Foundation. All the volunteers set up a station to talk about their projects and get contacts of those who were interested. We had all the people rotate through the stations about every 7-10 minutes so everyone had the chance to learn about all the projects being done. The main projects we are working on are gardens, business classes, adobe stoves, music, health, nutrition, exercise and village construction. We have made so many new contacts this way and are reaching out to new women’s groups, schools and even churches.
This week we started up piano lessons for the first time and are partnering with FRIEND to go out to villages to teach music. The projects leads are reaching out to a new town this week called Rakiraki and we should have a stove there by the end of the week.
Wednesday Sherry and Brita taught an exercise class in Yoladro. There were five other girls who came along to support and help us with the class. This little village is about 10 minutes away by taxi. Yoladro is a village that is set up by the government so the women who live there are there temporarily. We had four women come at the start and we taught them a little lesson about why exercise is important and ways to exercise. We then started a little exercise routine. We had two more women and one man show up throughout the routine and they participated to varying degrees. The original four women seemed very interested and participated all the way through. We first did some stretching and then moved into to some easy marching and jumping around for a cardio workout. After that was finished we taught them a country line dance and played some Shania Twain. Everyone was a little tired and sweaty and seemed to enjoy themselves; it was definitely a success. We set a time to come back and do some more exercise next week and told them to keep exercising on their own. We even showed them how to use and exercise log so they can record how much they exercise each week.
On Thursday we went back to Korovuo and taught an exercise class with the children. They had fun running around with us and learning to dance. At the end we played partner tag with them and they caught on quick and loved it. It was a fun time and hopefully they learned something too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bula Vinaka!

It's been almost 3 weeks since our awesome country directors arrived in Fiji! It's gone by really fast and it feels like we've gotten a lot done.

The first two weeks most of us worked on finding contacts for our projects as well as working on some manual labor projects. We've continued a garden project the team last year started with the Tavua Hospital. We've built one clay stove, kind of a tester because most of the stoves that were built last year cracked so we're trying to find the right clay mix. We've met with a number of women's groups and contacts in villages to figure out what the different people want and need. On wednesday the 26th we're having a big workshop where most of the groups will present ideas as to what we can do for the community. At the workshop there will be a reps. from the women's groups and some villages, we're hoping to get people even more excited about what we're here to do and help the locals see what we can do for them and decide what they want us to teach them/help them with.

We've decided what project categories we want to focus on so far, we've got the following going:

- Square Foot Gardening
- Nutrition
- Health (including hygiene, disease protection and prevention, hospital volunteer opportunities, teen pregnancy and other STDs, etc)
- Business Classes/ Business start-ups
- Fitness
- PRISM (A doctor from the States focuses on community health and is using a lot of our volunteers to reach out to communities to make them healthier and stop non-communicable diseases)
- Adobe/Clay Stoves
- Music Classes & Theater
- ESL (English as a Second Language)
- Schools (all grade levels)
- FRIEND Organization - (a Fiji NGO that goes out into rural communities to teach self-reliance)
- PWD (People with Disabilities)
- Village Construction

All groups are moving forward with goals and we find that the community is excited that we're here to help out.

The team is doing great and we all get along really well and spend our free time playing games and enjoying ourselves. This past weekend we went to Lautoka, a city an hour and a half from Tavua, and went a super sweet hike. It was beautiful there! Really tropical ans almost like walking through a rain forest. plus, the view was amazing!

That's all for now :)