Lots of images warning.
So as you may know, for 2 weeks in June I was in Fiji (and a day in LA on either side of that). The reason I was in Fiji was because I was volunteering. The local schoolhouse was in very poor shape, and the infrastructure of the country overall is pretty poor so they definitely needed the assistance. Our group consisited of about 14 people, including two representatives from the organization we were with. We lived with a host family and worked for the first week and on the second week we went on a short island hopping trip.
For you non-geography majors, Fiji is a group of over 300 islands (100 inhabited) north east of Australia. So yes, there was about a 19 hour time difference to what I was used to. Also the weather there is awesome, a cooler day is about 27 Celcius.
So there's some pictures from the trip to look at if you are interested.
Landing in Nadi airport, around 5 AM.
Our airplane to Suva, capital of Fiji, and closer to the villiage we would be staying at (Savu).
Walking around Suva, during orientation.
The first Kava ceremony. Kava is a customary Fijian drink, with numerous effects. For one, it numbs your mouth and after a few bowls you tend to loosen up a bit. Almost all business done with a traditional Fijian is done over kava.
The schoolhouse we worked on, while there we constructed an outhouse, fixed up three classrooms (painting, etc) and also taught.
One of the local Fijian workers asked if I wanted a coconut. I said yes and was led into the brush. Turns out, it's much easier for them to chain saw down a coconut tree than climb it.
Kava in Savu village. The kava here is significantly stronger than anywhere else we had it. And they drink it every night from about 8pm - 2 am.
Constructing a septic tank holder, with only wheelbarrows to mix in.
This was the kindergarten room before we began, watch for it later!
Savu kids at the swimmin' hole.
Teaching the grade 1 class, they loved the camera.
Facepainting, the whole school rushed to our room as soon as we broke these out. I must have wrote 'Fiji' and 'Canada' like 120 times.
The last day that the school kids would see us, so they had a thank you ceremony for us.
I got lei'd. And I was also given a sulu (guy skirt thing), another traditional fiji item.
The finished kindergarten room. On the rear wall we had a Canadian scene.
Sunday is a day of rest for the Fijians. After church they have an enormous feast, and then the rest of the day they will drink kava. I have never eaten so much food as I have in Fiji.
The whole group of volunteers after the church service. I think 90% of us are wearing clothes given to us by our host families.
This is my host family and myself, wearing my "dad's" military uniform. He's a Fijian soldier as well as a UN peacekeeper. He is also like 8 feet tall and has hands that could crush a person.
Anyway, that's it for the first week. I weeded out a bunch of pictures obviously and tried to make it so you could get a pretty good idea of what went on. If you like, I'll post some from the vacation week as well - that would probably contain a lot more of the other volunteers. But we did cool stuff like snorkeling with manta rays, but my camera doesn't mix with water so there aren't many pics of stuff like that.