The highlights of the trip were of course the children. They are such happy children, keen to learn and I was really impressed with the generally neatness of their bookwork and their handwriting.
The people there are so welcoming and accepting of people into their village. They showed great concern for me and my comfort and for my age (apparently I was the oldest volunteer they had ever had at the school) and I know a lot of work went on behind the scenes to make sure I was comfortable and safe.
Some of the highlights were travelling with the students to Mololo Island and Sigatoka for sports events. The logistics of organising up to 76 students 7 teachers and a couple of volunteers to travel in small fishing boats and the school boat to Mololo and in the case of the trip to Sigatoka transferring to the ferry off the island of Tokoriki and catching a bus from Denarau to Sigatoka were pretty formidable but were managed very impressively.
I loved reading with the students. They work so hard and are so keen to learn. I also enjoyed walking along the beach with the students after school singing songs we had learned that day or collecting shells and also spending time with the women who were so very kind and generous. I felt I really made some good friends. I’ve enclosed a photos of the children but I’m afraid I am not a very good photographer and I also missed a lot of photo opportunities. I am truly grateful for the opportunity of being a volunteer at Mamanuca school and I would love to do it again. I would need to save the money, which I’m sure I could do, and I would have to do it before I get too much older but let’s see how I go. Could you please give me the email address and the postal address of the school? I have some books from a reading programme I would like to send and also gifts for Master Te and Mala, who took such good care of me while I was there.
There are probably a couple of things that I wasn’t really prepared for: One was the fact that I left everyone in Sigatoka on Thursday and with everyone busy trying to get organised for the trip back to Yanuya, Master Te and I left early in the morning to go to his village and I did not get the opportunity so say “Goodbye” and to thank people before I left.
Another thing was that because I was staying with the men teachers I hadn’t taken anything as a gift for them and I didn’t have the opportunity to shop for a gift for them. I was not able to leave the island to shop and the cost of the return ferry trip to Tokoriki is quite expensive.
One other thing is that although it says so in the Welcome Pack there is nowhere to keep important belongings safe. I really have no issues with this as I’m sure 99 percent of the time this is not a problem, however my speaker, which I use with my computer, went missing during my stay at the school.
Thanks Lauren for all your help in organising the trip. I was really was a wonderful experience.