After our newly certified divers received their diplomas, the whole group headed up to the Nakavika Village high up in the mountain tops. There we spent four wonderful days doing community service for the local school and village and we got the opportunity to meet a lot of great new friends. On the bumpy drive up to the village, our guide Mosses talked to us about all the great things we would be participating in while staying in Nakavika. He also told us about some of the cool traditions we would be participating in, along with a lot of great history about the village, its people and the mysteries of the mountains. While Mingwei practiced his mesmerizing magic tricks and mind games for the kids on the van ride the rest of the group waited patiently for the arrival at the village. Upon our arrival we were greeted immediately by one of the local kids which quickly turned into a flock of happy smiling faces. Once again Danna and Zach were seen playing with the kids, running back and forth and back again. The local kids were definitely giving us a run for our community service hours. After dinner it was Callan who was ready to get back on the field with the older kids for a little touch rugby pick up game or two.
During our community service activities we helped pound wooden stakes in for a new side walk they were making, find rocks for the cement and paint the walls of the villages primary school house. While we were unloading all of the cement bags and blocks, we were thankful to have a good group of strong boys and girls but mostly for our man of the hour Jack, who may have carried half of the bags himself. They were almost as heavy as two of the little kids running around but Jack didn’t even hesitate when it came to loading those big bags. As much fun as we were all having with the paint Sam seemed to collect the most on his hands, arms and legs. I think he really want to take a piece of Fiji home via paint marks. Throughout the few days in Nakavika we were blessed to be invited to one of the locals homes where two of the women cooked us dinner twice and breakfast once simply because they wanted to. In nothing else the people of Fiji are some of the nicest, kindest people you will ever meet. They are always sharing a passing smile or wave every chance they can get. As a wonderful farewell, we ended our stay with an awesome hike to a cool waterfall where we all took turns standing under the calm but chilly fall. We also said our goodbyes to the village and left not by van but by inflatable kayak. Cool and calm as the waterfalls we have seen previously during this trip, the ride was awesome and the water was a refreshing break after all the paddling between the great boulder mountains that towered on either side.
Once at the bottom we finally said goodbye to Mosses met back up with our van driver who took us to a real paradise spot know as Mango Bay. There we felt like kings and queens, back to sleeping on beds not only supplied with pillows and blankets but a linen shade that you could make into a cocoon while you sleep. As the outside lights kissed the inside of the cabin our cocoons looked like our own personal hideaway. Dana especially liked her little get away bed, feeling like a princess in her fairy tail hideout. Once morning came, it was time to get to the beach, with cameras in hand Sam and Zach tried their best to catch some awesome photos while shredding some serious waves. As a first time surfer it was Mingwei that took the prize for most improved, getting up after only a few tries on the quick waves. After the group was beat from frighting the on coming current, we loaded up out surf boards and headed to shore for some nice lunch and a little crab race action.
Early the next morning we were off once again onto our next adventure of sailing. Our crew was fantastic, within minutes of pushing off from the dock they were laughing and joking with the group all the way to our first snorkeling spot. We were lounging on the upper deck listening to music and looking at the breathtaking view of Fiji from the sea. While our crew cut and served us fresh fruit and cookies, Callan took the opportunity to catch a couple more rays before heading to the next resort. After snorkeling for about and hour, where we fed the reef fish and saw Nemo once again, we had a quick informal Kava ceremony then headed to the beach for another wonderful night in paradise. The crew spent the night talking on the beach, laying in hammocks and watching the enormous bonfire burn to small embers. Another hard day for the Fiji Service crew. The next morning we woke up to a nice continental breakfast and headed back to the boat for some more fresh fruit, music and sailing. About two hours later we found ourselves scouring the famous island of “Beach Comber” for a nice sandy spot to hang out and eat our lunch. After we finished off with a couple games of volleyball, then we were back to the boat for some more fun in the sun on the top side. It seemed like only minutes later, when it was really a few hours), when we were back at the dock unloading our bags. Saying goodbye to our crew was hard, but knowing this is our last planned activity in Fiji was even harder. So we showered up got dressed in our clean clothes and headed to the Hard Rock Cafe Fiji Style where we dined on some awesome sandwiches and finished off with a little shopping.
For the leaders, this trip was an amazing experience for sure, we can only hope the participants had an even better time. By the look on their faces in all of their pictures, during the activities and all the fun meals prepared, I would have to stay they loved this trip. It was awesome getting to know all of our volunteers and I hope they come home wanting to create a positive impact on their community the way they did here in Fiji.
From all of the villagers and guides, we send home a warm thank you to all the participants who worked hard and played harder during this trip. It was truly an honor to work by your side for the past three weeks. We hope you keep having fun while back in the US and keep being the great people you were here in Fiji. We had so much fun and can’t wait to do it again someday.
Thanks again for this awesome expereince. This is Fiji Service signing off for the last time, MOCE! Dana, Sam, Mingwei, Callan, Zach and Jack (Goodbye! )