Wednesday, July 28, 2010

one month?

I only have one month left here? WHAT?! The time is absolutely flying by! I have to admit, there are times that go by super slow, and I find myself daydreaming about American food (quite frequently) and my American family and friends- BUT, one day of bulas, cute little kids climbing all over you, riding the busses and looking at the beautiful scenery helps me remember why I'm here. Let me just list a few of the pros and cons of Fiji Fiji with the help of a little statistics and numbers-

lets get the cons out of the way.

-20 people living in a tiny house with:
---1 bathroom
---1 siiiick shower
---4 bedrooms
---1 kitchen
---0 dishwashers, 0 washing machines
---17284 humongous cockroaches
---1 cockroach the size of my palm sauntering across my face in the morning to wake me up
- 3 successful midnight mouse hunts in the house (those are pretty entertaining- adrenaline gets pumpin. Thank you James Brown the mouse slayer)
- 4 nights of finding lizards in my bed
-1 squished frog from my foot. (hoards of frogs appear out of nowhere at night- one day I tried to count the amount of squished frogs on our road- impossible feat.)
- 1 billion projects falling through, or projects failed because of 'Fiji time'
- 10 moldy loaves of bread thrown away (food goes bad super fast here, no preservatives anywhere in sight)
- mystery number of pounds gained. (for me to know, and you to find out- sorry reader.)
-3 worthless internet cafes. ok, not worthless. just really slow.
-105 degrees every day, plus humidity (I'm not actually sure the exact degrees- that's at the very LEAST what it feels like)
-4 stained adobe stove shirts
-0 hamburger meals. daaaang it

Now, the pros. Obviously more important.
-20 people living in the same house (yes, that is a pro and a con- despite the cons, it is SO much fun- the other volunteers are the greatest!)
- 100 consumed blitz bars (i'm addicted. they are toffee ice cream bars that I cant seem to stop myself from buying)
-70 cent (Fijian cent- equal to 35 cents in America) coconut buns (like cinnamon buns, only... mmmmm 100 times better)
-40 cent cream buns
-50 cent scorns with cream (I wish I could better explain what all these were.)
-7 dance parties
-3 traditional weddings attended- both Fijian and Indo-Fijian
-30+ volunteers giving up their summer to help serve the people of Fiji
-8 different volunteer projects
-countless hours of volunteer work
-10 different villages working with our program
-over 2000 people in Fiji taught by our HELP International projects and classes
-30+ music classes taught!
and muuuuuuuch much more! I had the exact statistics for the whole team at some point- but I dont have them with me at the moment. All in all, this summer Help International has made a big difference in little Tavua, and basically everyone on the north side of the island knows who the 'palangis' (white people) are and what we are here for! It's been an awesome experience for me, and i'm looking forward to another month- hopefully I can get everything done that I want to before I have to step on the plane and go back home! Stay tuuuuned. I will update more often this last month, I promise. I think

Monday, July 5, 2010

Every-day life in Tavua

Sorry guys, no pics this time- I forgot my thing to connect my camera. next time, next time. At least I can give you guys a little Fiji update. Here is an average week here in Tavua- Get ready for my biggest blog written update ever.

Sunday morning, wake up at 8 to go to church at 9- which sounds early, but isn't really. My body has never really fully adjusted- so I go to bed reasonably early (11 ish) and get up pretty early (7 ish) I kinda like it that way! Anyways- I get up, make my oatmeal breakfast, make another one, eat some fruit, then eat a pp&j. I then don my church clothes, which is pretty much the same clothes I wear every day- I sorta feel bad going to church in the clothes I wear everyday, so I try to spice it up a little with a little mascara if i'm feeling adventurous, and maybe even brush my hair. Haha just kiddin, I take care of myself here..... sorta. I then go to the Tavua ward- which is one of my favorite parts about Fiji- I LOVE church here! The people are so awesome, and so strong in their callings, and they are so passionate about everything they do. Sacrament meeting is the best, because they sing so high and so loud, and so Polynesian beautiful! (yesterday I was at combined family home evening with the ward, and Suzi Q was scolding me for not singing loud enough). Come home from church, hang around, maybe watch a movie on the projector we brought- then sometimes go to the school across the road from us and play soccer with the local kids. They are freakin amazing at everything they do- soccer, rugby, netball, singing, whatever. they are good at it. That evening, Arietta (our cook) and her granddaughters Arietta and Maggie come and hang out with us, then we eat an AMAZING dinner of curry, chutney, and roti. soooo delicious. Then, we end the day with some card games, ranging from any form of speed, to bloodbath, to five crowns, to nerts.

Monday through Friday, every day is pretty much BOOKED with all of our projects that we can choose which to go to. The projects are: Prism (a project that involves traveling with a doctor (Animesh is his name) who works in America three months out of the year and gets paid, then he comes to Fiji the other 9 months of the year to do work for free for the Fijian villages and Indo-Fijian settlements who can't really afford to go to the hospital or doctor) Square food gardening, Adobe stoves, and classes on Music, Health, Fitness, and Business. Some new projects are just getting started, Solar food drying, and just starting today some volunteers are traveling to a nearby city called Ba to work in an orphanage.

My project (music) consists of these weekly classes that I have been doing for a while now- every Tuesday, I go to the Tavua Kindergarten (which is right in town across from the market, only takes about 10 minutes to walk there) and teach a basic music class, which most the time ends up to be just clapping and singing and handing out stickers. But I love it. Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I teach basic piano and theory lessons to a group of high-school aged kids right after their seminary class in the LDS chapel, because thats the only place that has a piano. Wednesday, I travel by bus about an hour and a half to Lautoka, to teach intermediate music theory lessons to the 'youth'- youth here are about 20 year olds to 30 year olds- I looove that class, everyone is so interested and comes handy with pen and paper to take notes. After, we do a little bit of Ukulele and guitar lessons to a few people who are interested, but only for like 20 minutes. Wednesday evenings, we teach music lessons to a nearby Indo-Fijian settlement in Yasi Yasi- ranging from a few young boys to teenage girls to stay at home moms. That's basically my music project right now! A little more about daily life in Fiji-

There are lots of forms of transportation here- here are the ones that I use the most: First, the bus transportation. EVERYONE gets around by bus here- it's pretty essential. there really is only one MAIN road here on the main island- it's Kings/Queens road, that pretty much loops around the whole island, and goes to all the main cities- Tavua, Ba, Lautoka, Nadi, Suva, Raki Raki- I think there's something like 10 main cities- but those are the ones I know and travel to. So I travel by either express, or stopping bus to those cities - LOVE the bus rides. After bus, there are the taxis- which are lame. They are nice, but they are so expensive, those are rare experiences for me. Plus, every time I get in one, the driver tries to hack up the price cause i'm white. stuuupid. Dont worry guys, I don't let them push me around anymore, I've pretty much figured out how to work the bartering system. I'm a pro. Then there are the mini busses- which are like mini vans packed with seats- I think 10 people can legally fit in those, but they try and pack them pretty tight. Those are great, they are only two dollars. Finally, there are the carriers- my favorite mode of transportation. I showed you guys a few pictures of these- all it is is a truck with like, a cover over it, and a bench in the bed that we can sit on. Those are sweeeet. some of the drivers install their sound systems in the back, so we can jam in the back- haha it's awesome.

Alright, this is only the very basics of Fiji life- but my eyeballs are burning from staring at this internet cafe computer, and i'm sure you guys feel like you are reading a whole bunch of crap. So, to all of you who made it this far, congrats! you are my loyal blog friends. I will reward you with pictures next week :)

Moce Moce, I love you all! happy belated fourth of July :)