Fiji CAS Service Learning Trip

The children at Tao school were very appreciative of their art and craft lesson that was well prepared and planned by our students, this was the first time these children had ever sewn and they all got to take home a soft stuffed toy they had designed and made. The rest of our students taught their Aussie Rules lessons to year 6 children outside. All represented our school very well sharing their hearts and expertise with theTao village children and were rewarded with Fijian smiles and new friendships.

Our first activity of the day involved Momi kayaking along the bay shoreline and up the mangrove river which was a two hour round trip. This activity involved both physical and mental perseverance and determination for many of our students. They were given the opportunity to get a lift in the accompanying boat if they got tired however they worked together as a team supporting each other with encouragement to make it to our destination. Later in the afternoon students experienced Fijian mud pools and natural hot springs.

An early morning start began with a trip to the only national park in Fiji where we began our two hour hike through the sacred Forrest full of medicinal plants and over the sand dunes. Our ranger guide informed us of the precious Eco system in that part of the island. All students demonstrated commitment and perseverance during this unique experience.

Building sustainable futures was the purpose of this beach clean up, students learnt last year about the impact plastic waste has on our local and global societies and this was their opportunity to take action and try to reduce their ecological footprints. Throughout the trip students drank from reusable drink bottles, stayed at an Eco lodge and collected two garbage bags of plastic waste from the national park beach demonstrating engagement with global issues first hand.

Students worked at the Ratu Nemani School for two days mixing cement and constructing a school dining hall which will also be hired out to local communities after completion allowing the school to purchase their own much needed basic supplies.
Students then worked hard exploring new possibilities, embracing new challenges and adapting to new roles. They learned the art of rendering the school dining hall. This hall will provide a shady area for students to eat on hot days and shelter if there is a cyclone in the area.

The children at Ratu Nemani school do not have shoes so providing a tiled toilet block protects their feet from sharp surfaces and clean from mud in the rain. Our students worked very hard to tile the whole outside area of the block demonstrating that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.

To ensure that the local village was self sufficient we constructed a chicken coop that provides nesting boxes for up to 18 hens, this was to be given to the community along with chickens and feed which will revise food and income for the Ratu Nemani village. Here our students demonstrated new carpentry skills and recognised the benefits of working collaboratively while showing awareness of the consequences of choices and actions throughout the experience.

Sara Colville
Team Leader - Fiji CAS Service Learning Trip

For one week of our holiday, myself and other students traveled to Fiji, with the aim of providing help to the local communities. During this trip, we engaged in various cultural experiences with the people and the country itself. One of the things that surprised our group so much was how happy the Fijian people were. Even though when we went to some of their houses and schools, observing their torn shoes and clothes, yet every time we said hello or even looked at them, there would be a cheery reply of “bula” (hello), to which our entire bus of students would yell the same out the window. I think the most impactful experience for nearly all of the students was when cooked and distributed food for the local womens shelter. As soon as we arrived we were greeted with warm hellos, toured around the area and then taken to the food hall, where we received a prayer from one of the local women. In this instance, and the others during the week, we were able to make a connection with the people in the short time that we had, and to us that was one of the most rewarding parts of the trip. I feel that I really gained an appreciation for the things that we have in Australia, as compared to the lack of them in Fiji. I also widened my view on the hardships that some people face and how there are so many things that I can do to help, and something as little as a “hello” can make all the difference to someone.
— Jack Hopkins, Year 12 IB