- Group:Girlguiding Anglia
- Age:17-18 years old
- Group Size:8 Guides and 3 Leaders
- Project:Care & Community
- Destination:Nadi, Fiji
Following on from their previous trips to Nepal in 2014, Cambodia in 2015 and Costa Rica in 2016, Girlguiding Anglia were ready to embark on their next volunteering trip, this time to join a Care & Community project Nadi, Fiji.
After two years of hard work and fundraising, eight guides and three leaders travelled to Nadi, Fiji in August to carry out three week’s volunteering work.
What they did
The guides worked at the Natalau Kindergarten, in the Natalau village. During the first week the volunteers played lots of games and taught the children lots of songs, in the afternoons they painted the outside of the Kindergarten as well as creating a path. After doing the base coats they also painted a quote along the front of the building "learning is not a race but a journey to be enjoyed" this was chosen by the Kindi teacher Var. The second full week in the village was spent running a holiday club for both the kindergarten children and those up to 16, as well as painting the bus stop which they had sponsored in lots of bright colours and finished it off with a spattered paint effect. The bus stop keeps the children dry while they wait for the bus home and the new path built by the guides keeps their shoes and kindergarten clean.
Aside from working at the kindergarten, the group also got to spend their evenings and weekends doing varied activities in the beautiful surrounding areas. These included visiting the mud baths and the gardens of the sleeping giants where there were lots of native plants and flowers including lots of species of orchid.
On one afternoon the guides visited one of the public schools so that they could meet over 100 Fijian Girl Guides and teach them some of our songs and games. The group were also able to explore various sites of cultural interest such as cannibal caves and their unused villages. They tried the traditional lovo, which is where they cook chicken and potatoes underground for long periods of time, and rode bareback along the beach. On their last weekend they visited Momi Bay, to see the King and Queen Guns.
In order for the project to take place, the guides had to fundraise. It’s safe to say that they had got their fundraising strategy down to a fine art that saw the entire group getting involved in a huge variety of events in the many months leading up to the trip. Fundraising included making t-shirts for different guiding events such as the Big Gig and unit camps as well as holding numerous race, bingo and quiz nights. On their final meet up before the trip they worked as a group to bag pack for the shoppers at a supermarket.
The group also got to Visit Singapore on their way to Fiji and the USA on the way back. In Singapore they spent time learning about the culture and history at the National Museum of Singapore and visiting the famous Raffles Hotel. In the USA they visited the Hollywood, went on a sightseeing bus tour taking them to Santa Monica pier, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills and visited lots of famous locations where films had been shot, before flying home.
“So after two years of fundraising, preparation and worries around the trip and a month of making friends, changing lives and exploring completely different cultures and travelling round the world, our trip was over and we arrived back in England. It was a trip of a lifetime and that is not an exaggeration! I loved it so much and would do the trip all over again and again for the rest of my life if I could but unfortunately I can’t but I know that I will have my hand print and a second family on the other side of the world waiting for me to return and I will be back”.
“Not only did we learn a lot about the cultures and differences in ways of life, but I genuinely believe we all developed as people through this character building experience. While being away for a month we took hikes, saw landmarks, taught children, ate new foods, learnt new songs, made new international friends and I could confidently call it the most exciting month of my life. It felt so rewarding knowing we made a difference in Natalau, a village where everyone was so welcoming to us. We painted and helped construct a new village bus-stop, painted the kindergarten and their playground, each taught a lesson during term time at the nursery and ran the whole of holiday school for children aged 3-17. Although pushing us out of our comfort zones regularly, I know all of us valued this trip as one of the best experiences of our lives.”
“I had an incredible experience so unique and unlike anything I had ever done before. I will remember the friends I made and the amazing culture for a long time to come. Having had this amazing experience I can also imagine one day leading an international trip myself as I want to be able to give other Guides the opportunity to do something as amazing.”
Girl guiding Anglia has worked successfully alongside Projects Abroad since 2014 and will continue to do so – this year’s project is planned to take place in Ghana.
Please click on the dates if you would like to read more about Girl guiding Anglia’s previous trips to Nepal in 2014, Cambodia in 2015 and Costa Rica in 2016. If you would like to learn more about Care & Community in Fiji then please click here.