This travelpod entry kindly sponsored by colgate!
Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
102Trip End Ongoing
Just 15 minutes down the road we pulled up to a local school. Usually Fiji Experience take their groups to another school, but for some reason weren't able today, so instead took us to a school that had never been visited by foreign tourists before.
Because of this we had one of our most amazing experiences since leaving England. As soon as we stepped off the bus we were mobbed by hundreds of excited, inquisitive children, all eager to see the white people. I felt like a celebrity visiting an African country for Comic Relief. You should have seen their eyes light up when we pulled out our camera's
We were taken, hand in hand again, through their very basic classrooms. It was here we were taught the Fijian names for some of the animals on the island. Apparently when the English came, they brought animals with them, but the Fijians had the problem of not having names for them. A problem easy resolved, they just called the horse a horsey, the sheep's sheepy and the goats, nope not goatsy , just simply baaa! Brilliant!
It wasn't long before all the kids suddenly left the classrooms all clutching what seemed to be a coke bottle filled with water. Everyone looked confused so followed inquisitively. It was here we were all shocked to see them all cleaning their teeth, a thing they do after lunch everyday. Each water bottle held its owners toothbrush with they would all use to keep their pearly whites shining! It was here i took my favorite photograph of the trip so far. The different look on all their faces is just brilliant!
I really didn't think that i'd enjoy this visit as much as i did, its not a secret how much i hate kids, but this was different. The kids weren't little Hitler's that most English kids are these days, just really friendly and considerate. They were educated with next to nothing and most would walk miles everyday to get taught. It was a real eye opener for all of us and we could see why the teachers were so grateful when we donated pens and pencils bought at the markets earlier. We were actually told that if any of us had any teaching experience that they would be happy to let us stay and help the kids. Although there wasn't any teachers on board, you could tell that a lot of people would have been interested.
All good things have to come to an end though so we all jumped back on saying goodbye to our new friends that had latched onto us! Some people even swapping addresses so they could become pen pals.
If visiting a Fijian village to drink Kava and a school to meet hundreds of screaming kids wasn't enough, Fiji Experience had one more thing up their sleeve, a mere Bilibili (bamboo) raft race down the Wainibuka River. Standing up on a raft made out of 4 bamboo shoots wasn't the easiest thing i've done before, but somehow I managed to stand up the whole way, taking great pride to see that i was the only dry person left at the end, and we won! No its not quite in the same league as the Americas Cup, but we were happy to win the National Fiji Experience Bilibili raft race 2004!
You couldn't really finish a day like today any better than finishing it on a tropical island that could have been the setting for the Bounty adverts from years ago! So thats what we did, although our planned overnight stay lasted a bit longer than we actually anticipated...