Fiji Immersion Trip
Twenty-seven senior St Clare’s College students dedicated 10 days of their holidays to immerse themselves in Fijian life. Their days were spent building foundations of a community hall extension, painting, playing with children from the villages, preparing meals for women and children, and learning more about the culture of Fiji.
St Clare’s embarked on their second visit to the Highland village of Nausori. The group was warmly welcomed by the 300 plus Highland villagers. The community went out of their way to not only accommodate and feed them but also honoured their request to work on a project together that would benefit the entire community. The result was the group laid the foundations of the extension to the community hall and the dedication to the task over three days was truly appreciated. It was during an emotional farewell ceremony the Chief and elders of the village recognised the hard work and efforts of the group and name the Community Hall after St Clare’s.
The students also ran a kids club for the children of the village. The group took the opportunity to teach them new skills in PE-based games and drama activities. Along with art and craft activities that gave them the opportunity to create paddle pop planes and paint the wooden cars the students had made before leaving Australia. All these activities are not part of the Fijian curriculum, so it was a joy to see how much they gained from each new experience.
The group continued to be involved in many service projects. They painted another community Hall in Natolda Village. Interestingly the only paint available to them was sky blue and maroon, yet another sign that St Clare’s College is forever a part of these Fijian communities. The students prepared meals under the guidance of Shalini who showed them how to make enough nutritious food for 55 women and children living at Navaki Hart House. This low-cost housing community provides much needed support for women who are divorced, widowed, without family, orphaned and/or elderly (the oldest being 92). The impromptu games of rugby, duck duck goose, singing and dancing highlighted to our students that small contributions truly make a huge difference in the lives of those in need.
During their stay, they celebrated Mass with the community of St Michaels’s and enjoyed morning tea and an impromptu singalong. They shopped in Nadi, learned to make flower garlands with women at a local market, they swam and hiked the Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji’s only National Park). They practiced our Fijian, tasted traditional dishes, were welcomed and farewelled with kava and song and became the adopted daughters of their Highland families.
Each experience offered them a new perspective of Fijian life enabling the girls to really immerse themselves in Fijian culture. The students realised that working together as a team can really make a difference in impacting the lives of others.