Today in preparation for the community service aspect of our trip we learned about the basics of Fijian language and a few traditional games. This will allow us to hold basic conversation with the locals that we will be working with, through their language, making a friendlier working environment.
An example of one of the games that we were taught was “Coconut Demo” which is a game similar to Bocce, but using coconuts and logs. We also learned how to throw a traditional Fijian spear, which was a traditional activity of Fijian culture. Not only do these games give us a taste of traditional Fijian culture, but also they show us how similar some aspects of traditional Fijian and American cultures are despite being geographically separated. Even though these were just games, they had a deeper meaning in introducing us to the interconnectivity of our societies.
Once we were finished with the educational part of the day, we continued our exploration of the reefs that lie past the shores of our home base. Even though the weather wasn’t too friendly, we enjoyed the island as if there were clear skies. Fortunately, the clouds cleared up in time to give way for a beautiful sunset.
We concluded the night with a team building exercise after dinner. Each of us took a personality inventory to decide what kind of animal best exemplified us. Each animal signified a different type of personality. I (Kai) was an eagle, which represented someone who is easy to work with, hard working, and will express my opinion when I feel it is important. In contrast to Kai’s animal, I (Rainier) was a buffalo. I expressed the characteristics of a leader, who will get stuff done. I am passionate, opinionated, and direct. Unfortunately I am also overly critical, which is something that I acknowledge and need to work on. If I had not done this personality exercise, I would probably not have decided to take action to improve this trait.
As individuals we feel like these experiences will not only help us when working with the villagers but it will also translate to other aspects of our life. When we go back to school, for example we will now know how to work better as a team and identify what roles we play as a part of the greater whole.
Still excited for what’s next, Kai and Rainier signing off….
-Kai and Rainier