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Image by trip leader Lauren Cain

Forging Friendships in Fiji

Student explorer Katie K. describes a typical day in our Fijian host village, where she works with the group on a construction project in the morning and weaves friendship bracelets with the local kids in the afternoons.

It’s only halfway through our time in Natokalau, but it feels like we’ve been here for months. Working with the local Fijian men each morning to help construct a bathroom has been an amazing experience, and we’ve all been able to learn new skills, from mixing cement to hammering together the roof of a building. Our individual skills vary, but we make a great team because we always try to help each other. Surprisingly, even after a long morning of heavy labor, we still have energy to spend time with the kids in the afternoon!

The kids often come back from school at 4:00 PM. We usually go down to the beach with them and swim around in the cold, refreshing water. Yesterday, we visited the famous Blowhole, a spot where water shoots upward from a cave and high into the air. We had a wonderful time swimming through the waves as they crashed onto the sand!

Image by trip leader Lauren Cain

I’ve also been teaching the kids in Natokalau to make friendship bracelets, as part of my individual project. The younger children typically end up cutting the pieces of string we’re using, but some of the older ones have developed quite a knack for it and have started teaching the other children while I work with the younger kids to make sure they don’t cut up the string.

One of the most popular colors among the kids is yellow; at the end of our first bracelet making class, barely any yellow string was left over! The kids also seem to enjoy making the Chinese staircase bracelet, and hopefully they can move on to some of the harder styles soon.

Overall, we are really enjoying our time in Natokalau. We know it’s going to be very hard to leave, and we will always remember this place.