Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Veivatuloa Village School

 We had a chance to meet some Principal's from other schools last week, and many of them wanted us to come and visit their shool.  One man was from a small village about 45 minutes from Suva, so Brother Qaqa (Gan-ga) the principal from the LDS Primary school accompanied us to Veivatuloa (Vay-ee-vah-too-low-a)  village.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  We had to drive about 15 minutes on a dirt/gravel road and we came around a curve and saw a beautiful view of the ocean.  We could see the small village below us right on the shore. 

The picture doesn't show the varied turquoise hues of the water, but we were awe-struck by the sight!
The school was very small, with 5 classrooms + a tiny office.   This is  Principal Qaqa and Saimone, the Villiage School Principal in the school's library.   Brother Qaqa went to a boarding school with the Principal from the village school, but they were in rival dorms, blue dorm and green dorm.  Ironically, the school uniforms for each Principal is the same as the rival dorm from their youth.
 The small library also serves the village.
Every teacher taught 2 grades.  This is the 1st and 2nd grade class.  All the classrooms were set up with 1 grade facing one side of the room and the other grade facing the opposite side. 
Below are the classroom rules for 1st and 2nd grade.

Pick your favorite rule.  We like  #4 & #9.

The entire school, 87 students, grades 1st - 8th waiting for the assembly to start.  They sang beautifully for us. 

Mike wowing the kids with his energy lesson.  He said."The students were easily entertained."  Some watch the lesson others watch the camera.  Here are a couple of questions with the generally called out answer.
Q:  What color are Elder Tait's eyes?
A: White
Q:  What is the baloon made out of?
A: Air
They did answer the questions about potential energy and kinetic energy correctly after the lesson.
Class 1-2 and Principal Qaqa.
Where's Waldo?  No matter how hard you try to assimilate you still look and act like a "pelagi" (pronounced pay-lon-gee) Fijian for "gringo". 

The school bell is a WWII gas cannister that you beat with a metal rod.  It works pretty well bouncing the sound off of the tin roof.

Dinner is served.  Scallops and dalo (a root like a potato only drier and much more starchy and no butter, sour cream, and chives)

A traditional bure (bur-ay) . This reminds Mike of where he lived his last year at BYU.

The Chief's house.  Of course it's the best house in the village.  It looked like the only one that had indoor plumbing.  Most of the homes, have no furniture in the living room, just woven mats on the floor.  Sometimes they had a small chair or two.

This bure had a prime ocean front location.

The ocean view.  You can see part of the fishing fleet. Most of the people here rely on fish and what they can grow for food.  The common recipe is fish cooked in coconut milk.

Everything in the village is community property.  So the village chickens are for eggs or dinner. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Back to School

January 14, 2011.  These are the graduates of our first class.
Front: Iva, Selina, Melissa, Una, Melania, Seresini, Sister Tait
Back:  Viliame, Brother Solomone (Principal), Elder Tait
We felt really good about the principles we taught and modeled.  We gave the teachers a lot of practical applications for their classroom.

The new school year starts here in January.  This is the opening assembly for the LDS Church College, on the first day of school.  School seems to start out very slowly here.  Only about 1/3 of the students were enrolled and present on the first day.  (Three weeks later there are still a lot of students enrolling, but most students are attending school now.)
Elder and Sister Ronnenkamp
  They are the ITEP (International Teacher Education Program) Coordinators for all the church schools in the South Pacific.  The flew in from New Zealand to do a teacher training.  They are great people and we had a good time with them.
The ITEP missionaries in Fiji.  Elder and Sister Checketts, Ronnenkamps, Taits
The students at the LDS Primary School lining up for their assembly.  They are so cute lining up.  They have a routine.  The teacher says, "Attention! Dress! At Ease!"

It has taken me so long to do this post, because I took a video of the Primary School singing the F iji National Anthem and I couldn't get it to upload.  Finally after 6 tries and using different computers Iwas able to uploaded it.
Follow the link.  It is really worth watching.  Everyone stands at attention and sings so loudly.  They are very proud of their country.  Below are the lyrics to the Chorus.  It's sort of hard to understand all of the words in the video.

For Fiji, ever Fiji, let our voices ring with pride,

For Fiji, ever Fiji, her name hail far and wide,

A land of freedom, hope and glory to endure whate'er befall

May God bless Fiji, forevermore! 

Sister Ronnenkamp and Gillian, a sweet girl from Class 2.