Boys' and Girls' School Service Trip Fiji 2019

August 06, 2019 at 2:40 PM

With thanks to Chaplain, Reverend Reuben Hardie

In recent years, the Boys’ School and Girls’ School have undertaken combined trips to Fiji and Vanuatu to give a group of Year 8 boys and girls the opportunity to offer service overseas. During July, twenty students, twenty parents and four staff made the trip to Fiji for the first overseas service venture of the year. Later in the year, a further two groups will travel to Vanuatu.

The group set off at the end of Term 3 to undertake work at Nawaka School, in their community and at a new school, Sabeto District School.

Saint Kentigern has a well-established connection with Nawaka, having now returned there five times, and the latest group to travel were warmly welcomed to the village. Even though it was a new experience for the Sabeto community, it did not take long for this new relationship blossom, helped greatly by the warmth of our students and parents, and their willingness to work hard to complete our projects.

Each year, we grow in ambition in what we want to achieve for the community during our time there. This year, in three and half working days, we opened a new community kitchen in Nawaka, installing ovens, sinks, kitchen benches and painting the floor and walls of the kitchen inside and out. We created a new drinking tap area modelled on an existing area on the fields at the College, and installed a basketball area at Nawaka School at their request.

At Sabeto, we installed a new, large play fort, two outdoor tables and benches, as well as repairing an existing bench and restoring swings in the swing frame. We also repainted the rest of their playground area.

As well as this, we distributed clothes, bras - as part of our Uplift Project, shoes, sports equipment and hygiene packs to both school communities. One of the highlights this year was supplying toothbrushes and toothpaste to all the students at Sabeto – the excitement of the students and teachers will be long remembered as they rejoiced at receiving this practical gift.

As expected, our students were outstanding, whether it was mixing cement, painting, playing sport with the Fijian students or reading in the Year 2 classes. It is these connections and friendships made between our students and the students of Nawaka and Sabeto which really makes these trips so special. This was very evident when we took our students to support the Nawaka rugby teams at their annual rugby tournament. This was a great morning as Nawaka teams won three of the championship finals and our students loved being able to watch and support them as much as their teams enjoyed the extra support!

The trip went exceptionally well and it was great to and to see the strong bond with Nawaka School and Village that has spanned five years continue to grow in strength and to now see a new relationship with Sebeto School begin.

Our grateful thanks to so many in the Saint Kentigern community who donated items for inclusion in the container of goods that was sent to Fiji prior to our arrival. Your contribution helped make a difference to the communities we support and they were truly thankful.

The last word goes to Year 8 student, Sam McLeod, ‘As rewarding as the work was, the smiles on the children’s faces was the most incredible and humbling feeling. These kids have so little, but all it takes is for you to turn up and play with them to make their week. So, for anyone thinking of making such a trip, I would recommend it.  There is a lot of hard work involved and so much fun along the way, but watch out they are very good at rugby!’

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