An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Elda K. '20

Roosters and Ed Sheeran. That was what I woke up to at around 6:30 a.m. on our third day in the village: a symphony of “cock-a-doodle-doo” and the hit song “Perfect.”  I lifted myself up, pulled the mosquito net off of the bed and made my way to the window to look out at my new favorite view. I was comforted by a newly familiar orange sunrise that laid a blanket over the gorgeous green landscape that surrounds the village.

Outside of my room and in the family gathering area, my Nene (mother) had made breakfast for our family which included a delicious spread of beignet-like “pancakes,” butter, jam, and the lemon tea that we drink at least twice every day. I head into Kathryn’s room to wake her, and we sit down with our mother for a prayer. Realizing that I had finally come out of my room, my 4-year-old little brother, Simi, comes running in with his finger in his mouth and sits between Kathryn and me. Once we finished our breakfast, Kathryn and I headed to our rooms to get ready for another day in our new favorite place.

Our third day in the village could be described as utterly and completely joyful. Our first major group activity was building a shed in the middle of the village. Now for those who know me, I understand that the idea of me handling tools can be pretty concerning, but don’t worry… I was on wheelbarrow duty. I think most of us thought that building a shed would be a task that would take a few days or at least a few hours, but no, it took half an hour. With the power of bamboo sticks, a machete, some metal scraps, and teamwork, we built a shed faster than I can run the mile (just kidding).

Our next activity on the agenda was visiting the kids at the local school. The day prior we had helped them out with some reading then went outside to play. Coming in to the school is always a welcoming feeling as we drive in and the kids chase after us shouting “Bula!” (hello). When I hopped out today, I saw a few faces I recognized and was immediately greeted with hugs. I went over to the kindergarten and year one kids. For approximately 45 minutes I played intense “Up High, Down Low, Too Slow” with the kids. If you ever wonder what pure bliss feels like, imagine looking down at the smiling faces of about ten kids (before they tackle you and decide to play “horsey”). 

Sweaty and pretty exhausted, we drove back to the village, still gleeful from our day with the kids. Kathryn and I went home to enjoy some tea then take a nice cold shower. Later that night, our Nene came to us with two rainbow leis in hand. Suffice it to say, I was excited. She pulled us into the family area, popped on some Fijian music and told us it was time for “danisi.” Sorry to break it to you mom, but my Nene had some serious moves. She told us to bring the leis to the community hall that night for some more “danisi.”

After dinner, we gathered in the back of the community hall and danced the night away as a whole group. The trip leaders tore up the dance floor, the kids got down and my fellow GSL students definitely bonded as we saw each other at our goofiest and most carefree. So far, it’s been smiles and laughs here in Fiji and I look forward to the crow of the roosters every morning.