At two in the afternoon we boarded the small passenger boat to go to land. Jaeden, Alyssa,Dailin and Orin were all off on a beginner dive and Norm was taking a more advanced dive. I only had the little ones with me and Teyauna brought all her swimming clothes and snorkel in hopes of time at the beach. I tried to explain that we were going to visit a school and meet some local kids and we may not have time but she was persistent.
Warm sea water splashed our feet as we disembarked the glass bottom boat. Hoping onto shore I could hear voices in the wind. Before long we were walking along a little sandy path leading to a village school right on the waters’ edge. Fijian kids aged 5-14 were busy running back and forth waving and calling happy “Bula’s” to us. They boldly welcomed us to their little wood and tin school house and seated us on benches or mismatched chairs. Only about 25 of us were there and although it was a National Holiday these sweet kids had come to school today only to perform for us.
I counted about 20 kids in all as they lined up putting the little ones in the front and the older ones behind. Two teachers were there and one of them grabbed a water bottle to use as a drum. After a big welcome they opened their mouths to sing. We were instantly silenced from whispering. This little group sounded like a huge church choir of grownups. Teyauna dropped her jaw and asked how they could sing so loud and pretty at the same time. They sang songs and hymns and their national anthem and finally a farewell song. We were all touched.
Before long we were invited to donate funds to help pay for their school fees which are hard for most families to afford. It was nice to do something small that could have a big impact on the lives of these beautiful children. After being shown around the school the kids told us how each of them have different responsibilities. Grace is five and she helps weed and till the school vegetable garden each morning.
Alandi rakes the school driveway and her mates clean bathrooms.
Teyauna was shown the library of donated books by a little girl her size and I soon found them lost in a story about bears and castles.
All too soon we had to say “moda” or goodbyes and Teyauna had truly forgotten all about her hopes about going swimming. She was still wistfully waving at her new friends as we walked back down to beach to our boat. Seated in the boat she was filled with questions and wonder as she chattered on about the happy kids she had spent the afternoon with.