Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Spring into Service" in the Cook Islands!!

“Spring into Service” with Global Volunteers to receive a special limited discount offer for our March and April teams!

Four or more volunteers who apply by January 31 for any of these 28 teams in 16 countries will receive a discount of $200 off our standard service program fee, per volunteer, for one-, two- or three-week international programs or $100 off our standard service program fee, per volunteer, for USA programs. No other discounts apply.

Please encourage others to volunteer in our five fundamental project areas: education (especially promotion of girls education), labor and community infrastructure, health care, child care, and food and nutrition.

Call us at 800-487-1074 for details and we'll assist you every step of the way. Our worldwide host communities can’t wait to welcome you!!

Check out this link for more details & service program dates: http://globalvolunteer.org/special/springspecial.asp

Cook Islands Service Program Dates, March & April Team:
21-Mar-11 to 9-Apr-11

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vote for Global Volunteers!

From November 15 - November 21 the Star Tribune newspaper is holding a contest entitled 'Full Page Project' amongst MN non-profits and the winner will receive a free full page ad in the paper!

Please vote for us this week ~ you can vote once per hour!

Here is the link where you can register and then vote for Global Volunteers (please copy and paste the link): http://startribune.upickem.net/engine/Registration.aspx?contestid=22815

We would also encourage you to pass this link along to your family and friends, and post it on your personal Facebook page. Let us know if you have any questions, and remember voting goes until 5 p.m. Sunday!

Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Final Days of Service... Wrapping Up!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Message of the Day from Karen: An ei is worth a thousand words.

Journal Writer – Vernice Jackson

Well, here we are, the self-proclaimed “magnificent seven” in various stages of wrapping up our projects and checking off the last of our “bucket list” items before we jet off to various North American destinations.

Bill makes a few more tweaks in preparation for his final second grade science activity. His fingers are crossed for favorable weather for his rubber match with his local island tennis rival. We predict a victory in his future.

Rachael has not only made herself indispensable with the students at her school (candy serves as great inspirational tool) but with the principal and teachers as well. Now she can add yet another skill to her impressive resume, designing Parents Day Programmes and Christmas holiday cards to send out to the parents. Rachael and I admire David for getting that impressive tattoo but have decided that our courage level will only take us to making a temporary commitment. Friday is our big day for ink decorations.

Karen took a break from listening to yet another student reading “What Is a Reptile?” to share insights on policy and planning with a representative at the office of the Prime Minister. We hope she slipped in a proposal that declares next October Global Volunteer’s Month, inviting all of us back to the island (all expenses paid) to celebrate all our many contributions. One can only dream! And Karen, there is still time for you to complete your inner road journey. Pa would be so proud.

After four weeks on the island, Cathy has declared herself to no longer be a tourist. She is now a semi-local. Take it from me, she studies the island map every night. Just ask her where and when to catch the bus…and don’t look to the local weather man for an accurate reading, our girl is calling the temperatures “spot on”. Except Tuesday’s early morning down pour threw her off a bit. We all abandoned our plans for an afternoon beach trip, thinking that the skies would remain gray all day. Well, you can’t win them all.

Now that Cathy and Dave have achieved the mastery level at responding to their student’s white flags (no that’s the sign for help, not surrender) they are ready to move on to bigger challenges. We believe that their teacher reserves responding to the blue flags as a means of job security.

Dave is itching for two reasons; first, for yet another opportunity to demonstrate his newly acquired snorkeling skills. Whoever said learning is for the young, didn’t know our Dave. His second itch, to get some relief from those blasted mosquitoes that think he is a “walking buffet.”

And then there is our David, continuing to enjoy the “sameness” (his words, not mine) of his Cook Island experience. But we know that he is secretly regretting not being able to see the “Sevens” due to his throbbing leg. Put some Windex on it….that can cure anything.

As for me, I am still looking forward to presenting my creative story activity to the eight year olds. Cartoons made me a distant second as a substitute teacher. Maybe, tomorrow.

Lately dinners in the Vaka lounge have ended with milk and cookies and long conversations on a wide variety of topics. What haven’t we talked about? We have pondered the translations of our school’s names, explored the ethnic backgrounds that produce the wide range of features of the Cook Island population, and shared opinions on who are the best and worst actors, divulged interesting facts about ourselves that won’t be repeated in this journal!

So here we are, the magnificent seven, making the most of our last days on the island, appreciating every moment of our self-fulfilling experience….believing that in some small way, we have made a difference.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday, Nov 2: Week Two in the Cook Islands

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Message of the Day from Bill: Start where you are – Use what you have – Do what you can… -Arthur Ashe

Journal Writer: Gevenie Delsol

We started a sunny day (second in a row) with our normal breakfast and meeting.

Karen, Rachael and I loaded up my trusty car – who I have name “Coconut”. We set off for our lovely school, Takitumu. Our day at Takitumu is not very stressful. Our 4th and 5th grade readers come to us for a half hour of reading each. I have one little boy who finally came back to school today after two days out. I asked him if he had been sick but he said “No – I just overslept.” Today at lunch we ate with all of the teachers and the principal (which is our normal pattern).

Today we were asked to vote on the color of material that they are going to use to make dresses for all of the teachers for the big end of term celebration in December. The choice was between orange and blue. The final decision was to use both colors in a sort of stripe pattern. They will all look like tropical fish. One flaw with the material is that it is semi-transparent, so the principal asked if I would send them all thongs with little hearts to wear under their new dresses. So I have orders for 10 thongs (5 extra large)!

At another school – Vernice was presenting a much more educational moment. She prepared and acted the story of Harriet Tubman for her 4th and 5th grade students. It was a huge success and she has been asked to present it to the entire school. This afternoon we went to the museum and then to the island dancing practice. There were some amazing dancing skills demonstrated by the Global Volunteers. Don has signed a contract and will be performing at Island Night at the Edgewater. For the rest of you – blackmail photos will be available on Facebook.

We came back to the Kii Kii Motel for another great dinner provided by Rosie.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First Work Day on Rarotonga!!

Date: 27 October 2010

Message: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” (Anne Pilmonas)
Journal Entry: 25 October

Name of Writer: Nancy Logan

Monday – October 25, 2010 – Day One Workday

James took us to the various work projects on the island, and introduced us to the principals and administrators. Gevenie, Rachel and Karen went to the Apii Takitumu Elementary School. Each worked with 6-7 students in reading skills. They were pleased to have time to talk with students about their interests.

Kate, Vernice and Bill reported from the Avatea School where they tested reading skills.

Dave went to Imanuela Akatemia School where he worked with about 20 children ages 6-11 in one classroom. The students read to Dave. Later he helped with math skills.
Janet and I went to Apii Rutaki preschool/elementary school of about 70 students.

We arrived at what we would call morning tea, but here it is lunch time as often the children have not had any breakfast, and were warmly welcomed by the principal. All the children were wearing spotless uniforms. We each worked with 2 students and they read several books to us that they selected from the library. Two could read quite well and the other two needed a great deal of help.

Mike and Dave went to the Tereora College and discovered an all-day Field Day going on, with races and other sports competitions being held. So they didn’t have an opportunity to help with reading and other curriculum areas, today was about helping with the school sports day and getting a feel for the school.

Joe, Anne and Don went to St Joseph’s Elementary School. Don tutored 2nd graders. Ann helped individual students in 1st grade and Joe had 4 4th graders. They worked to improve reading skills and sounding out words.

A completely different type of volunteer work was experienced by Cookie at the Te Vaerua Rehab Center. She reported enthusiastically that she had a fantastic time touring the hospital and visiting people at home. “It was so much fun.”

Monday Evening. We hosted a Kia Orana Dinner. Four of the community partners attended and enjoyed interesting conversation and a delicious dinner.

Menu –
• Curried Octopus - Eke e te akari
• Angry bread - Varaoa karo
• Ika Mata - Raw Fish
• Poke - Banana and arrowroot (tapioca) type relish
• Maniota - Root crop

Monday, October 25, 2010

Vaka 117 October 2010

Date: 25 October 2010

Message: “Together everyone achieves more” (James Puati)

Journal Entry: 22 – 23 – 24 October

Name of Writer: Mike Slade

Arrival Friday from Auckland. Clockwise bus to Muri Beach Sail Club with Cookie, Anne, Kate, Janet. Lovely fish dinner with awesome moon rise over lagoon islands. Night-long concert from resident Kii Kii roosters.

Saturday meeting 14 VAKA 117’s for orientation, then off with James to Punanga Nui Markets for local crafts, food, jewelry, handmade fabrics. I bought some amazing huge bananas which several of us enjoyed. We bought some local cloth, shells and lunch of barbequed lamb and curried chicken which we brought home on the clockwise bus. I admired the shell craft and was invited to tour a crafts factory. People were very friendly.

Back at Kii Kii, Nancy and Joe said the snorkeling was good at Fruits of Rarotonga, so we got our gear and took the bus, had a good time. I saw probably over 100 species of fish, including grouper, moray eel, giant clams, moorish idols and fabulous fish. We were concerned not to miss the bus at 4:18, as it was the last until 6:00 pm and we had a meeting at 5:30. Of course we forgot that the bus did not go past Cook’s Corner. I asked the driver what we could do so we could be on time for the meeting. He said, “We’ll work something out.” And after the bus emptied out, he drove us to Kii Kii, then turned around and went back to town. We will never forget that unexpected act of kindness. The work assignments meeting was followed by a very nice dinner of mahi mahi and broadbill fish by Rosie.

Sunday, a good breakfast and orientation with all 16 team members present. Then many of us went to local church services to experience the music and joy of the members who all thanked us for coming and even made some refreshments for the visitors and explained a bit about the church. It was great to see women dressed in beautiful dresses with fabulous handcrafted hats. Very special, then another snorkel stop, lunch overlooking the lagoon and kite sailors. Then back for second orientation, dinner, work assignments and introduction to Maori language.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Summer 2010 ~ Peace, Justice & Teaching on the Cook Islands!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Inspiring Messages from Vaka 112

Monday, February 1, 2010

Message of the day:

DOOR TO LIFE – composed by Todd Canon

“We spend our lives open and closing doors, really, both literally and figuratively. I’ve always liked the ‘door’ analogy of life – it suggests that we go through life conscious, aware, that there is an element of control in regards to our decisions and their outcomes.

“Unlike the ‘road’ or ‘path’ theory on life, which has suggested to me that we move haphazardly through life, hoping and praying that we’ve actually chosen the right path, the ‘door’ analogy is definitive, concrete:

“We chose to close the doors behind us, we chose to open the doors in front of us. We see the potential opportunities that lie ahead and we can choose. We can watch them from a distance through the open door; we can enter and experience the world in front of us, or we can shut the door and search for another.’’

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Message of the Day Dennis Killeen (Mother Teresa)

The fruit of silence is prayer.

The fruit of prayer is faith.

The fruit of faith is love.

The fruit of love is service.

The fruit of service is Peace.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Volunteers Perspective

Wednesday, August 5th 2009

Today I showed Char around Te Uki Ou School and felt very proud walking around. I am so comfortable there that tomorrow will be a difficult day. Today was my first day back without Iris and it made for a weird day. I expected her gentleness or soft smile throughout the day. My body has adapted to the school routine, morning tea 10-10:30, lunch 12-1 and hop on the bus at 2. The familiar smiling faces of the kids and the beautiful sea background to their playground are scenes that I hope to remember forever. Kids running around barefoot, semmingly without a care in the world. They make me wonder why I worry so much. Today a boy read a story to me about a tadpole that worried so much as he’s undergoing transformations into a frog. Once he became a frog he realized all of his worrying was unnecessary. The night before I came to Rarotonga I cried myself to sleep, worrying and scared I wouldn’t make any friends or have a great time and the first day here I realized how ridiculous that was. As I am growing up to be a big frog the best thing I can do is stay positive and not worry. I have made a major, life altering decision today. I cannot leave this island. I have developed a list of things I can do in order to stay here.
1. Live at the empty, half completed Hilton.
2. Continue to volunteer until broke.
3. Become a consultant to hotels and help their online sites.
4. Bamboozle Nan into letting me stay here
5. Build a bed and breakfast on the sea
6. (Last option) Marry a local fella
Now all these options are just dreams. That is what Rarotonga is to me, a dream that I never want to wake up from. Surely the mountains are too green to be real, the sea too blue and glassy and gorgeous. The people are far too kind and friendly and welcoming they must be plastic. And yet I know I feel more alive here that I ever have before. In some ways I can’t wait to go home and share the love warmth, compassion and kindness I have found here. That way the dream never has to end.
This year has been a difficult one for me. I lost two friends that I’ve basically grown up with. After their deaths I’ve learned to appreciate everyday since it could be your last. I’ve also learned to always appreciate people and learn as much as you can from them. Everybody has something to teach you, its up to you to learn. I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learned from you and wish to take with me on my journey from a tadpole to a frog.
Pat I’d like to take your wisdom along with me. I’d like Doreen’s bubbliness, Rick’s sense of adventure, Iris’s gentleness, Alora’s compassion and Lisa’s incredible kindness to everyone. I’d like to have more dedication that you can see Margaret puts into everything. I’d love to have Karlee’s spunk and Lauren’s awesome strength. I’ll always have Kelli’s laughter and Becca’s ability to ignore any bruises or setbacks she might have. I’d like to have the kind of perseverance Jill has and Wendy’s amazing determination and independence. Most of all I’d like to always remember to build my heart like Char’s as she has a great heart. As we prepare to say goodbye and go our separate ways I know that the memories made here in Rarotonga will last a lifetime.

Kendra Tilbury