Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The heavy mist that covers the skies, let our roosters sleep in and we were allowed an extra hour of sleep. Once again Leanne provided a wonderful breakfast of waffles and fruit cocktail.Still missing the normal brilliant sunshine we headed off for our assignments. Paul, Connie and Anne went to Apii Takitumi where Anne and Paul continued to work on getting the library in shape. Today instead of just cleaning and shelving they reorganized the shelves in order for more books to be shelved in order. Connie continued with her work to evaluate the systems in place. She also spent time with the 2nd grade class. They sang songs and she asked them questions. We were rewarded when Engia Pate (Principal) gave us delicious pancakes and many types of fruit for our break. All the teachers sang Happy Birthday to Paul.AtSt. Joseph’s school Ardys taught pre-school for the first half of the morning. She had help and the experience was good. Both Ardys and Dot tutored children. Dot taught a class in geography and map reading which was very successful. The sun continued to hide all day and around 4PM the rain began. We were treated to another wonderful dinner of quiche, salad and pasta. The rain continued to pour and it was actually cool. Some of us even donned sweaters.

- Anne

Monday, January 30, 2012

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” Albert Einstein

No glorious sun greets me this morning but heavy clouds, the turquoise seas have turned grey and the palm trees are having a hard time swaying with their heavy loads. After a relaxed weekend the team is all ready to go to school.A nice breakfast was enjoyed by all and off we went to our respective schools. Ardys and Dot to St. Joseph’s. Connie, Anne and Paul to Takitumu School We had a pleasant day familiarizing ourselves with the routine in the schools.As we strive to better serve these communities we welcomed new ideas, new approaches and hope for new partnerships. The school day was over too quickly and we all somehow got back to KiiKii to take a refreshing swim in the pool or just relax as the waves gently rolled in under our windows.Sam delivered a delicious spaghetti bolognaise dinner served with a salad and garlic bread.After eating and chatting got a while, Ardys got on the internet to catch up with her mail. Anne was busy reading news and weather reports. Paul walked to the library whilst Dot and myself retired to our rooms. Settling in to enjoy the second week of the program as another day in paradise comes to an end.

- Connie

Sunday, January 29, 2012

We each attended the Church service of choice and found the services worshipful and the music impressive. The voices particularly the men’s just reverberated against the walls. We 1st timers found Cook Islanders very hospitable. Connie enjoyed seeing old acquaintances.The afternoon and evening were quiet and relaxing. We have had a much needed relaxed and enjoyable weekend.

- Ardys

Saturday, January 28, 2012

On Saturday morning the market called. Local arts and crafts, food, music and dance made for a very enjoyable experience. It was great to watch friends greeting friends and the young children dancing in fully adorned island attire. Ardys enjoyed the beat of the drums.We arrived back at the KiiKii hot and tired. But by 5PM (an hour early) when our “limo” arrived we were refreshed. We were taken to the Edgewater for the Polynesian Cook Island Buffet. It was delicious...especially the desserts. The music and dance that followed was an outstanding display of cultural talent. The drummers and dancers kept us spellbound, especially as we watched Samantha Puati dance and a three year old drummer boy who never missed a beat.

- Ardys

Friday, January 27, 2012

: We seek a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled. Quaker Proverb

The day began in the usual way with a beautiful sunrise, the thundering surf and a delicious breakfast prepared by Leanne. Then we were off to work. Paul and Connie spent the day at the Apii Takitumu assisting Principal Engia Pate. Paul acted as gardener and trimmed vegetation around the buildings all morning. The workday was shortened for a special graduation ceremony for all Island graduates. Connie was pleased to go and watch friends she has taught be honored.Ardys and Dot were with Sister Celine at the school of St. Joseph. They cleaned more of the library , two classrooms and raked the Pre-school yard. It was hot work but the breaks were sufficient and the teachers friendly. New students were registering during all day.Anne spent the day with Sister Margaret working on a grant she was preparing. She is requesting UNESCO provide funding to replace a roof and rehabilitate a building to be used as a classroom for the prison.On the way home Anne enjoyed a swim in the beautiful Pacific by the “Fruits of Rarotonga.” In the evening James and Debi accompanied us to the Aquarius restaurant for a wonderful fish dinner. Once again the food was very flavorful and the atmosphere calming.

- Anne

Thursday, January 26, 2012

“Your greatness is not what you have, it is what you give.” African Proverb.

We were surprised that we had not been awakened by any showers during the night. Our trusty Rooster friends were happy to oblige in lieu of rain. After another wonderful breakfast of Crepes and fruit prepared by Leanne, the crew left for their assignments.Anne and Ardys went to the Creative Center a day program for developmentally and physically disabled adults where we were introduced to the staff director Bob and women and men who take care of the 16 clients that are observed there daily. Ardys met with Annie who is in charge of the new program “meals on wheels” to make recommendations and offer assistance. Anne met with other members of the staff to assess their needs and to offer ideas. This center is woefully under resourced with the type and number of clients and diagnoses. Ardys also had time to go to the ceremony where Debi Puati became a permanent resident of the Cook Islands. The ceremony was very impressive and the beautiful. Apparently the articles in the paper have stirred many residents to seek their certification as the Minister mentioned he received many applications. Paul went back to the Takituma Conservation Area and worked with Ian to remove vegetation and clear trails.Dot and Connie were planning on continuing their work with the journals for Sister Margaret. They were called by James and they went instead to the Apil Takitumu School. They worked cleaning and organizing the library.Dinner was another wonderful meal, Curry and Rice prepared by Sam.

- Anne

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Together we can make a difference."

TheCookIslanddawn came with a brief tropical downpour, followed by a beautiful rainbow framed by coconut palms.Following Leanne’s great breakast Ardys shared the thought for the day and shared Tuesday’s journal.Connie and Dot stayed at Vaka 125 to create teaching material to be used in Sister Margaret’s after school program. They read numerous children’s books and then developed questions to test the student’s comprehension. James took Anne and Ardys to St. Joesph’s School where they repaired books and organized the book shelves in the library.Paul again bused to the Takitumu Conservation Area and worked with Ian and John removing vegetation which is constantly encroaching the roads and trails. The day ended with a lovely picnic on the beach near Black Rock. James and Debi brought excellent Chinese dishes which were enjoyed by everyone.

- Paul

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“Put your shoot in the ground in 3-4 months you’ll have breakfast.”

The day began before it was light with two hard , brief showers followed by a third just before breakfast. Team members experienced one, two or three more showers depending on where on the island they were. So goes the rainy season on Rarotonga.After a breakfast of fruit and french toast the team had a 7:30AM meeting with James to make final plans for the days assignments. By 8:30AM everyone had headed out of the first day of on-site work. Paul went to the Takitumu Conservation area to help Ian Karika clear trails. It was hot, dirty work, but he was rewarded by learning much from Ian about the natural history of Rarotongaand hearing the call of the endangered Rarotongan Flycatcher.Connie and Anne joined Sister Margaret O’Dwyer at St. Pauls Tikioki Home Work center on the task of cleaning and organizing shelves and sorting the teaching materials. They were impressed by the dedication of Sister Margaret to her work with the children and her prison work.Ardys and Dot had an interesting ride to the Are Pa Metria, Elder Respite Care. Moeroa manager of the center took them along on back roads and farther back to pick up the senior citizens who would spend most of the day at the center. These Mamas and one Papa shared a lot of information to Ardys and Dot.Late afternoon the team joined Debi for a short trip to the CookIslandMuseum.Sam prepared and served another delicious dinner.After dinner team members shared high points of the day and received their work assignments for Wednesday.

- Dot

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ko to’ou rourou,Ko toku rourou ka ora te iti tangata! Your basket and my basket will feed the nation!!!

Humidity hangs in the air...and aqua marine sea glints in the sunshine..four warriors arrive at KiiKii to join Connie on a mission to make a difference through service. After a nice breakfast prepared by Leanne, Pauline and Harry we got down to business. James opened the orientation meeting, greeted and thanked us all for being here. After introductions , we had some housekeeping announcements and a brief discussion about work assignments. When we broke up for the morning some had a rest, went into town, walked to Super Brown’s Corner store and before we knew it we were back in the Vaka Lounge for our afternoon session of Orientation Part 2. Personal and group goals were discussed and listed in order, characteristics of an effective team were duly noted and a Cook Island Maori Language class closed the afternoon session. We shared a lovely meal of local dishes cooked by Sam Puati during which we talked about food and nothing at all. I could see some volunteers fading as they fought to keep their eyes open, so it was time to call it a day...looking forward to being part of Vaka 125 and cannot wait to see the children in the schools.

- Connie