Treasure House ~ Hopeful 5th Week

Bula Gang,

An exciting and hopeful 5th week, there were a lot of visitors who were very generous with donations. One family donated 4+ massive boxes, the husband is Fijian Indian and his wife is Australian, they reside in Australia now and it’s so nice they still think of those that need their help back in Fiji.

Another visitor from Australia came especially to see the 8 year old twin girls. He and his wife are going through the process of adopting these two girls. He gave them new dresses, school shoes, school bags, amongst a lot of other goodies and also for the other children in the house. I love hearing that children have been either adopted or able to return to their families. All going ahead, they’ll be living in Melbourne and I just thought how great that will be, open to a big world and a culturally diverse city. Although, they may take a while to get used to the forever changing climate, I know I do and I’m from Canberra haha!

There were more testing times during toilet training! I had to bath and change one of the 2 year olds Jacob twice in 20 mins! It’s so hard 6 toddlers undergoing toilet training and accidents are imminent, I feel sorry for the laundry lady! However, that wasn’t the worst of it… I thought to myself, I don’t think anyone gave Caleb chocolate so why is it melted on his fingers… OMG, it’s POO! He has developed a habit of pooing his nappy and touching it. I was holding Daphane so I couldn’t attend to him but I alerted the staff pretty well and they acted swiftly before he could touch anything or anyone! He has done that twice now that I know of.

I remembered a trick my Nan Harvey said she used to do with my Dad and had him toilet trained by 9 months old! I’ve never heard a baby trained so young so I’m not sure if the truth is somewhat stretched haha? Anyway, she said to make the baby wee you blow air into their face while they’re on the toilet, I’m not sure if it worked but I will try again with this method haha, maybe sometimes wives tales work?

We are being strict with Daphane’s mobility effort, haha I’m used to talking about mobility in an IT sense but a little girl’s mobility is much more interesting! We have noticed when she’s standing against the couch she doesn’t necessarily take a step but she manages to shuffle gradually from one end to another. She’s curious to see what the other children are doing and is laughing a lot more. She is also putting her hand out for me to do “round and round the garden like a teddy bear”, as the toddlers do. She may not be able to communicate vocally but she seems to understand quite a lot. When she feels like walking she does very well and even laughs and smiles, however walking is very much on her terms. We are seeing small results every day, that’s the main thing.

I had a really good cuddle with baby Joel, he was awake as well and pulling lots of funny faces. I have noticed he has dimples when he (sort of) smiles, they are the cutest and I can’t wait until he’s smiling properly! He liked his chin being lightly tickled with my fingernail and his cheeks which are a lil chubby hehe. Later in the day he made another appearance but he was mainly asleep, I got to put him back to bed and he looked so peaceful and didn’t stir at all, bless his little heart.

Some of the older girls have asked me about showing them some of my music as they aren’t allowed to listen to chart music. They are 12-14 and haven’t heard of the likes of One Direction. They have heard of Beyonce but don’t know any of her songs, saddens me! I spoke to the supervisor, unfortunately music even without swearing isn’t allowed but I can show my pics. I respect and understand this is a Christian house and these are children and they are trying to protect them. Although at 14 when Destiny’s Child came out with “Independent Woman”, I believe that played a part in how I wanted to live my life haha!

They did enjoy looking at some of my recent Europe photos but hadn’t heard of most of the countries. They would like me to bring in some more pics. Some of them said they wanted to travel when they’re grown up and asked if it was hard… I didn’t want to discourage them since they are children and should be able to dream, so I just said if you study hard, do well in school and take every opportunity which comes your way, the world is what you make it.

I’ll leave it on that positive piece of advice!

Vinaka vakalevu,

Loloma levu xox

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1 Month at Treasure House

Bula Gang!

It’s been a month since I began volunteering at the Treasure House! I adore these kids, there were only 2 toddlers who were a bit standoff-ish but have now come around. One little girl Gloria, her speech is great for a 2 year old, she pronounces her words clearly and her sentences make sense. I was pushing her on the swing and she was clearly singing this song she learnt at church, so cute! In the mornings she says “Bula Alice” and comes to give me a hug, so cute when they run up and cuddle your knees, although all my clothes or legs depending what I’m wearing end up with dribble and sometimes food if they’ve just had their snacks haha. Caleb used to play up a lot with me, he’s got a lot of energy and I think sometimes he plays up because he’s bored, the toddlers hardly ever get to leave the house, only for church on Sundays. Anyway, he’s become a lot better behaved, still cheeky but he does listen more now and wants to be played with just like the other toddlers and become very cuddly yay!

Little Moses has now fallen asleep on my lap twice after his snacks in the morning. He generally sits on his chair next to me and puts his head on my lap and nods off! Today he was standing, put his head on my lap and fell asleep while standing there, I didn’t realise until I looked down! I carried him to his room and he only slightly woke up when I picked him up, melts my heart!

Daphane had a visit from the physiotherapist which was very interesting. 2 months ago she was taking a few steps by herself but unfortunately she came down with the Chicken-Pox and she had bed rest for 2 weeks, so she lost all the skills that she had learnt. We’re back at square 1 but we have some new techniques which should improve her posture, balance and in time walking on her own. It’s getting hard since she’s 4 and getting heavy, if she doesn’t learn now it will only get harder for her and everyone involved. We were walking with her holding her hands up but now we are supposed to hold her shoulder so she’s not looking at the ground or slouching. She can stand against a wall and at any opportunity she should be doing this to build her strength and balance. I hope she can at least take a few steps before Christmas, so I can see.

Sritty who has been with Treasure House for about 4-5 months, previously could only speak Hindi but we have noticed in the last 2 weeks her English is coming along very well. She can quite clearly say Alice, come, sit down, stand up, no, yes, again, me and of course bula, hi 5 and bye. Love seeing progress with all the children!

An end to another fabulous week. Happy Friday!

Vinaka Vakalevu

Loloma Levu xx

Treasure House ~ Week 3 / Diwali

Bula Gang!

I can’t believe how quickly time is going as I’m now in my 3rd week at the Treasure House. I love getting in there just as they’re sitting at the table waiting for their morning snacks with their huge smiles, hello’s, bula’s and mummy! Sometimes when they are more interested in playing or attention seeking, we are forced to spoon feed them. They can do it themselves but to make sure they are eating and it’s not all going on the floor or in someone else’s bowl, we help them. Moses and Sritty are still quite underweight, so making sure they are eating their full meals is important so they can catch up.

Last Thursday was the Indian festival of lights Diwali. In Fiji this is a public holiday so all the kids were at home for the festivities. It was so nice to see the kids had quite a few visits for Diwali and HEAPS of sweets to enjoy. People even bought things for the staff to eat, so delicious but definitely not for anyone who doesn’t have a sweet tooth! Fireworks are even going off during the day and that excited the kids, although the toddlers didn’t understand why they could hear the fireworks but not see them like in the night time hehe.

In the afternoon all the children were enjoying the day outside. I was pushing the toddlers on the swings and the older children were learning how to ride their new bikes. I also helped some of them with the first push, it is hard work teaching someone to ride 2 wheels. The younger ones got the hang of it quicker than the older ones, maybe because they are more agile and think about falling off less…

On Friday I got to feed and nurse the month old baby Joel, he’s growing quickly and looks very healthy and content for someone who was separated from his mum after 2 days of living. As he was happily drinking away, I was faced with another bodily fluid to clean up, this time it was spew, projectile style, it was only milk though so not too much of a big deal, although he managed to get it all over himself, a bit on me and the couch. He didn’t even cry and went to back to doing what he does best, sleep!

Unit next week 🙂

Vinaka Vakalevu,

Loloma levu x

Fresh Fijian Food – Kokoda

Bula!

I’ve been in Fiji living for nearly a month now and have been meaning to write my first post! It’s taken a cool and cloudy day for me to start and yes, surprisingly Fiji can be a little fresh at times, not just the food! There has been a welcomed arrival of cooler weather and rain since it has reached drought status for 4+ months.

We all know when the topic gets onto weather, the conversation is taking a downward turn, so I’ll change the subject fast kind (islander slang for quickly)!

Since it’s a fresh kind of day, I’ll talk about the food Fijian traditional cuisine! Kokoda (pronounced: Kokonda) is a dish where the fish is marinated in lemon & vinegar for a few hours. Then coriander, chili, coconut milk, tomato and cucumber is added to the fish. It is also served with casava, which is a root crop similar to a potato. As you can probably imagine, coconuts are used in basically every meal here. When I moved into my apartment (semi furnished) there was a wooden board with a metal fork-like scraper which I had no idea what its use was, until I had Kokoda cooked for me by a local Chef.

Kokoda is an important dish which is served at special occasions, such as weddings. Strongest flavours being coconut and lemon, giving the fresh cool feeling and then a kick of chili, just fabulous. The fish is cut up into little cubes and the texture is soft. Perfect for those with sensitive teeth, false teeth or no teeth at all haha!  One of my best friends back at home missed the “teenage braises boat”, so she’s in her 20’s suffering and watching what she eats in fear of her braises breaking, Kokoda would be perfect for her and anyone else in this condition! hehe

I hope you enjoy the pics & post! 🙂

Vinaka vakalevu, (thank you very much)

Loloma levu (much love)

Fijian name Sakalo

Fijian name Sakalo

Root crop similar to a potato

Root crop similar to a potato

Coconut scraping in action

Coconut scraping in action

My turn, it's harder than it looks :P

My turn, it’s harder than it looks 😛

Once all the milk is squeezed out, you throw away the coconut shavings.

Once all the milk is squeezed out, you throw away the coconut shavings.

The traditional Fijian dish Kokoda, which is considered a starter at d

The traditional Fijian dish Kokoda with Casava