July 15, 2019
BULA FROM FIJI one final time! We have had an amazing time at Fiji Beachouse and are feeling so grateful for all the friendships and good times that we have all shared together. After we arrived to Beachouse after a day spent on the river, we got cleaned up and grouped back up for another dinner filled with storytelling and a whole lot of laughter, followed by our first chance to have Moonup on the beach in Fiji under the stars, which was awesome. The next day we woke up to an awesome breakfast filled with passion fruit and granola. After getting to relax on the beach for a while, we all piled into the front of a boat that then took us on an hour ride to a remote island in the ocean where we were to spend our day, swimming and relaxing in the sun. The island had something for everybody to do, with James crushing it on the paddle board, Bella conquering the steep hike to the top of the island lookout, and Ally showing off her skills on the volleyball court. Everyone loved hanging out on the top of the boat, jamming to some tunes and catching some rays on the final leg of the trip, with Ava and Margaret loving the music that the boat had on their island playlist. After an awesome island BBQ and even more beach time, we returned back to Fiji Beachouse on the boat and regrouped for dinner after showers and sunset pictures on the beach, followed by another beach Moonup, some intense games of cards, and an early bedtime thanks to the long, activity filled day.
The next morning, we had another fantastic breakfast and made our way to the beach for our surfing lesson, which took place a couple hundred yards right off of the coast of the Beachouse. After practicing for a few minutes on the beach, we rolled out to the breaking waves and jumped in, getting constant pointers from our awesome instructors. Will was a quick learner and absolutely ROCKed, quickly going off on his own and paddling into some great swells. Camille and Fiona decided to take a more creative approach and both attempted to catch a wave while standing on the same surf board, a feat that few have the athletic ability to achieve. After surfing, we headed back to shore for another afternoon filled with laying on the beach, cards, and music. We ate dinner that night and had our Moonup but were reluctant to head to bed, knowing that this was the last night of the trip that we would all be together in Fiji.
The next morning consisted of packing up all of our bags and getting some last minute sun on the beach, as well as some much needed massages before the long flight home. We finally loaded our bags onto the bus and made our way back to Nadi, where we put our belongings into our day rooms and caught a taxi over to the local marina in for our final banquet dinner. After an awesome meal and lots of hilarious conversations, we finally made our way to the airport, where the amount of hugs and tears made it clear to the whole group how awesome of an experience this trip has been for all us and how the relationships that were formed will most definitely last a long time.
These last couple of days have been so awesome and saying goodbye to everyone in the airport was almost impossible. That being said, this group has grown to be so unbelievably close and we had the best time on this trip with them. We absolutely cannot wait to keep in touch with them in the near future and hear all about the crazy adventures each one of them goes on next! Thank you all so much for allowing these kids to be a part of our group in Fiji this summer, we truly can’t describe how different the trip would have been without them!!
Jack and Molly
July 10, 2019
What a trip it has been and we think we can speak for everyone that the last few days in the village have absolutely flown by. This group has formed the closest of bonds and have blown us away by their drive in their service work and also their ability to form relationships with every person they come across here in Fiji. Watching them work so hard and then turn around and have such a good time with the kids in the village was a real picture of all Moondance could want out of a service portion and we couldn’t thank you enough for sending your kids here on this adventure!
We drove to the first village and were greeted with a multitude of welcomes not only by our river guides but also just about every person we passed. The friendliness that we were shown is something that we have all felt impacted by and Margaret wants to take back home with her to the states! That afternoon, after a lunch of sandwiches, fresh fruits, and of course Pringles, we went to the village school up the hill to challenge the eldest in the lower school to a volleyball tournament. We were thankful that Ava, Camille, and Ally had volleyball experience and the others quickly caught on. We were even able to win a few games! The competition was fun but the kids agreed that getting to know the village kids was far more rewarding! After, we ran to the river with all 50 or so school children to cool off and lay in the sun!
The next morning after a massive breakfast full of cereal, fruit, banana bread, scrambled eggs, and toast, the kids rushed out to paint the entirety of the community center in ONE MORNING. The guides were shocked at how quickly it was completed and how diligent we worked. James was labeled the “perfectionist” because he followed to whole group to fill in every spot that needed it. Ava and Fiona snagged the ladder to reach the higher spots and sang songs the whole morning. After finishing the community center and many thanks from the villagers, we prepared for another afternoon of volleyball and river activities!! Bella ran to the river first to play with her new friends and always has a herd of children following her wherever she goes! Ally also ran to the river to hop in a “Billie-Billie” (or a small bamboo boat) with three children she made fast friends with! That evening Camille learned how to make “Roti” (a traditional Fijian tortilla of sorts) which we ate that night for our Mexican themed dinner. We were worn out that night but still managed to play cards and tell stories until we went to sleep!
The next day was a day that traditionally is spent relaxing and at church in the village. After eating breakfast, we were lucky enough to be invited to one of the three church services that were held that day, where the priest proceeded to thank the group for visiting them and for all of the awesome work the kids had done for the community house the day before. Afterwards, we spent the rest of the day laying by the river and exploring the rest of the village with the kids who were out of school, an extremely fun day filled with some much needed rest! We said hard goodbyes and rafted down the river for half a day to our next stop. Will was a fan favorite in this village too and he lifted up a multitude of kids in the air! After spending the night in a beautiful home with a five star river view, we rafted out to end the trip on the beach!
As we come to the final part of our trip, we are bittersweet and planning on soaking up every minute together. The friendships made are the kind that last and it will be so hard to say goodbye!!
Molly and Jack
July 5, 2019
Fiji A-team is back after an awesome section of the trip filled with SCUBA diving and relaxing beach days!! We are excited to congratulate the entire group for all passing their open-water and advanced scuba certification!! Time is flying by as we are already preparing to head to the village today, but our time in Pacific Harbor is one that will be hard to forget. Upon our arrival, the group quickly unpacked their stuff and pushed together bunkbeds in our room, aspiring to create the ultimate sleeping accommodation: The Megabed™️. Afterwards, we made our way over to the dive shop, where the open water divers – Camille, Bella, Piers, Ava, and Will- geared up for their introduction to SCUBA in the refreshing Club O pool! The rest of the crew – Fiona, James, Margaret, Ally- worked and planned for their ocean dives that were to take place in the next few days. Afterwards, we ate lunch at Club O consisting of a hearty combination of burgers, pastas, French fries and pizzas galore.
The next morning, we began our dives in the soft coral capital of the world after sausage and scrambled eggs. After completing our skills, the open water certification group was absolutely wide eyed as they soaked in the killer ocean views for the first time. Piers and Bella didn’t miss a chance to record some amazing footage on our dives that Jack and I can’t wait to see! Camille located a pair of clown fish that she totally thinks came right out of the movie Finding Nemo. The advanced divers got one step closer to their certification as they worked on navigation and fish identification on their wreck dive. James was itching to get back in the water in between each dive and was 100% grinning underwater. Fiona and Margaret got the closest they have ever been to nurse sharks on our deep dive at the wreck, got great pics, and kept the advanced group laughing above and underwater!
In the afternoons, this group’s favorite activity is hitting the beach where we have a gorgeous view of a neighboring Fijian island named Beqa! Will is a frisbee fanatic and kept us entertained on the beach all the afternoon. Aside from swimming, playing catch, and catching rays, these guys love nothing more than getting to know each other and exchanging stories, which is a blast and always fosters the best conversations. On the third day, we got to see a sunrise and a sunset in the same day which were both bright pink and neon orange. Afterwards, we settled in for a nice stir fry meal made by Ava (and her assistant chef in the kitchen, Will) that was delicious. It was so nice we made it TWICE at Club O!! After dessert, Ally lead us in such a relaxing guided meditation before bed to close this section of our trip off in the best way.
We can’t thank y’all enough for sending your loved ones on this trip of a lifetime and have loved every second we have gotten to spend with them. Below are some shoutouts from the group, we are looking forward to checking in again following the service portion which will surely be such a fantastic experience!
Jack Edwards and Molly McEwan
Bella – Dear Mom, Dad, and Lilly, I love you guys and miss you! The village is so much fun. I can’t wait to tell you about it! Love, Bella
Ava – Hey familia! Miss you guys lots. Officially Scuba-certified and now we are in the village playing with littles and working on the community home. Everyone here is so happy! Thank you guys for sending me I’m loving it! Love- Ava
Camille – hey fam! I love it here! Thank you sooooo much for sending me here! I am not coming home, lol! I miss y’all tons and tell my friends I miss them too! I am at the village right now and I didn’t sleep at all the roosters won’t stop screaming! Well love and miss y’all!
Margaret – Bula fam! I’m having so so much fun and I love it here! I miss y’all lots and I can’t wait to tell you all about everything. The village is amazing and the people and children are the kindest people ever. Love y’all and thank you so much for sending me here!!
Will – Bula Beeson family. Fiji is amazing! Scuba diving was so crazy and the ocean views were incredible. Now we’re in the village and the kids are so cool. Camille was right about the roosters though they are very loud. Tell Mimi & Papou I say hello! Kaki if you’re reading this I love you and miss you! See y’all soon. Moce! (adiós)
Fiona – Hi family! Thank you soo much for sending me to Fiji. I am having so much fun here. I can’t wait to tell you all about it! See you guys soon. Love and miss u all so much!
Ally – Hi mom and dad thanks for sending me on this trip I’m having so much fun! Can’t wait to tell y’all about it and also happy birthday mom! Hi Walton if you’re reading this you’re gonna have so much fun third session! Mocé!
James – Bula(that means hello in Fijian). I am having such an awesome time. All the people in our group are so nice. We all have some kind of connection where we may know a friend of theirs. Crazy stuff I know. Today is Saturday but for y’all it’s Friday we are in the village with the kids they are so nice. The people here are so nice and kind they don’t have martial things but have each other. See y’all soon. Miss y’all. Thanks.
July 2, 2019
Bula Bula everyone!
So crazy that we are already writing our first trip update from the beautiful island of Fiji!! As of today we have just spent our first day with the group, and cannot even begin to describe how excited we are to have everyone together and smiling here in a quite literal paradise. We can honestly say that we can tell this is going to be a special, tight knit group that is always laughing and soaking in every moment. We are feeling grateful to be able to spend this time with everyone and know this is going to be the best two weeks.
From the start, the group rolled off the plane and immediately changed into swimsuits in order to head out on the water for a sailboat and snorkel tour where we got to relax on the boat after the long flight as well as see numerous sea creatures underwater that everyone seemed to enjoy so much. Piers managed to find a sea slug on the ocean floor that had us all laughing and intrigued. The group was overjoyed to finally get their first glimpses of the ocean and kept the positive energy even despite by the long travel day!
The laughs continued on the boat as we sat and continued to get to know each other and form the beginnings of some great relationships. We can tell that Ally is going to be the comedian of the group with her constant jokes and countless stories. Camille also loved the handmade trinkets that the sailboat guides made for everyone in our group, and the guys spent the entire trip back to port learning how to make all sorts of cool toys simply by folding bamboo leaves. Upon our arrival back to the hotel, we all quickly jumped in the hot tub for a little and even got to go down the pool’s slide a couple of times. Afterwards, we all showered and got some time to rest before dinner and experienced our first Moonup of the trip!
This morning, we woke up bright in early for a great breakfast in the hotel and piled into the van for our ride to our SCUBA section of the trip, stopping at a gift shop for souvenirs along the way. After we all moved our stuff into our massive room with bunk beds, we began to prepare for our SCUBA certification, with the advanced group filling out their advanced diving packet and the open water gang getting to go on their very first SCUBA pool dive. Both Margaret and Bella’s crushed the pool dive and got some much needed Fiji sun while doing so.
Afterwards, we ate lunch and made our way up to the bridge jump during high tide, with Ava and James absolutely having a blast and constantly climbing out of the water as fast as they could in order to jump again. After rinsing off in the pool and the shower, the group made their way to the local arts village, with Fiona and Will (the group’s first Leaders of the Day) deciding on and preparing a delicious dinner of Mac n’ cheese and broccoli, with fried Oreos thrown in afterwards for dessert.
Tomorrow we have our first ocean dive as a group, and by the time we write again, everyone will have either received their Open Water or Advanced SCUBA diving certification!! So excited about how awesome and fun this group is looking like it’s going to be, and can’t wait to update y’all on our progress in a couple of days!!
Molly and Jack
June 29, 2019
Hi Fiji Families!
The group has arrived in Nadi and are off on their adventure! We are so excited for them to explore the island! Stay tuned for more to come soon!