July 26, 2023
Bulavinaka Fiji families!!
We cannot believe that our time on this gorgeous island is almost done. We spent an incredible four days in the villages of nambukulavu and Wanidero. The group headed up the mountain to nambukulavu where we were immediately welcomed by the village children and adults with enthusiastic “BULA’S!” all around. The kids wasted no time forming bonds with the village children. The little girls quickly took to Hallie and Kenzie. On the first night the group attended a special ceremony to welcome visitors known as a kava ceremony. During this time the chief acknowledges our presence in the village, and we thank the community for allowing us in. This was an amazing cultural experience for the group.
The next day the group went on a hike through the mountains and at the end we were rewarded with fresh coconut water (straight out of the coconut itself) from a generous villager. We then helped move some bricks to a home being built. After the hard work we quickly jumped in the river for a much needed cool down. We then had a delicious lunch and headed up to the school yard to play with the kids. Friendly games of rugby and duck duck goose quickly began and squeals of delight filled the air. Wyatt even organized a group of kids to dog pile members of our group one at a time, which may have been a highlight of the afternoon. That night it was time for the closing kava ceremony. We are so thankful for the hospitality we were shown!
The next morning, we were up early to start our rafting adventure to Wainadiro. The group divided into three rafts and headed down the river. It was a beautiful morning of floating between waterfalls and old lava rock. Andrew decided to start a friendly battle of knocking each other out of the rafts and by lunch we had all taken a plunge into the river. Later in the afternoon we arrived at our next village stay and settled in. Ben quickly made friends with the villagers who gave him a tour of the area. Once again, we put on our sulus and attended an opening Kava ceremony.
We were fortunate enough to be in the village on a Sunday and got to attend their Catholic Mass. After church it was time to relax with the village kids and take a dip in the river. Riley, Kate, Keith, and Katherine got the opportunity to ride on a traditional bamboo raft! Walker made a friend in the village who came to our house and played games and guitar for us all afternoon.
The next morning the group prepared to kayak out of the village. Midway through we got to hike up to a massive waterfall! Once we made it to the put out, we moved on to our next destination to close out the trip with surfing, snorkeling and more fun. Day one of surfing was a fun challenge and we wore our arms out! In the afternoon Parker and Wyatt enjoyed an afternoon workout while Ben and Kenzie played volleyball with the hotel workers. We then had a great bonfire on the beach complete with s’mores!
We got to bed early to get ready for a fun day of fishing and snorkeling. In the morning we headed to an island where we snorkeled, played volleyball, and ate a delicious BBQ meal. On the way back we got caught in a little rain but that just made the hot showers all the more rewarding. After getting clean we got some yummy milkshakes and began our highly competitive ping pong tournament. Riley got crowned as our champion! We can’t believe we only have a few more days left. We can’t thank you enough for sharing your kids with us! We’ve gotten to make memories that are certain to last a lifetime.
With love and gratitude,
Sarah Paden and Parker
July 19, 2023
Bula!! Taking a minute away from all of our fun to pop in with some amazing updates (& shoutouts). When we last checked in the group was stoked to take their pool skills on the open water. However, on Sunday the wind decided to come into town and the conditions were not in our favor. With a suddenly open afternoon, Parker, Jackie, and I quickly created an afternoon of survivor themed challenges. During the volleyball challenge, Keith’s height and Kenzie’s skill were tough to beat. We took a quick “timeout” to go enjoy some time on the beach where Kate and Elizabeth tried to make drippy castles. The day of competition ended with an iron chef challenge where Wyatt and Walker made the most delicious chicken.
On Tuesday, our whole group was officially PADI Scuba certified!! We are so proud of all of the hard work of every single kid and loved watching them grow confident in their skill. Katherine’s dance moves on the boat ride to the dive sites were definitely the pump up we all needed! An added bonus of the dice sight was the picturesque views of the Fijian islands, Kenzie got great landscape photos as the sun peaked out. On the final day of certification, Jackie brought the group ukulele on board and Ben was able to learn some easy tunes from the boat crew.
The group had one more fun dive scheduled for Wednesday, but sadly the weather, once again, had other plans. But fear not, Parker found the perfect afternoon adventure…a trip to the Sigatoka sand dunes. The group enjoyed taking in Fiji’s beautiful landscape atop massive sand dunes and had a delicious ice cream stop on the way home. Andrew impressed everyone with his “rap” skills and Riley showed off her best animal sounds. By the time they got back to camp, everyone was fast asleep from a fun filled day. After dinner, we got packed to prepare for our adventure into the village!
Until next time,
Sarah Paden and Parker
Hey fam! I miss you all sooo much! I hope you’re all doing god without me. Maddy I hope you’re getting around without me being there to drive you around. Grey I got you a flag, I’m still working on a plane! Say hi to jada and tell her the gift was so sweet and that I miss her! Tell her to say hi to everybody else too and that I hope they haven’t been having too much fun without me! Ok we’ll see ya soon! Love you all -Kenzie B.
Hey Mom, Dad, and Claire! I miss you guys so much, and Claire I hope sleep away camp was so much fun. I am having so much fun here and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Hey Nalin! I hope you are having a great summer and I can’t wait to see you soon, it’s so cool here you’d love it. Miss you all tons! – Kate
Hey Mom and Dad,
Having so much fun in Fiji! Miss y’all and can’t wait to see y’all soon.
Hey Mom and Dad. I am having fun in Fiji and I am excited to see y’all.
Hey family miss y’all so much. Just to let you know I’m doing good in Fiji, it is not what I expected. I love you guys and my ankle is doing better.
Hi mom dad, Annabel, and Penny I miss you guys! Annabel I hope you are having fun at camp. I’m having a blast in Fiji. Love and miss y’all.
Hey mom and dad, I miss you guys so much! I am having so much fun here in Fiji but I am excited to see you guys soon. Scuba diving was my favorite thing so far, it was very fun. I hope you guys are having fun at her beach. See you soon!!
Hey guys!!! I’m having so much fun in Fiji! Love and miss y’all!!!! -Elizabeth
Hey mom and dad and Mae Mae, I miss y’all all so much! I’m having so much fun in Fiji but I miss y’all too! Excited to see y’all soon!
Hi mom and dad, I miss y’all so much. I am enjoying Fiji, it’s better than I thought it would be. See y’all soon.
July 15, 2023
Bula Fiji 3 families!! We are so excited to be here and have started to get adjusted to the time (and day) change! Upon our arrival, we had breakfast at our hotel and quickly took off for our first adventure, a catamaran ride and snorkeling! Everyone enjoyed snorkeling alongside the coral reef. We then climbed back aboard the boat and enjoyed a delicious Fijian lunch while trading stories and getting to know one another. Ben was our MVP and jumped into the water to save some of our trash that got blown into the water. On the way home, the waves kicked up some delighted squeals as we continued to get sprayed with water. Most of the girls eventually took cover in the middle of the boat but Hallie and Kenzie stuck it out on the bow of the boat!
After we got back to land we headed back to the hotel to change and get ready for dinner. While waiting for our delicious pizza a fire show complete with traditional Fijian dancing took place outside the restaurant. Once we were full, happy and very sleepy we headed back to the hotel for moon up and a good night’s rest. Keith and Katherine were selected as our first leaders of the day!
Saturday we woke up after a little sleep in and prepared for our drive to our next hotel for scuba certification. Elizabeth and Riley were hard at work on some awesome friendship bracelets. Wyatt was an absolute natural in the pool portion of class and is excited to dive into the open water tomorrow. After lessons, Kate started everyone’s new favorite card game, presidents while Walker and Parker played a highly competitive game of pool. We then headed to dinner at Grace Kitchen, where Andrew was super excited to get a smoothie. At the end of the meal we celebrated the birthday girl, Jackie from HQ, who is with us for our scuba portion of the trip. The group can’t wait to take their skills into the open water!!
While the group has only been together for a couple of days, we can tell this is going to be one for the books! We are so excited for what is to come, and can’t wait to share our adventures and stories with you all!
SP + Parker
July 13, 2023
Hello Fiji Families!
We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Fiji! The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!