Hugs and high-fives from Nakuku

Bula and Hello!

My name is Jackson Tahmoush, and my name is Trish Pizzica. Today we are sitting in an amazing hostel in Nelson, New Zealand but this is the recap of our past weeks with Hongi Fall 2019. After a beautiful and sunny orientation in the Tubakula Beachside Bungalows right outside Sigatoka, we made our way to Suva for a day and eventually all the way up to a remote village on the north island called Nakuku. Before we talk about the amazing, action-filled time we had in the village, we want to recap some of the best moments of our first five days.

We met our group of 14 at the LAX airport at just about 5:30 pm on the 11th of September and our trip officially began. Some of us even had the pleasure of seeing Tom Holland in the airport. Shortly before our flight we had our very first Hongi introduction full of laughter.

One of the best moments for many of us was finally arriving at Tubakula after multiple days of travel and stepping onto our first Fijian beach. We were all jet lagged and exhausted but the feeling of amazement we had upon arrival was indescribable. We spent our time there doing fun learning activities, creating our group agreements/rules, and getting to know each other. One of our final assignments was going into Sigatoka and doing the scavenger hunt where we all made our very first blog post as a group.

After Tubakula we traveled to Suva on our way to Nakuku. We had town time and got to interact with locals. Then we went on our way. Two 3 hour bus rides, a 4 hour ferry, and the bumpiest back of a truck we have ever been in and we finally made it to Nakuku. Our local contact Kali helped explain what to expect before heading into the village before we all dawned our sulus and went to our welcome ceremony.

Kali, representing our group, presented the village elders with a kava root and upon acceptance we were officially welcomed to stay. Then we got to meet our homestay families who presented us all with flower necklaces. Our homestay moms we called Nana, and our homestay dads we called Tata. Lily and I (Trish) were homestay sisters. Our family for the week had no children so it just ended up being us. Alec and I (Jackson) were homestay partners, and due to the absence of our host parents for the majority of the week were given the chance to enjoy our hill top house alone for the week. After meeting our families, we all headed for tea at the dining house.

Outside of our homestays, the majority of our time was filled with cement path making, star gazing, group activities and making music. I think I can speak on the behalf of the whole group in saying we thoroughly enjoyed the entirety of our stay and hope to someday return to the village of Nakuku.

– Jackson & Trish

Making brooms by hand in Nakuku
Noah bonding with the children at the school
Volleyball at the village primary school
Hanging out with the kids before our self care lesson
Having fun with the glasses the villagers made for us
Lottie channeling her inner minion
Rocking our homemade glasses
Lily, Lottie and Toren helping with construction
Nathan and Jackson chilling on our last Fijian beach