Author: admin
• Saturday, February 25th, 2017

posted Feb 25th 2017

Towards the end of last year, things were so busy that we hardly had time to brush our teeth!!! Here are 2 stories from the last part of the year that we didn’t find time to put on our website…..

Sanjiv musical event!

Our good friend Sanjiv has continued ‘fighting the good fight’ despite his being in a wheelchair & also stuck in a long, drawn out compensation case that’s taken 7 years so far….In order to help pay for his weekly medical needs, Sanjiv took the bold initiative of organizing a musical event, with local big names Noa Junior & Umlesh Polo in fierce competition to be the best bhajan band in the Pacific!

Susan in action selling lottery tickets!

What with paying for the bands, renting the hall, printing the tickets & all the other costs, the profit margin was extremely thin, & so hopes were pinned on a lottery to bring in some extra funds. Susan volunteered to go around & sell the lottery tickets & astounded all present by getting just about everyone in the audience of mostly Hindi-speaking Indians to buy a good amount! Everyone agreed she was totally amazing & this helped greatly to make the evening a success.

 

 

 

Visit to Yanuca Island Primary School

While hitch hiking into town one day, I was picked up by Mere, who told me that she was closely connected with a needy school on Yanuca Island. She said that if we were able to give books to the school, then she’d be able to bring us in her car to the boat jetty in Pacific Harbour & organize the boat travel there & back.

Glenys, Joy, Peter on our way to Yanuca Island!

A few months later, Australian Joy (who’s been a tremendous help in sending many of our boxes of books from Melbourne over to Fiji), was visiting us, along with her 71-year old aunt, Glenys. We decided it was a good time to make a trip to Yanuca Island to help their school.

 

After a one hour trip to the boat departure point & the 45 minute boat ride, we were warmly welcomed by the head teacher who took us on a tour of the school. We were pleased to see that he strongly encourages reading by opening the library early every morning & that children are already gathered there waiting.


The book presentation was really a joyous occasion as we were treated like VIPs. The school children showed us their traditional songs & dances, and afterwards we were treated to a fantastic Fijian lunch with all kinds of sea food — what a great day!

reaching the school...

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Author: admin
• Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Posted December 11th

arriving in Vanua Balavu

After Koro, Vanua Balavu was the second most severely damaged outer island after Cyclone Winston. It’s part of the Lau group & is serviced by a weekly ferry, plus it has a grass airstrip, like Koro, with weekly flights.

 

 

 

A big ‘thank you’ to George Goundar, of Goundar Shipping that donated transport of the 21 boxes of books on the Lomaiviti Princess ferry. This time, we took the Fiji Airways small propeller plane & waited for the shipment of books to arrive 2 days later.

Giving the boxes of books to the 8 village schools was an unforgettable experience: children that have gone through such a lot, in badly-damaged schools that are still in the middle of reconstruction, yet remain so cheerful & thankful for any help that comes their way.

donating 5 boxes to Adi Maopa Secondary School

 

The logistics of going to the different corners of Vanua Balavu was challenging, but head teachers were very helpful in arranging boats, trucks & wheelbarrows. We even carried out one day’s school distributions in the island’s only police car!

Getting back to Suva was also an adventure as planes can only operate when the grass airstrip is dry…..& on the day of our departure, there was light rain! We went to the tiny airport & checked in, but were then notified 2 hours later that the plane had been cancelled & to wait for the next one in 1 or 2 weeks!! Luckily, after lots of phone calls, another plane came to the rescue after 3 days & we made it safely back home to Suva!

To finish off with, here’s a 2-minute news clip from the Fiji One TV news that gives a summary of our trips to both Koro & Vanua Balavu:

Fiji One TV news clip

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Author: admin
• Thursday, November 03rd, 2016

posted November 3rd

Read about our exciting trip to Koro island in Fiji’s Lomaiviti group of islands! It suffered more than any place in Fiji when Cyclone Winston tore through the island last February, ripping roofs off even the most solid buildings & in some cases destroying whole villages with tidal waves!

We visited every school on the island & donated much-needed library books. Here below is the link to our newsletter:

http://www.pacificoutreach.com/wp-content/uploads/Nov-2016-news-from-Pacific-Outreach.pdf


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Author: admin
• Thursday, October 06th, 2016

Posted October 6th

As we mentioned last time, the Ministry of Education gave us a list of 24 cyclone-damaged schools in 3 of Fiji’s outer islands, the first of which was Koro. We just came back from a one-week trip there & are happy to share the story, along with some of the photos, (many more photos on our
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/peterandsusan.kingston)

Our accommodation at Nasau Primary School for one night. You can see the damaged classrooms in the background.

Goundar shipping kindly donated our tickets to go there, along with transportation of the 26 boxes of library books that we were bringing for all the 8 schools on the island.

Koro island has about 5000 inhabitants & dirt roads connect the various villages. Cyclone Winston did tremendous damage to the island & even now, 6 months later, many houses are still lacking walls & roofs! There are plenty of households that are living under tarpaulins or in tents.

All the schools we visited were about half or three quarters damaged, with most classes now taking place in large tents donated by Unicef.

We gave 3 boxes of Australian library books to each primary school & 5 boxes to the (only) secondary school. They were received with great joy as the cyclone swept away just about everything, either by the strong winds or in the powerful waves that followed.

Sue sharing a book with some of the students.

 

We’re thankful to the Eastern Education Office in Suva, as they were extremely helpful in organizing diesel trucks to take us from one village to the next, along with all the boxes of books. They also helped organize our stay with the head teachers of some of the schools we went to.

Students of Qalivakabau Primary School show their new books!

 

To be continued…..

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Author: admin
• Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Posted Sept 11th

We waited all morning for the shipping company to bring the remaining 15 boxes of books to our house but had an uneasy feeling about it, as promises in Fiji can be very ‘flexible’! We phoned to ask when they would be coming, but the right person couldn’t be located & nobody seemed to know anything. On top of that, there was the risk that if the boxes stay at the warehouse beyond today, Friday, then we could be charged storage fees….

Finally, I decided I need to go back to Pacific Agencies warehouse & so started walking up the hill from our house, hitch hiking any passing cars, as I usually do. A few cars went by but didn’t stop; then a nice-looking little red car almost stopped. In fact he braked but then hesitated & decided to carry on, so I ran after it, prompting the driver to eventually stop! I thanked the driver for stopping & then commented that he evidently wasn’t very used to stopping to pick up hitch hikers!

He replied, ‘No, it’s the first time I’ve ever picked anyone up!’

I said, ‘Well, no need to worry: I’m not a terrorist but a missionary!’

That immediately changed everything! He explained that he was on his way to Hawaii to do a missionary training course. I said that we know someone that just came back from that same course, (the son of our charity trustees), & so it turned out that these 2 know each other very well! We straightaway became good friends & as soon as I told him, (his name’s Tim), about the problem with collecting our boxes of books, he immediately volunteered to go & collect them. We ended up doing 2 carloads & bringing everything back to our house, with Tim carrying everything. It’s funny that he was originally on his way to the gym, but the Lord had a different type of work-out for him, ha!

So all’s well that ends well & we’re super happy that we don’t have to go back to anymore shipping or customs offices, Praise the Lord! And thanks again to John, Heather & Joy for all their hard work in collecting all those books & surmounting numerous obstacles to get them on their way to Fiji!

As mentioned before, we have a list of 24 top priority, cyclone-damaged primary schools to donate books to, given to us by the Ministry of Education. Also another list from the department in charge of kindergartens. Most of these schools are far from the capital, in Koro island, Vanua Balavu island & Taveuni island, & so we’re trying to put together a plan of how to get the books to all 24 of these remote schools. Please keep us in your prayers!

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