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Cook Islands Feb 2019 Journal

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GLOBAL VOLUNTEERS C o o k T e a m I s l a n d s G o a l s V a k a T e a m T e a m 1 6 9 C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s Civility To help people reach their full potential Communication To form and reconnect relations with others To learn about local culture Punctuality Flexibility To have fun Trust Supportive Energy Look out for one another Cooperation Sense of Humor Sensitivity Respect Collaboration 2

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M e s s a g e o f Your basket and my basket will feed the nation John O Donohue t h e D a y

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February 24 2019 T J o u r n a l E n t r y hree volunteers Mary Rochelle and Ellen arrived on the morning flight from LA to join the other others Aniva Joanne and Meredith already at the KiiKii to begin the voyage of Vaka Team 169 A light breakfast was served introductions were made and team goals were established for the group After the morning meeting we headed out on an island tour of the worksites Alumni volunteers will be returning to their previous projects Mary and Rochelle will be returning to Apii Arorangi Ellen to St Joseph s Aniva will be helping at the Te Kainga Mental Health Respite Center and Are Pa Metua Elderly Respite Care and Meredith and Joanne will go to Apii Takitumu After the morning meeting we headed out on an island tour of the worksites Mary and Rochelle will be returning to Apii Arorangi Ellen to St Joseph s Aniva will be helping at the Te Kainga Mental Health Respite Center and Are Pa Metua Elderly Respite Care and Meredith and Joanne will go to Apii Takitumu T h e b e d b l u r r y e y e d w i t h d a y o f t h e w o r k v o l u n t e e r s a n t i c i p a t i o n o n o f R a r o t o n g a h e a d e d w h a t w i l l o f f t h e b e t h e f i r s t l i k e The tour ended at The Moorings for an amazing fish and chicken sandwich lunch before returning to the KiiKii to finish unpacking and a much needed nap The evening activities took place at Samantha s house We began with discussions of the Global Volunteer s policies and a Maori language lesson before culminating the evening with a home cooked meal of local foods Dinner included chicken moa Ikamata chop suey taro poke mayonaise potato salad with beets fresh papaya passion fruit and star fruit Raparapa The blurry eyed volunteers headed off the bed with the anticipation of what the first day of work on Rarotonga will be like 4

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M e s s a g e o f t h e D a y You don t always need a plan Sometimes you just need to breathe Trust let go and see what happens Unknown

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February 26 2019 D J o u r n a l E n t r y ay one of our work assignments for Vaka 169 Joanne and Meredith met with Apii Takitumu Principal Carly Ave who was very organized and helpful As a teacher she is a literacy expert and explained what was needed for each of the four students requiring extra guidance We also had six advanced students who will be doing projects about issues facing Rarotonga and the Cook Islands Ellen did observations at St Joseph s and helped out the classes that didn t have teachers aides She also sat in on a Maori lesson where the kids were singing their school song and she even recognized a few words At Apii Arorangi Rochelle worked with three students who had three different levels of reading She noted that the school library is much improved from two years ago While the students welcomed back Mary they were most interested in knowing where her granddaughter Ava was who was a junior volunteer two years prior Aniva worked at the Mental Health Respite helping mostly dementia and Alzheimers clients stay busy with individual activities We ended the day by treating ourselves to ice cream at the Super Browns 6

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M e s s a g e o f t h e We can learn so much through a child s eye Unknown D a y

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T February 27 2019 J o u r n a l E n t r y he volunteers were awakened to a beautiful sunrise to start their day After our breakfast of fruit omelettes and cereal James led the morning meeting The plans for the day were made and we all left for our various volunteer sites T o n i g h t o r w a t c h w e h a d t h e t r a d i t i o n a l c h a n c e t o d a n c i n g p a r t i c i p a t e w h i c h w a s i n f u n After the work day the volunteers all gathered in and around the pool and discussed the day s activities Meredith had a new student today who really needed help and luckily was very eager to learn Her second group of students working on a special project was reprimanded by the principle for not taking the project as seriously as they should Joanne also at Takitumu felt her day was good Both her morning boys were there today and worked on reading skills Joanne felt her girl students were a bit overwhelmed by the projects for them to work on but soon settled in and were able to select three topics to research Both Meredith and Joanne were given a new job today They were to pull all the staples out of the library s walls and to come up with a new plan for the library Ellen at St Joseph s worked with grades 2 3 5 students who needed help with the alphabet and letter sounds Today she saw 14 students The Mental Health Respite had a new man today who also had a brother in the same facility There were a total of 7 residents today Rochelle worked with her 6 7th grade students and only had one student in the afternoon The older students were preparing for a show at Highland Paradise tomorrow evening Mary worked with the grade 5 students evaluating their reading status When asked the meaning of the Arorangi we were told it meant Look to the Sky Tonight we had the chance to participate in or watch traditional dancing which was fun as usual The drumming and singing just made you feel the need to move Dinner tonight was at a Chinese Smorgasbord It was then back to the KiiKii to prepare for our new adventures tomorrow 8

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M e s s a g e o f t h e Courage doesn t always roar Sometimes courage is the great voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow Mary Anne Radmacher D a y

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A February 28 2019 J o u r n a l E n t r y fter a French toast breakfast off we went to our schools and work site At Apii Takitumu Meredith and her student spent time working on W words The students seem to be able to understand the assignment Joanne said her two students reading shown improvement The girls are coming along with school projects Both said they had a good day Aniva spent her day at Are Pa Metua with about eleven people Today was spent on Bible reading devotions and singing Ellen was able to finalize evaluations at Apii St Josephs for grades 2 6 She works with 17 students and said she had a good day At Apii Arorangi Mary continues to work on reading skills evaluations After probably one more day she will be able to see who she will be working with Rochelle who has be working with 7 8th graders spent her day helping students with phonics Many of the students were practicing for a performance at Highland Paradise They left at 10 15 by truck because all the buses were being used for cruise ship patrons A good day by all After at very good in house dinner we went for ice cream at Super Brown s My school Arorangi s motto Onwards and upwards Aere ki mua Takina ki runga Reflection Tourists don t realize how much prep time goes into concert presentation The attire the transportation kids missing school etc A good day had by all Rochelle signing off 10

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M e s s a g e o f t h e Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be A Lincoln D a y

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O March 1 2019 J o u r n a l E n t r y nce again we rose to the beautiful sounds of the waves crashing and the roosters This was followed by the sunrise we then ate breakfast in the Vaka Lounge prior to departing for the day Rochelle and Mary work on Arorangi Primary Mary states her day went well she managed to finish her reading evaluations allowing her to pinpoint 11 out of 21 students who need additional help with three in 5th grade whom don t know their ABCs Mary feels really good about the progress she is making and absolutely loves her school Today was a two thumbs up kind of day Rochelle adds her day was also pretty good as she decided to use sight word cards with everyone and out of all the students only two managed to get them all right which is an achievement Ellen set off to St Josephs where she worked on basic word phonics with approximately 14 students The kids were excited to visit Miss Ellen reporting to their teachers how good she is Overall her day was good Meredith and Joanne set off to Takitumu Meredith reports her boys in the morning worked really hard with their reading moving on to read to the preschoolers That was entertaining for all involved before ending her day with the older kids working on their second paragraphs for their projects Aniva made progress with some of the Papa s today with two regular Papas engaging in arts and crafts using the new pain pallet One of the workers did mention Papa John a regular has been unusually happy and cheerful this week which has been a positive for all We ended our work day by the pool before departing for Muri Markets for dinner If at first you don t succeed try again 12

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M e s s a g e o f t h e A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal Steve Maraboli D a y

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O March 4 2019 J o u r n a l E n t r y nce again the rooster made his presence known in the morning Rochelle and Mary had a good day at Apii Arorangi They both went to the assembly with all the kids attend Each week a different grade level presents at the assembly so they can work on public speaking Awards were given out to the best students of the week Mary was able to give the sixth grade class letters from her granddaughter s class All the children were excited to read the letters and see the pictures They also commented on what the children could wear to school in America The kids then settled down to write a letter back to the children Both Mary and Rochelle were surprised when the kids were able to go jump in the ocean for fitness Mary and Rochelle both had a relaxing Saturday On Sunday both of them went to church and then floated in the ocean Ellen went to the assembly where she was able to give an award to the student of the week Ellen also went to the market to visit with old friends and to the island night at the Edgewater On Sunday she went to church and had a nice kaikai Reporting it was nice to relax and listen to the waves Aniva was at the mental health centre were she had three clients Aniva is seeing progress with the clients in regards to them opening up Joanne spent the morning watching the older grades practice for the cultural fair coming up Overall she had a good day at school on Friday Joanne went to Aitutaki which was stunning and she loved every bit of the tour Then on Sunday she relaxed to get ready for the week Meredith spent Friday morning with the younger kids during their assembly which was so cute to watch with all the little kids waving and say hi aunty I worked with one of my students who was able to read all the sight words and move on to the next level The principal also came in to watch him read all of the words in front of her He was so happy and started laughing The afternoon was spent on the projects which the kids seem to be working hard on I spent Saturday at the market and then the Edgewater for dinner and the show On Sunday I spent the day relaxing and watching Coco We all had a wonderful weekend and then spent Sunday night having a nice dinner at the Kikau hut 14

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M e s s a g e o f t h e When I was young my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world My hope is to leave the world a little better by having been there J Henson D a y

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V March 5 2019 J o u r n a l E n t r y aka 169 begins the second week of their time on the island After breakfast and team meeting we all headed out to our worksites At Takitumu Meredith continued working with the children on their special project and is seeing some progress with two of her students Joanne s group of readers did well and moved up to a new color group The special project group is also doing well Practice for the cultural event continues At Te Kainga Mental Health Center Aniva s group started working on a 500 piece puzzle and made fans to sell at the market All had a good day I feel the group is beginning to see small successes in their connections with the people they are working with It may be a smile or a hug Ellen continued working on letter and sound recognitions with the grade 2 and 3 students rhyming words with grade 4 and reviewed spelling words with grade 5 After finishing the student evaluations Mary began working with her assigned students Rochelle reported that several of her students read harder books today Mary and Rochelle met with Ange the former school secretary after school to catch up on what has happened in their lives over the past year This evening we had a delicious catered meal by James and reviewed our team goals I feel the group is beginning to see small successes in their connections with the people they are working with It may be a smile or a hug it may be a light bulb moment learning a new word or so insignificant at the moment but could be milestones in lives of these people 16

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M e s s a g e o f t h e If plan A didn t work the alphabet has 25 more letters Stay cool Unknown D a y

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A March 6 2019 J o u r n a l E n t r y t Apii Takitumu one of Meredith s students had a light bulb moment with the words saw and was being inversions of each other One of her expansion students needed some redirection and focus on her project They also met Anita a volunteer from Volunteer Services Abroad VSA who will help out at the school for a year Joanne went to the pre school and sang to Brianna a handicapped student who really likes music Meanwhile at the mental health facility the husband of one of Aniva s clients called to say his wife had gone missing She eventually showed up in the early afternoon looking rather disheveled but otherwise fine Rochelle s younger students are making progress One of the level 6 students are more of a challenge but Rochelle will persist Her highlight for the day was a typically quiet boy who came up to her and initiated a conversation about his family s trip to the reef Mary had a pleasant surprise when she discovered one of her student s could read much better than she had initially thought So the teacher wants Mary to continue working with her to improve her out loud reading and keep the momentum going At St Joseph s the entire school went to church to practice going to church tomorrow for Ash Wednesday One of Ellen s students is already anticipating getting an award from her when she leaves next Friday She helped him understand that he needs to work for it not just expect it Later in the afternoon Joanne Meredith and Aniva went into town for a little shopping while Mary Ellen and Rochelle when to Charlie s beach where it was very windy creating big big waves 18

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M e s s a g e o f t h e D a y Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it and there will be an end to blind obedience Mary Wollstonecraft 7 12

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March 7 2019 T J o u r n a l E n t r y oday started with a spectacular sunrise which thus far has been the best we have had on this trip After the morning meeting with James the group left for their various volunteer sites Joanne reports she had a very good day The boys in the morning reading group continue to make progress The girl s individual projects are moving along One of girls projects is on the dog problem in Rarotonga Her interesting fact today is that 98 of the dogs on the Island are privately owned leaving only 2 that are not The other two projects are littering on the Island and rugby injuries Ellen s day was interesting because today is Ash Wednesday and at St Joseph s it is a day of celebration There was a Mass at the church for all the students complete with communion and the placement of the ashes Ellen s time working with the students was much reduced Aniva had a new first day as she was assigned to Takitumu for her Wednesday job site where she worked with the boy who returned from his extended absence Her biggest challenge was the student s short attention span and school absences After work some of us did The Back Yard Tour The businesses visited were great After a catered dinner at the KiiKii the group gathered for the evening chat 20

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M e s s a g e o f t h e Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are M Cooley D a y

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M e s s a g e o f t h e The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty Unknown D a y

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B March 11 2019 J o u r n a l E n t r y lessed with mixed weather signals since Friday This is a slight inconvenience to us but a blessing for the Islands Nevertheless this did not stop us from heading out and taking care of business Ellen heads to St Josephs Primary where she completed phonics assessments with students from Grade 2 which she states was an eye opener Ellen comments on how responsive students have been to the use of flash cards where they use different words to make sentences with little to no assistance Mary and Rochelle head to Arorangi Primary where their day started with an assembly reprimand for putting Popsicle sticks down the toilet instead of the bins Meredith and Joanne head off to Takitumu Primary where they watched the kids practice their cultural dances in the morning before Meredith set off to read The Giving Tree to the preschoolers which they enjoyed Aniva set off to Te Kainga where she did a little bit more explaining as to why she cannot speak Cook Island Maori the brown skin is deceiving After a few confusing language lessons during which they competed to see who can draw the best palm tree they headed off to the markets for lunch a nice change in scenery Wrapping up another work week we headed out for Joanne s farewell dinner at Castaway As Joanne s journey with Global Volunteers comes to an end she states she enjoyed working with the team and wishes the remaining volunteers a good week ahead Aere ra Kia manuia koe Saturday we headed to the markets for more shopping a light lunch We rested in our rooms before heading to Trader Jacks for dinner Sunday was meant for sleeping in which most of us did while Rochelle and Ellen headed to church later on in the evening we walked to Club Raro for dinner All in all we had a nice weekend Reflection She believed she could so she did 24

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M e s s a g e o f t h e Forget what lies behind reach forward to what lies ahead and press on Philippians 3 verse 13 D a y

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March 12 2019 W J o u r n a l E n t r y e all woke up to the rain this morning It was a good change from the roosters we normally hear Mary had a good moment today when a girl who usually tells stories said that she worked on the words right all weekend Mary of course tested her and she got most of the words which made Mary happy Ellen continued to work with the kids using flashcards Aniva was good The weather helped calm the clients at the mental health clinic They sang songs and played games while watching the rain fall It was a chill day Meredith had an interesting day In the morning both kids were tired and remembered some of the harder words but had trouble with the easier words We started reading a book and I soon realized it was two levels higher My students did great and sounded out words that they didn t know In the afternoon my group doubled because I picked up Joanne s kids It was interesting trying to read their projects and helping edit without having much context 26

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M e s s a g e o f t h e D a y Sometimes we only see how people are different from us but if you look hard enough you can see how much we re all alike Jasimine from Alladin

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A March 13 2019 J o u r n a l E n t r y fter the torrential all day rains of yesterday some blue sky and just a few clouds in the morning skies were a welcome sight Meredith continued working on the special project at Apii Takitumu Some of the group are ready to film and did a trial run today and others are still working on the final drafts but over all she is seeing progress Ellen took class pictures today and continued with the reading skills reviews and games Rochelle learned today from one of her students a true story about how the top of the mountain near Apii Arorangi became flat The people from another island needed shade and asked if they could take the top of the mountain back to their island which the Arorangi people agreed to Mary read The Wonky Donkey to her 5th grade class they really enjoyed it and joined in on the Hey Haws She worked with students who were absent yesterday One girl was registering at level 4 reading but when Mary gave her more and more books she got the student to level 20 without much trouble It seems that confidence was more of the issue than reading skills Aniva observed that one of the gentleman at the mental health center hasn t been eating much and noted the change in his eating habits She also talked with the staff about mental health disorders and each individual client s unique needs The clients colored painted and wandered Aniva walked with Madeline today and had a lovely conversation about the palm trees and baby chicks before deciding it was a bit hot to be outside and return to the meeting room for a cool beverage The team is beginning to realize that the end of our time here is only three days away A little over two weeks ago meeting our students and clients for the first time and learning the teachers expectations seemed a bit overwhelming Now we are feeling more comfortable in our roles and hope we could have one more day one more lesson to make a difference in the lives of one more person 28

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M e s s a g e o f t h e Sometimes you have to let go of a picture of what you thought it would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living Unknown D a y

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March 14 2019 W J o u r n a l E n t r y ith another wonderful sunrise our day began After breakfast James arrived for the team meeting then it was off to school for all of us Ellen at St Joseph s School finished taking class pictures and worked with all her students on sight words Time allowed her to re do a phonic evaluation for a student who previously was not very cooperative Ellen was also able to see some of her former students at Tereora College Rochelle worked with her grade 6 8 students Mary worked with the 6th grade class on the pen pal letters This took much more time than anticipated so the grade 5 students didn t get much attention Samantha was around to take pictures for Global Volunteers Meredith had a good day Only one boy was there for reading so she was able to give extra time and attention to this student This boy has learned 70 new words in the last two weeks thus moving him up a level in his reading The afternoon girls projects are continuing to move along Aniva had a more slow paced day but still a productive one spent at Apii Takitumu Her two boys in the morning group were both moved up a level in their reading too The afternoon was spent helping Meredith and the girls on the special news broadcast project I t s c o m i n g t o A m I a n e n d s o q u i c k l y r e a d y Tonight we had a catered dinner of pulled pork and roasted vegies at the KiiKii After the evening chat we all retired to our rooms Reflection It s coming to an end so quickly Am I ready 30

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M e s s a g e o f t h e A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition Wm Arthur Ward D a y

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A March 15 2019 J o u r n a l E n t r y fter the morning team meeting we parted for our assignments Ellen off to St Joseph s She tells us that it was overall a good day A few students begging to work with her Aniva had another busy day Meredith had a challenging day One of her students who missed two days of school had digressed but by the end of session was almost back to pre missed days The afternoon was spent getting the projects done Mary and Rochelle were told not to come to school today as it is Parent teacher conference day Since students leave with their parents there is no need to be at school So they spent the day island exploring 1 Muri beach and the lagoon 2 into town for lunch 3 trip to Black Rock beach After 30 minutes at the beach got rained out We were hoping to have dinner on a beach but the weather had different ideas Had dinner at Bamboo Jacks which was very nice and was dry I w i l l a s n i c e w e m i s s p a r t m y p a r t n e r s w a y s m e m o r i e s F r i d a y t h e y w i l l o f t h i s e v e n i n g n o t b e V a k a b u t 1 6 9 h a v e f o r g o t t e n I will miss my partners of this Vaka 169 as we part ways Friday evening but have nice memories they will not be forgotten 32

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GLOBAL VOLUNTEERS C o o k T e a m I s l a n d s G o a l s V a k a T e a m T e a m 1 6 9 C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s Civility To help people reach their full potential Communication To form and reconnect relations with others To learn about local culture Punctuality Flexibility To have fun Trust Supportive Energy Look out for one another Cooperation Sense of Humor Sensitivity Respect Collaboration 2