ARCC Australia/Fiji Students Meet the Gold Medal Winning Fiji Rugby Team
ARCC’s Australia/Fiji: Island Village Initiative program is a 22-day service adventure in the South Pacific. During this program students do more than just see the sights in Sydney. They spend time on a liveaboard dive boat and get their PADI Open Water SCUBA certification near the Great Barrier Reef, volunteer in a wildlife habitat center where they meet and care for Australia’s national animals, kangaroos, and venture off to the nation of Fiji to work on critical village improvement projects and education initiatives in remote Nawaisomo Village.
Over the course of two decades, ARCC students have done some some pretty incredible work in Nawaisomo Village. Students helped install community generators that brought light to the village for the first time, built the local elementary school where even today, we help teach English lessons to the village school children.
In addition to these incredible projects, this year students got another thrilling surprise. In preparation for the Olympics in Rio, the Fijian National Rugby Team was touring the many islands that make up the Fijian Archipelago, including Nawaisomo Village. It’s not everyday that you get a chance to meet some of the best athletes in the world, but that’s just what happened this summer for some ARCC students in Fiji.
Our ARCC group was on their way to teach English in a school in Beqa. As they stepped off the boat that morning, the Fiji National Rugby Team was finishing up a kava ceremony with the chief before starting a training session for the day. Fijian are fanatics when it comes to rugby and the rugby players are national heroes. (This team coming to a school in Fiji is like the NFL’s Patriots or Packers with Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers suddenly arrived to play football at your elementary school.)
As ARCC students worked in the school teaching English classes, the team spent the afternoon practicing their skills on the adjacent field. All day, excited and rowdy schoolchildren kept peeking out the windows of the school to get a glimpse of their heroes as local villagers surrounded the field to watch. There were groups of ladies singing and dancing, exuberantly cheering them on. Once the practice was complete, students were released in a rush from their classrooms to flood the fields and meet the players. Everyone, including the ARCC students, took a turn getting autographs and their pictures taken with these national heroes.
ARCC students were interviewed by television crews and newspaper writers covering the team. Leaders Matt and Aubrey also spoke to the reporters who were eager to hear about ARCC’s service work and initiatives in Fiji.
Excited by the energetic day, our ARCC group boarded their boat back to their village for the night. They next day they started work on a construction project, but not before waking up early to catch one last practice from the future gold medal winners of the Fijian national rugby team.
Note: Several weeks after visiting with the ARCC students, the Fijian National Rugby team won the gold medal in the Rio Olympics. The celebration in Fiji went on for days.
ARCC Programs has offered summer travel programs for teens for over 30 year. With travel programs for teens on six continents, there is something for everyone. Find a summer program on our website or request a catalog today.