LäjeRotuma Initiative


Rotuma Children's Climate Eco-Camp November 23-25, 2012

The group of 29 children and 11 women accompanied by Gagaj Fakaru'itoag, Sukamanu Pene and Fa Hua' Kapani joined us at the Oinafa campsite on Friday afternoon. Despite the events of the weekend in which the catholic community celebrated holy communion Sunday and a death at Malha'a, the intimate group of campers made up of mainly children aged 6-14 years enjoyed the stormy start in great comfort under the shade of the thatched ri fak rotuma. At the start of the camp, introductory activities with the campers began with group work constructing mind-maps that allows each camper to write something about themselves (i.e. name, age, hobby, favorite color, one fear/phobia) on a large sheet of paper per group of at least 6-7 campers. These 4 groups were then allocated a habitat of interest (i.e. seagrass at maka bay, forest, beach, lagoon and reef) to be their focus for learning in the duration. As part of the camp principles, the following were highlighted: healthy island living, practice recycle, reduce and reuse actions and being considerate to others. For this was a camp with a difference from our past eco-camps where the target group is much younger and the climate theme on how we build island resilience to effects of a changing climate, there was no use of diesel-generator for lighting at the campsite. We used the yellow lighting of hurricane lamps and a solar torch. The Police team was there to conduct regular visits to our campsite as part of their community service outreach. The first night of camp was exciting for the little ones as they get to choose sleeping spots with me right in the middle with all that space under the ri fak rotuma made accessible to us by the Council of Rotuma.

The second day was for field activities but it didn't turn out as planned except for the early morning bird-watching, due to the windy conditions for such a young group of campers. Instead we stayed indoors and worked on the alphabetical sketch book, short video lessons about the earth system, cloud charts, island model-making, screen printing by the older girls and in our groups read the resource materials about the forests, birdlife, seagrass, marine life, before completing a sketch of life in each of the focal habitats. We had an endless supply of fruits, pineapple and watermelon to quench our thirst throughout the day. A lasting impression for me at the camp was the women organizing a light dinner, thus we had 'a'ana and watermelon on the beach as we swam to maximize on both the natural lighting and feasting whilst enjoying the afternoon. In the evening, we were treated to another session of hanuju (story telling) however, for many of us due to the early start of an eventful day we were all asleep before the night cap was ready!

Sunday morning was a slow one for when the fa hua'i Kapani came to conduct our daily prayer at 5.00am we were still asleep. This last day of camp was short for there was preparation by campers to go to church at 10am and lunch before we broke camp at 4.00pm. However, there were activities after church to engage the campers in the sum-up of their learning that included face-painting and group learning on 'managing resources' facilitated by the Rotuma Women Association members-Maryva Emose and Mareta Tiuhe'a.

Certificates for campers were presented by Han hua'ta Fesaitu who was also one of our story-tellers during the evening hanuju sessions. The GIZ SPC funded Rotuma Rano project will support the second series of the climate eco-camp targeting Rotuma High School and scheduled tentatively for the first quarter of 2013.



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