By Julia GORMAN
Last week tennis development officers Va and Dale travelled to Kadavu Island for one week. While the main purpose of the trip was for other reasons, Va and Dale decided that this was an excellent opportunity to use their tennis knowledge and skills to bring a new sport to new communities. Kadavu Island is the largest island in the Kadavu group and the fourth largest in Fiji. Earlier this year, Kadavu Island suffered a direct hit from Tropical Cyclone Harold, which caused widespread damage to homes, schools and infrastructure. This is the first time that Tennis Fiji has taken its outreach program to Kadavu Island and we hope that it will not be the last.
Va and Dale delivered six outreach programs over two days in a community and a school in Tikina of Yale. The programs were open to everyone who wanted to participate and Va found that while the programs were mostly children, a significant number of adults also took part in learning tennis.
Video: students at the school prepare to play a tennis warm-up activity.
“Many of the parents came to view the tennis programs and were so supportive of the programs. They were so happy to have a new sport come to Kadavu, especially after Cyclone Harold. After Harold so many things were destroyed, even we saw that there was still devastation on the island. We are happy that we could bring a new sport to a community that lost a lot of equipment and had a lot of damage during cyclone Harold” Va said.
Kadavu Island has no roads and Va and Dale had to either walk from their accommodation, or take a boat, in order to reach the school that had expressed interest in having tennis programs. On one occasion the tide was too low for a boat to approach their destination and they had to make their way along the shore, carrying their equipment, to get there.
Photo: Va and Dale make their way to their tennis programs
“The place we went to was up the hill and down again. And so rocky. But the community and school loved to have us there and they have invited us back to the school for their Fiji Day celebrations next month” Va said.
View the photo gallery below to see some of the activities the tennis program involved.