Naitauba Cyclone Relief Update, April 17, 2017

It is now over a year since Cyclone Winston brought enormous damage to many parts of Fiji. Here on Naitauba, a vast recovery effort has been accomplished by the world-wide community of devotees, residents and retreatants at Adi Da Samrajashram, local staff, and others from within Fiji and abroad who have given their time and money with such heart-breaking generosity. We hope you enjoy this update describing notable activities of recent months.

This period began with the arrival of a huge barge, towed from Suva by an ocean-going tugboat, and aptly named Colossus.

Arrival of Collossus the barge

Unloading the barge

The barge was moored at the loading jetty for two full days while members of the Marine, roads, grounds, and farm crews worked day and night to offload materials for the new school/safe-house.

This key project will not only provide a spacious new school for the children of our employees but, importantly, with walls of solid concrete block and steel reinforcing bar, offer complete protection and a refuge for all Ciqomi village local staff and their families from even a life-threatening Category 5 storm like Cyclone Winston. Located on the hill overlooking Ciqomi village, it is well protected from ocean swells and storm surges.

The new storage building in Qaravi village for Divine Domain Sacred Articles is also a priority for the 2017 rebuilding program. This building is being specially constructed to safely store Sacred Articles until they can be housed in new buildings which will be constructed later on higher ground.

Meanwhile, the repair of the sign at Homecoming Wharf, which is the first thing that retreatants see on their arrival at Naitauba, was completed thanks to the joint efforts of devotees and our Ciqomi village staff.

Throughout December, January and February, much work was focused on rebuilding and repairing storm shutters for all structures on Naitauba. The value of prioritizing this work became apparent when a cyclone formed in December west of the main island of Fiji. Although it never became a threat, this event allowed for a cyclone preparation "dry run" to take place on Naitauba and for a check on all the storm shutters. It turned out that most of the shutters were in good repair, but we still need to build new storage facilities for the shutters themselves. A full-time crew continues to work on this project to ensure the safety of all buildings throughout Naitauba.

The main push over the past month has been on the preparation of the building site for the school/safe-house site in Ciqomi village, in anticipation of the arrival of construction crew from Canada led by a devotee and her husband. We were fortunate that two other devotees living on Taveuni Island were able to come to Naitauba on short notice to clear and level the ground site using our Caterpillar D4 bulldozer. Through their skilled efforts and despite many days of heavy rain, the school/safe-house site was leveled and a foundation base was laid.

In recent months, a great deal of effort has gone into repairing our heavy-duty loader and back-hoe [see photos below], both of which suffered cyclone damage. These machines and the bulldozer were critical for the site clearing and leveling. With these machines operating again, the construction crew from Taveuni Island began laying the foundations for the school/safe-house structures. Drainage ditches were dug and footings and blocks laid in place. Meanwhile, carpenters in the joinery shop were busy making window and door frames for the new structures.

At the same time, the Taveuni construction crew continued working in the Qaravi and Ciqomi villages. The roof over the timber shed at the loading jetty was replaced in time for the arrival of the cargo vessel Brianna in January, which brought a shipment of timber, rebar, pipes, and other construction materials. The crew also repaired porches and roofs in Qaravi and rebuilt several kitchens and bathrooms in Ciqomi. These good men have really put out 100%.

The mechanical shop has been a hive of activity, with visits from heavy machinery in need of maintenance and repairs. Due the long lead time for ordering parts, our mechanical shop manager had to pre-order many items required for keep the heavy equipment functioning.

Once again, we offer our sincere gratitude to all devotees and other individuals, worldwide, who so generously supported the recovery process at Adi Da Samrajashram. It has been wonderful for all of us here on Naitauba to feel your support and prayers.

Ground breaking for school foundation

Work began on the new school/safehouse site above Ciqomi.

Leveling the hilltop

A lot of the hill had to be removed.

Loader in mud

... and sometimes the weather was not very cooperative.

High ground progress

But generally work progressed quickly,

Foundation—the long view

and even from day to day you could see a difference.

Daily progress

 

Ready for the cement pour

The rebar and concrete blocks being laid in anticipation of the final cement pour.

First building ready for its foundation

Last preparations for the pour of the concrete slab of the first building.

All-night cement-pour

Start of the pour at 7pm in the evening (to avoid the heat during the day). Pouring of the concrete slab was completed 18 hours later.

Second building foundation is done

Completing the foundation of the second school building.

Slab for the water tank

Pouring the slab of the water tank, which was completed on the afternoon that the Canadian crew arrived.