This morning we visited the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple (North Island – NZ) in Flatbush.
Looking at it from the outside you don’t quite grasp the size of it until you enter. The temple occupies an area of 4 hectares. The temple was officially opened in 2007.
The courtyard was designed to look similar to farming fields and the grounds around the temple are just immaculate.
There is also a wishing bell that you can make a wish and say a little prayer then ring the bell.
Along the courtyard are trees where from their branches hang ribbons which you can purchase from the temple and write your wish/prayer on then hang them on the tree.
Also dotted around the zen gardens are these cute Buddha statues.
The Bell and the Drum are important Buddhist instruments. The bell is made of cast iron and weighs 3000kg, the Drum weighs 300kg. Both instruments are used daily to signify the start and the end of each day.
Next we visited the Pagoda. The Pagoda at Fo Guang Shan is built like a memorial garden. This place is not only a place where loved ones are laid to rest but also a place where you can offer respect and remembrance. There is a big water feature at the entrance of this as water is the source of life.
After this we went and visited the art galleries within the temple. There was a great gallery especially for kids where they get to see how the Buddha grew up. It was really pretty and colourful.
In the photo above you will see little coloured papers pinned to the wall which kids have written their wishes on.
After all of that it was time for something to eat so we headed to the Water Drop Vegetable cafe. The cafe has beautiful rustic wooden furniture. Adam and I ordered the curried roti snack! It was delicious.
There are a few options for kids too. Miss K had some plain hot chips, Miss C had a muffin. There is also an array of tea available.
The temple is free to enter, there are a few donation boxes around the place where you can make a donation.
The only thing I would say is that if you are taking kids they need to be respectful of the temple and what it stands for. I have seen a few kids this morning that were running around and climbing on the statues and being extremely loud. It is not a playground, and there were people praying at the different shrines throughout the day. So be mindful.
It was a great family outing today and we got a lot out of it.
Where do I start with this?? I am writing about this because it really pisses me off, and it’s something that has irritated me for a while. How it all started, well you see a year ago I read an article (I wish I didn’t) which stated that a study was conducted by the Harvard Business school, which found, “According to a working paper (pdf) published June 19 by the Harvard Business School, daughters of working mothers are more likely to be employed, hold supervisory positions, and earn more money than the daughters of women who don’t work outside the home. The researchers also found a statistically significant effect on the sons of working women, who are likely to spend more time caring for family members and doing household chores than are the sons of stay-at-home mothers.” quote as per the article. Well I’m calling it BULLSHIT!!!!
I read the article (which you can find here), and at the time of reading it I swore a lot. After a week or two I forgot about it, but what I have found over this past year is that whatever crap that I read in that article must have gotten ingrained in my brain because every now and again, it rears its ugly head just out of the blue and can be triggered by anything, whether, it’s about school stuff, or career and work stuff that I hear about on the news, this article pops up in my head. I then have about 5 seconds where I feel guilty about being a stay at home mum and then I snap out of it and give the thought the big F you!
I had a successful career and loved working, I even studied whilst pregnant with both girls, but I chose to be a stay at home mum whilst my girls are still young so I can be around for them, and I will return to the working world one day. I don’t sit on my arse and do nothing all day, being at stay at home mum is a full-time job! Between, making sure the house is cleaned, everyone has clean clothes to wear, there is a cooked meal for everyone, bills are paid, after school activities are scheduled in, parent help at school is done, and the list goes on. We all read the articles, seen stuff on social media. But whether you are a working mum, stay at home mum, single mum, or whatever mum, does it really influence how successful our children will be? We all want the same thing for our children to be happy and follow a path in life that they get the most joy out of.
How do you measure successful? Is it still like the old days where you are judged by how many letters you have after your name? Or how much money you have in your bank account? I grew up with my mum being a stay at home mum and when we started high school, she started work and now living in New Zealand she has a very successful job. My mum has taught us what hard work is, how to be smart with money and budget and being able to run a whole house, how to look at bills and work out what’s going on and the hidden costs of things. She has taught us how to make the best lemonade when life threw us lemons! It’s the same things I teach my girls now. I also make a note to let my girls know that, no mummy does not sit at home and watch TV all day I’m working too.
The freaking pressure from society these days is just ridiculous, there is guilt if you are a mum that works full-time (I salute you), there is guilt if you a mum that decides to stay at home, there are stay at home dad’s too (high-five dad’s), there is probably guilt around that too! But it is choices we all make and it’s the best for our families, and how successful our children are does not have anything to do whether we leave the house to go to work! It’s what we teach them and the values that they are brought up with.
So if anyone thinks that stay at home mum’s don’t raise successful children, then you are just plain stupid, and unfortunately, you can’t fix stupid!
On our last day in Fiji, we booked our family to do a school tour which is run by the Radisson Blu Resort. It was such an eye opener especially for the girls and for some of the adults too. The school we were visiting (they change each time to a different school) was Korovuto Primary School. To be honest some of the features of the school is close to home for me because some of the schools I went to in South Africa were very similar. When we visited Nadi Town, we picked up some stationery supplies to take over with us on the tour to hand over to the school. It’s much cheaper doing it that way than buying through the resort.
A bit about the Adopt a School Programme that the resort runs. The programme is run voluntarily by the resort and they assist local schools and are currently help 21+ schools. They raise funds through guest donations, the resort’s weekly Duck Derby & Frog racing. All funds go 100% to the schools. The cost of the tour is $10FJ per head. The great thing about this tour is, you don’t have to be a guest at the Radisson Blu to go on it, even if you are staying at other resorts, you can head over to the Radisson Blu and book a spot on the bus, the tour runs every Friday. They use the money to help with getting computers to the school, setting up libraries which they have set up 20 to date, cleaner and more hygienic toilet blocks, fixing leaking roofs so kids don’t have to sit in wet classrooms. The principal of Korovuto Primary was very proud to show us the computers and the library that was set up for the students all from guest donations, and it was still so small compared to that of our schools, but for them it was the bees knees!
All the families in our group gave the school stationery donations, as well as monetary donations once we got back to the resort, after seeing the school it’s not hard to donate. These kids were so excited to come and collect all the packs.
Each family were given a tour of all the classrooms and schools by prefects. Our prefects were Ria and Raina, who were so lovely and polite. Below are some photos from just around the school. At the time a lot of the kids were sitting external exams or preparing for them and they start from as young as 11 when they have to sit the exams. Very similar to my days in primary school, we started exams from age 10.
Corridor in the school, each class outside is personalised.
The kids were so happy to welcome us into their classrooms, and the teachers spoke to us about what they were learning etc, I felt a bit bad about disturbing their learning time however all the teachers were so hospitable. At the time of our visit the school had no power due the workman carrying out repairs on the power cables, which meant the fans in the classrooms were not working either, it was a pretty hot day! The school runs on tank water as well.
The school is very spread out and is the 3rd largest primary school in Nadi, however with the growing number of kids they now have started to use some of the classrooms at the college which is in the same grounds.
This class had the right idea, they were doing their work under a massive mango tree, and Kiara got right in there with the kids and had a look at what they were learning, on a side note I was tempted to climb the tree and get some mangoes!!!
After looking through the school, we were treated to some drinks and the kids put on a little dance for us to, which was lovely but it was so hot and they still danced in the heat!
As a family we absolutely loved the tour and both girls enjoyed meeting with the local kids and getting right into things talking with the kids. It was a highlight of our holiday for sure.
If you are going to Fiji I would highly recommend going on the school tour. You just get so much out of it, especially the kids. If you want to keep updated with the Adopt a School Programme and see how the donations are helping these schools you can check out their Facebook Page here.