Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069

24th September 2014

Ceri Thomas Report 3: Settling in to Fijian life

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Bula (Hello) again from Fiji.

I am now 7 1/2 months in to my volunteer placement here. As you may have read from my last report l was originally only staying in Fiji from January to August (7 months). After my difficult start I got through it and l definitely believe I came out stronger. I learned to appreciate every little thing and I can honestly say I am loving every minute now. In April I made a big decision and decided to extend my stay here from August to December. I am really happy right now, I know I made the right choice. This experience has really changed me, I feel like I am getting to fulfil my purpose for being here. But all that aside, l do miss my family back home. l know they are so proud of me and everything l have achieved. We will definitely be having a good Christmas this year when I come home.

In my last report l mentioned my host family, my host ‘mumma’ Jackie and ‘auntie’ lani and her family. They have since left the hostel, they went in February and March for different reasons. Of course the whole hostel was upset as they’ve both been a huge part of the children’s lives, and they miss them dearly. But we have a new host family: Our new matron Alena we call her ‘Nau’ which is the Fijian word for Mum. Nau is great! We are always laughing and joking, she looks after me and treats me like a daughter! We also have an assistant matron Anita, she’s full of life and we get on well, she’s Indian so we now get to learn more about her culture and the food.

Here’s a photo of me and Nau

School! Everything there is still great. I am a lot more confident there and more hands on! I certainly approach tasks in a different way to before. In term 1 I was part of class 3 helping the teacher with the class and was able to teach too. I miss that class so much there were so many different personalities in there and l still refer to them as my class sometimes!

In term 2 l was placed with the transition class. They are a lot younger than class 3 but it’s nice to have a change, the children are always great in every class. l was put in charge of decorating the classroom as it was so bare! I enjoyed having control over that and its brought out my creative side! I’ve now just started term 3 my final term and its different again, Marsha (my volunteer partner) and her class, and my class, have now been put together as one big class. Marsha and I have also decided on a project that were doing – a playroom in our classroom. Term 3 also has the special Olympics which is held in Sigatoka, a couple of hours away. I’m very excited about this and I’m looking forward to cheering on our school!

One of the highlights was a visit to the school by the Fiji Rugby Team, the children were very excited – and so were the adults!

What l love most at the school is spending time with the children. Having a laugh with them, singing, being silly, telling jokes. It just makes everything else worthwhile!

In April we had a 2 week holiday from school so Marsha and l decided to go travelling. It was a good chance to explore more of Fiji. Fiji is made up of around 333 islands, of which around 100 have life on. On our trip we visited 6 different places, took ferries and endless amount of bus journeys. I loved every minute of the ‘backpacker’ experience, (maybe not the early morning starts though). I had two favourite places: the first was Savusavu, l think because it reminded me most of past holidays I’ve been on with my family, with its lovely harbour. Trip Advisor describes Savusavu as pure paradise. I also loved Taveuni, known as the Garden Island. We hiked for 4 hours there to reach beautiful waterfalls, well worth the exhausting hike!

In June Marsha and I arranged a day out to the beach for our host family sisters and brother from the hostel. We had a great day as a family together. I certainly want to take them to the beach again before Marsha and l leave.

Although times can be tough, and we have been faced with challenges along the way, I really do love this place, its became a second home. It will be so hard saying goodbye to everyone especially my host family. But until then I will continue to enjoy every moment!

My next report will be in November before l leave.


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