Highlights of the trip:
– Meeting all the children. In particular joining them at meals times and getting to know them.
– I had collected 22.5kgs of craft supplies to take over for the children. We had craft sessions together where we let our imagination run wild and created all sorts! It was great to see the children being creative with all the supplies I had managed to source.
– During my stay I became part of the family of my host. She exposed me to what it really is like to be part of a FIjian family. Whilst I was there her uncle in law passed away and I was able to attend the funeral and burial with her and her family. This was an amazing cultural experience for me.
– As a result of the cyclone there were people within the community that had lost their homes. Outside of the orphanage work, Mila, my host also helps the community. We went and visited a family who had lost their home which was a very humbling experience. She has managed to find donors to build them a new house which will be able to withstand future cyclones.
Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
– My host was the director of the orphange which made it very easy to integrate into the team and living arrangements.
– All team members are very lovely. However, you need to put yourself out there and keep asking them for things to do to make the most of your time. Talk to everyone and have a go at everything.
– Food was great. We ate mostly local food. They were generally able to cater for my gluten intolerance which was appreciated.
– Accomodation was beautiful and had everything you need.
Any improvements to help us be better:
– Looking for ways to decrease the expense as this is a barrier to most people volunteering.
Chelsea Kennedy (New Zealand – Price Waterhouse Coopers)
More about Fiji Orphanage Project