VOLUNTEER NUTRITION AND PUBLIC HEALTH, FIJI
“From the moment you arrive in Fiji you will be struck by the natural beauty of the islands but equally moved by the genuine and kind-hearted Fijian people”…. these were the first couple of lines in my tourist guide and before landing I didn’t fully understand the meaning of these words.
Today, after the weeks spent with my host family and at the Health Centre, I realized that what makes this place so special are the people who live here. The Health Team was very welcoming and the way they take care of patients and volunteers made me feel like at home.
I didn`t have any expectation from this experience because it was my first time as a volunteer involved in a nutrition, dietetic and public health programme. I can definitely say it was a great experience, both culturally and professionally, and It has been incredibly exciting to help the local team to make a difference in the Fijian community.
I had different work experiences, but this was the most challenging one because I was not used to the environment and the different people`s mindset. Nevertheless, I helped with dietetic one on one consultations during the NCD`s and the Maternal Child Health clinics and I felt like I really could make a difference at the grass root level with the locals, many of whom struggle with diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. I also had a lot of fun delivering health talks in schools and helping the CCOHSI team during their interesting activities for the community.
Vinaka to everyone, for this amazing work experience and for making me more conscious of what I want to do in the future.
Veronica, March 2017