Sorry for the delay – I spent a few extra days exploring Fiji so I just got back a few days ago. Please see response below:
Highlights of the trip: I know it’s cliche but the kids at the School truly were the highlight. They were kind, respectful, and so full of love. I felt welcome the moment I had arrived on the island. I work with kids in the States and they are not nearly as happy, grateful, or sweet as this bunch was. I will miss them immensely and enjoyed spending time with them even when not at school (swimming at the beach, etc.).
Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
Masi and Lauren were wonderful in terms of communication, etc. before the trip. The accommodations were basic, as was the food, but as much is to be expected.
Any improvements to help us be better:
A few things…
I think the Island welcome back should include a bit more information, as some of the amenities that are available on the mainland are not available. For example, the Fiji welcome pack states that there is no wifi in the homes, but Internet Cafes are widely available, which of course is not the case on the island. I was anticipating at least a small grocery story on the island, but there was no such thing. I was also told that I could find out what supplies the school/my host family needed once I was there and then purchase it on the island to help support the village but these items were not available on the island. I felt bad leaving without giving a gift or buying much needed supplies. I think letting the volunteers know that they need to gather these things, and anything else they may need from the mainland, such as toiletries from a pharmacy or non-perishable snacks from the market, would be very helpful. I ended up sending a box full of supplies to my host family, but it cost me $140 USD to ship it, so it would have been easier and more cost effective for me to organize and prepare before heading out to the island.
I was very happy with my experience, but was a bit surprised with how basic it truly was. I think I could have prepared myself slightly better if I had known.
Thank you again! It was a wonderful experience and one that I won’t soon forget!!