|Humbling and Enriching Fiji Trip - 21 February 2019|
Of my 17 years of living, the two weeks we spent at Fiji were the most humbling and enriching experience so far.
In a village of 800 people called Dratabu, 10 minutes away from Nadi airport, we were housed with 8 other people — our host mother, sisters, brothers, nieces, and grandchildren. As our host mother, Lavenia, would say, “Everyone is family in the village,” so it was easy to see that anyone was welcome in her house.
Our living conditions were great. We each had a comfortable bed though there was no hot water for showers. By the end of the fortnight, we ended up looking forward to a cold shower each night.
Every day, Lavenia would prepare for us a delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These were always served with a plate of fresh fruit such as a pineapple or mango.
We spent our weekdays teaching the primary school kids for a few hours a day. Our supervisor warned us that the children can play up a bit but they were really well-behaved kids with the most pure and kind hearts. They showed us many of their favourite dances and sang their favourite songs while we taught them our favourite childhood games. Our project for the trip was to paint the school and we did this after we’d taught the kids.
It was great to play with the kids and form connections with them at the school but it was truly enriching to see them again around the village. As we walked to and from home to school we would hear the children, and others, calling out ‘Bulla!’ which means hello, many of them running out and walking with us.
While we immersed ourselves into the Dratabu village life, we learned how kind and genuine Fijians are. No matter how old — whether 9 years old or 70 – they’re always willing to help others and put others before themselves.
It was such a refreshing and heartwarming trip that made the goodbye the hardest we’ve ever had.