Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lots 'o Links

So I don't have an actual post today, but I do have some links to share. The first is the article my mother helped get written in the local paper in Washington, NC about my community hall project. The funny story is that it was found in the Fiji Sun just a few days later! How did that happen?! A volunteer friend in Fiji sent a text saying that I was in the Fiji Sun on Tuesday, mere days after the article was published in NC. Wow - now I am even MORE famous!


The other link I wish to share is a guest blog posting I did for the Marine Debris program of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) at the request of my good friend Courtney. It discusses some waste issues in Fiji. So in lieu of a real blog post here, I will send you there.


You will also notice that the last posting is from my mom as a guest blog about her trip to Fiji.

A quick summary: A good friend who is a volunteer in Fiji is visiting this week to discuss money management with my village. I also threw down a waste management talk to the village as well about trash separation. This weekend we leave to go to Suva for a conference where we will meet all our fellow volunteer friends for mid-service training. We also will get the chance to meet all the new volunteers who arrived in May - the FRE8s. It will be exciting, but possibly depressing to see how enthusiastic they all are and to remember to a time gone by, when I too was that enthusiastic. I am still happy to be here, but don't see everything with fresh new eyes as they do now. After the conference, I will head to the northern island of Vanua Levu for a work exchange with a colleague - teaching his village about coral reefs and their importance. Looking forward to that. Then a mere 2 weeks later, my dad, stepmom, and lil' brother arrive for over a week!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Guest Posting from Mom

It has been a few weeks now since our visit to Fiji and I still can't believe we took the whole family halfway around the world to see Juliana on yet another adventure. We had an amazing visit with a drama and sibling rivalry free week! The biggest take-away from the trip is that Juliana has an amazing ability to nest wherever she lives. Her house is something from Swiss Family Robinson and yet it looks completely like her space. I even like this living situation a lot better than the room at NCSSM that was a converted closet!

The highlight of the trip for us was visiting the village and getting to meet the people about whom I heard so much. It was really hard not to laugh when I saw Inoke's moustache though! The lovo they prepared for us was really an honor and meeting the kids was a joy. I love the people there, but life in the villages is hard. I admire all the volunteers for making the transition and doing their best. I don't think Jules realizes how much she has contributed, but we can see it.

Rakiraki and a house on the water was fantastic. Meeting some volunteers was a treat even though we were still "parents" to them. We loved hearing their stories and seeing how well they have all connected to each other. The snorkeling was fantastic and I will never forget the neon blue starfish we saw everywhere we snorkeled.

The hardest thing for me to accept is the food availability. We all imagine this tropical place loaded with tropical fruit and veggies growing everywhere-NOT! Grocery stores are poorly stocked and only have canned or boxed goods. Sure there is frozen meat and fish, but Juliana has no refrigerator! As a local-food is not great. Restaurant food was acceptable as was the food a Wananavu, the resort next to our house. But the icing on the cake was our self-indulgent stay at The Hotel Intercontinental. That was the Fiji in the honeymoon ads with the views, infinity pools and fabulous restaurants. So we did get great food our last 2 days.

So now I am waiting for a tweet from Air Pacific telling me there is an air-fare special again and I am hopping that plane! We miss Jules terribly but we are so proud of what she is doing-if you have not gone to visit yet-which is everyone except Jason-GO!!!! You will not be sorry!
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