I am home from Fiji safe and sound, arrived on Sunday after 19 hours of flight time and 2.5 days of travel in transit. My children Hannah and Nicholas greeted me with hugs and kisses as I walked through the door as burst into tears of happiness and exhaustion. It was a truly incredible and life altering experience in Fiji. As the jet lag is wearing off, my homesickness of Fiji is kicking in and I am already in plans for my return visit! There is so much help that is required and the people of Fiji are the most gracious and loving people I have ever met. They are so very thankful for our help and that is why I feel compelled to give more to these most amazing people of Fiji. In such a short period of time I immersed myself in the Fijian customs and traditions and made a family away from home in my homestay village of Savu. I miss them dearly already and an truly anxious for my arrival back to the village of Savu and work bringing help to the well deserving villagers of Fiji.
On our first day at the school, the Fiji Times came to see what it is that we were up to. They wrote a pretty special story about what it is that we were doing and the money raised and I am excited to share it with you. Please enjoy J
Canadian volunteers at Vugalei school
Thursday, May 13, 2010
WORK began immediately for 22 Volunteer Eco Students Abroad (VESA) members carting concrete blocks, iron rods and pipes for refurbishing old classrooms and building a water tanks at Vugalei Distict School in Naimasimasi, Tailevu.
The team of Canadian volunteers was out in full force straight after a short welcome by teachers, students and parents, who were at the school to meet their guests.
Sweating from the humidity, one of the volunteers was seen vomiting after carrying a concrete block uphill where the team plan to build a water reservoir for the school.
The project team says VESA director Tom McDowell will be in the country until July working with three schools that had been identified for their first volunteer visit here in the country with a total cost of $100,000.
Work at Vugalei District School is scheduled to last one week before the team takes a break in between projects at the three schools. Their next project will be a few kilometres to Tai District School before their final destination, Lomeri School in Serua.
The first batch of VESA volunteers is chosen from 1000 applicants received. They had to pay their own way from Canada just to be part of the volunteer group now in the country.
“The team consisting of arts, law, nursing, information technology and teaching university students will be engaged in their field whenever the need arises,” Mr Mcdowell said.
Education officer Amena Tamanalevu, who is originally from Naimasimasi, was at his old village school personally to support the project yesterday.