With only a week left at Tovuto base its hard to imagine experiencing life any other way than we have been doing in the past month. The friends we’ve made, the people we’ve met and the children we’ve worked with have changed our outlook on life and what travelling and volunteering is really about.
Since meeting a month ago, over 36 hours away from our home, it came as a surprise that the friends and experiences we began to treasure soon replaced our home comforts. After only a short period of time waking up with 14 people sleeping around you becomes a comfort that we all agree will be greatly missed when we return home. It cant be denied that embarking on such a magnificent journey such as this can be daunting and isn’t for the faint hearted, however, what better place to over come personal obstacles than walking on white sandy beaches and working with children as amazing as the children here at Ratu Meli Memorial School.
The children here are like no other, the love and appreciation you receive from them for helping within their lessons continues to astound us. From helping a child to spell to teaching them valuable life lessons the smiles and hugs you receive come above and beyond any monetary or materialistic thanks you gain through life. Furthermore, the warm atmosphere within the school reflects that in the local village of Nacula in which we receive a weekly thank you banquet prepared for us by the women of the village. This tradition provides us with a chance to taste authentic Fijian food and build friendships within the communities which we hope in the future will help us to improve issues that so many Yasawa villages are facing in the ever changing world.
Never again will either of us face a problem in England with out considering the hard ships the children and their families face living in such a beautiful yet vulnerable socioeconomic ecosystem. When a little bad weather is received with grumbles and groans back in England, the cyclone that recently hit the Yasawa island chain quickly irradiates any complaints. When first seeing the damage at RMMS its hard to believe there were no casualties although the school is in desperate need of a new hall and boys dorm after both were destroyed. This is an issue we hope can be tackled in the future.
Overall, it would be impossible to summarise the lessons this experience has taught us in one single blog alone, but the time we have spent here will never been forgotten and means more than words could ever say. Everyday we wake up to the beautiful sun, sea and people that remind us how lucky we are to be living in such an amazing place as Fiji. Moce!
Ava Marshall & Rachel Thwaites – GVI Education Volunteers