Gaining 170 Family Members...

By Jenna, Community Volunteer Scholar 5 years ago
Categories Fiji Islands

From July-August Jenna volunteered on our Expedition program in the Yasawas for 8 weeks. She returned to Fiji at the end of September and joined our Dawasamu base as a Community Scholar. Here she shares her experience of arriving in the village…

“I had all sorts of anxiety upon arriving in Fiji again. It was hard to think I was so close to Tovuto Base and Ratu Meli Memorial School, but also knowing I was going to an entyrely new place…

I boarded my 5 hour bus to Suva excited to see what lay ahead. Luckily for me it was a bag of extra cheese twistes at a rest stop, 5 hours is a long time with out snacks. I instantaneously felt a weight off my shoulders upon arriving in Suva, a huge part of that is because how incredible GVI’s staff are. The more I learnt about the base I would soon be living on, and the responsibilities I would soon have as ‘Community Scholar / Assistant Project Leader’, the more my nervous anxiety turned into excitement.

I finally made it to Silana village, in the Dawusamu District, on the mainland (for those of you wanting to google map it), and it exceeded my expectations. It’s beautiful in an entyrely different way to the Yasawas. Instead of white sandy beaches there is volcanic black sand and hidden waterfalls you can swim in. As well as the warmest, most caring people every corner you turn. I was eager to explore but was not allowed until my ‘Sevu Sevu’, a welcome ceremony / acceptance to the village where I would present a root of Kava to the chief of the village.

At night we went to a birthday tea which consisted of 2 rows of table cloth on the floor covered in plates of all different types of cake. Shortly after we headed to my Sevu Sevu in the hall where I presented the village with a kava root. The next 6 hours were a blur of endless kava, singing, getting lost, and Fijian dancing as well as being told ‘welcome to the family’ by more people then I can process. I’ve never felt so at home. I am still overwhelmed with joy and shock at how welcoming every member of Silana has been.

The best part of the weekend still lay ahead, when I was introduced to my personal Fijian family; Mirama and little Kiani and Kelerea, also know as my best buddies.

I am so excited to get to know them, as well as the entyrety of Silana Village, better as these next 2 months go by.