Yesterday, I had one of the best days of my placement yet. As a GVI scholar I have been acting as a staff member for community projects for two months now. This process has been a true learning experience and I will never forget what I have learnt along the way, and also the fun that I have had. For me, yesterday represented this whole learning experience, so far, coming together.
It started the same way many mornings here begin, with a boat ride to Nacula Island to start the school day. I remembered the keys, the box, and the lunch (small personal victories) and began the day settling the volunteers back into their classes. Within ten minutes I was notified that the representatives from UNICEF and other local NGOs were coming to the school to discuss and scope out the work we have done for rainwater harvesting. After a moment of nerves I was excited to meet and chat about the exciting things that were going on at Ratu Meli Memorial School. When the representatives arrived at the school Katie, Tovuto Base Manager, and myself introduced ourselves and had a quick chat about the work we had been doing. Everyone seemed excited and impressed about the work that had been done and the plans that were coming together to do more. This was welcome information and made me feel that the work we had been doing was well-worth it. After this quick meeting together it was already lunchtime, time passes quickly here, and we walked down to Nacula village where the ladies make us lunch every Tuesday. After a delicious lunch of homemade Fijian delicacies we were invited to a women’s meeting to discuss a cleaning committee for the school. Speaking with the women in the village was empowering and made me realise once more, that the women here are incredibly strong and driven. We walked back to school and got some proper work done in the classrooms and the library and before I knew it, it was time to head home already.
When we arrived back at Tovuto Base the monsters (cute kids around base) met us on the beach. They were excited because it was Robbie’s, the smallest monster’s, birthday! Birthday’s are an especially big deal on base and for this one we were notified that a turtle island cake had been ordered. For those of you who have ever had it you understand why it’s such a big deal. It’s so rich and moist and packed with sugar and butter, which are hard to come by on the islands. It is a delicious treat and when it happens to be ordered you know it’s a special occasion. After singing, celebrating, and stuffing our faces I was happy to go back to work and do some basic education training with the new volunteers at the school. After some time going over teaching methods and English language practises it was free time and I began to study for my Open Water, yet another perk of the job. I have wanted to dive since I was 9 years old and now, thanks to the staff on base and the opportunities GVI has given me to experience my scholarship in such a beautiful and tropical place, I can finally get it.
Successful day? Ya, I love my job!
Hayley Marshall – Community Scholar