Welcome to GVI Fiji's Community Development Programme blog. Here you can keep up to date with our projects in Fiji.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reports From the Field: Phil


So here I sit in GVI's field base here in Fiji. The base has been named 'Tovuto' (Fijian for whale and a symbol of respect and prosperity) and the new sign boldly stating this alongside the GVI logo and the Yasawa Trust foundation lies on the floor being painted by Penny. There is a social atmosphere here – I’m seated next to Sean from Pennsylvania who is teaching a bunch of us to play card games with Joe from the village and we have just finished our evening meal. Other volunteers hail from Australia, USA, New Zealand and the UK with more expected from around the world over the coming weeks.

Days on the construction project are hard work / hilarious. This is the first time I have commuted to work over sea and it is a great way to wake up in the morning. We have installed a water tank this week that involved digging, mixing and pouring concrete, fixing guttering and enjoying some Fiji-time – basically making sure you can sit back and relax on a regular basis before scratching your head or working up a sweat.

There is plenty of work site banter, either from the teammates (thinking of Sam’s less than successful verbal banter regarding my new found abilities as a builder and my taste for gardening gloves) or the villagers in Nacula where we are currently working. Even hard labour is made more jolly with the villagers shouting random phrases and chants such as ‘keep the change’ for any event or ‘spoon the sugar’ for pouring concrete.

There is a great GVI team in Fiji, lead by Dan and Leti, and they are extremely friendly and fun whilst also having a clear understanding of why they are here and always consider the impact of working with the Fijian people. I can’t imagine a successful project with just volunteers alone.

One of the more surprising aspects of the GVI Fiji experience was the food. Both on base and in the village we have all enjoyed an amazing culinary experience. Forget beans and rice with ‘maybe fish’ and ‘probably no meat’ and think fresh foods, great variety and fun times in the kitchen. We have been really fortunate to enjoy lots of fresh fish, some crab and a few improvised dishes such as Ratatouille, curry, pancakes, Bolognese, porridge, fruit, toast and stir fries all from two cooking hot plates and no oven.

If you feel the need to embark on something different, maybe outside of your comfort zone and appreciate hard work plus relaxation then I would certainly suggest GVI Fiji as a good prescription.


Dr Phil