project review

BULA BULA VINAKA!

Review submitted by Natasha Hope
Review date 11 Jul 2018

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My journey to Fiji started off with a 25 minute rickety old 10 seater propeller powered plane journey over a small section of the beautiful reef covered Pacific Ocean. As the plane was only about 3000ft into the sky the view was stunning over the clear blue ocean. Once I landed I had another 1 hour very wet but very fun boat ride to the camp site of Frontier's Fiji Marine Conservation and Diving project, tucked away on a hill in the Fijian rain forest. It was my week off to visit the new camp site, get some feedback from the RA's and staff on their new experience, and have a bit of time off from my busy schedule back in Suva - the capital city where I manage 4 voluntary community projects as part of the Frontier Fiji experience. The week I was there flew by, but I squeezed in a lot. If I were to write my day to day schedule we would be here forever so here is a quick overview of one of the most incredible weeks I have ever experienced; trekking through the rain forest on the hunt for coconuts and land crabs, sleeping in a bamboo hut, drinking too much Kava with the islanders, snorkeling and diving with reef sharks manta rays puffer fish sea cucumber and turtles, eating paw paws and giant avocado's, a bonfire on the beach, rum on the beach, bread making - and eating, sunsets from the wharf, an abundance of coconuts milk, visiting church eating a Fijian feast and generally chilling with the local village islanders who are so wonderfully kind and hospitable. The best thing about this project is the new location. Volunteers get to dive and research into unknown territory and get to stamp their own mark on the area. The first phase of volunteers to provide survey results for this area have already discovered some 'sweet' dive sites, taking it upon themselves to creative some quirky names for a few of them already. I myself, already being a member of staff, mostly enjoyed visiting the local village and generally hanging out with the islanders. I have done a fair amount of travelling/living/working in developing countries over the last 4 years and I can honestly say that Fijians have the most amazing community spirit, the biggest of smiles and are the most hospitable people I have ever met. I fully recommend a visit to Fiji, and I highly recommend signing up to one of the Frontier Fiji voluntary projects for an unforgettable inspiring coconut fueled gap year experience. If you choose to live on an island for 10 weeks I would suggest taking a large supply of food spices, vitamin supplements, peanut butter, tea bags and never forgetting sun cream! I can't wait for another visit later in the year to see how things have progressed!