Each month I ask the kids what their favourite traveling experiences have been so far while travelling with Mum!
This month I asked Laura ( presently 19 years old)
Whats one of the experiences you have loved so far?
I loved helping out at the school while we were holidaying at the Outrigger in Fiji. I felt you got to connect with the community and see other aspects of the country other then the resorts and the touristy stuff. Getting to know the kids and seeing their education system was interesting. Also it was a nice thing to do, It didn’t take much time or effort out of your holiday to give back to others.
Why should others do it?
Because we are lucky enough to live in a country and go to a school that provides for us what we need, but not everyone has the resources for that to happen. So everyone should give some time to help.
While researching our stay at the Outrigger Resort Fiji (check out why you should stay there here) I came across an initiative by the resort to give back to the community by helping out a local school. I had been looking at how my family could be more involved in giving back and becoming more involved in helping others so thought that this would be a prime opportunity.
After being picked up by the mini bus we were transported along the dirty bumpy roads towards the Conua School. We were told that throughout the years the school had grown mainly because of the help of the volunteers and generosity of the Outrigger, work that had built a new hall/meeting place, new kindergarten, bus stop, library and computer lab. As a result new enrollments were growing at a constant rate and so two new classrooms were needed to be built. This is what we were going to help out with.
As we pulled into the school ground and were greeted by school children and locals dressed all in white. Being the day before good Friday there was to be a School and Community Easter service and we were all to be special guests. So after being shown the Kindergarten room, library and new computer lab, we were taken to the gorgeous hall. The Easter service was pretty special. Mostly in Fijian we couldn’t understand most of it obviously, but the singing and the prayers were very spiritual. During the service I become aware how important the volunteer program was to the school. Countless times they publicly thanked the Outrigger and volunteers for their help. A family within our volunteer group had fund-raised (after a previous trip) and sent money to set up most of the computers and they were thanked and prayed for in gratitude. It brought a tear to my eye to think how something so easy for us to do meant so much to them.
After a bit more of a tour around the school we set to work. Our job was to tie wire to join the wire footings, ready for the cement to be poured for the new classrooms. It seemed like a small task but one that would have taken one person a lot longer to do then our large volunteer group. We worked through the task quickly, the school children encouraging us by singing to us from the veranda. We finished, feeling like we hadn’t helped much at all as our time had been limited through the Easter service. After, we gathered around to be yet again thanked and told about future plans for the school before we were encouraged to finish off our day with interacting with the children. At first my kids were a bit stand offish but soon they all were involved with groups of Fijian children playing soccer, netball and running around exploring with new friends. In fact at one stage I think my son had nearly every student out on the soccer field with him and I lost my littlest as she was running all around the school playing tag some girls her own age!
After an amazing day (that went too quick!), with amazing people, we grabbed our packed lunch and headed back to the resort feeling inspired to do more volunteer work in the future.
Where?: Outrigger Resort, Fiji.
How much?: Adults FJ 100 and Children FJ 60
Need to know?: The Volunteering trips happen on Tues and Thurs.. book through the front desk, You don’t need to take anything.. they provide bottled water, lunch and sunscreen, wear enclosed shoes and sunhat, go with an open heart and mind and willing hands!, most of the time (from what I have heard) the tasks are harder / longer then what we did but it will always be appropriate for children to help out at (check age restriction first)
Have you ever helped out through a volunteer program while overseas?