Bula from Fiji! Again, it seems crazy that I am here on these Islands that a few months ago I thought I would never go to. It still feels surreal, but right from the moment I arrived it was obvious that I was in a completely different part of the world, with a completely different culture and of course, completely different nature.
Getting out of the plane (unfortunately in the dark) I was greeted by warm temperatures and music played by men in their traditional fijian outfit. Transport to my hostel for the first night had been arranged so I squeezed in a tiny car with a couple from Sinagpore, two massive suitcases and the driver took us to the hostel. I say it had been arranged but really the drive took longer than I expected (even though we weren't exactly driving slow) so I was kind of thinking they might have confused me with someone else and hoping I would arrive at the right hostel. I was relieved when it turned out we did and all the people I met that evening were extremely friendly and welcoming.
The hostel was right at the beach and there was a beach bonfire with people singing that night, surrounded by palm trees and hammocks between them I really thought I was in one of those movie scenes. This is how it looked the next morning, before I went back to the airport to get transport to Suva.
So, let’s get to what I’m actually doing here. As I said, I wanted traveling to be an important part of my gap year and I had heard from volunteering experiences and thought that it would be a very good way to combine traveling with getting to know the local culture while helping it and also meeting a lot of nice people, be it from there or from all around the world. I ended up choosing Fiji for various reasons, obviously Fiji has an image of paradise, it is also very exotic to me, never having left Europe apart from the States; I had heard about how friendly, happy, relaxed and welcoming the Fijians are ( which I can say is true so far), I also have friends from here and Fiji just sounds exciting.
After a 4.5 h busride (the last one didn't have windows and casually drives with the door open) I arrived at the volunteer house near Suva where I will be living for six weeks while I take part in the project called Kindergarten. The first week was introduction week so we had different activities each day to get to know the fijian culture and the area around Suva. I don’t really know what to write because there is so much to say about the first days, but luckily I met a bunch of really cool people from different places and the coordinators of our programs are also very nice (just as pretty much every Fijian) and even though the house here is not at all near the beach and we’re a bit crammed in here we’ve had a really good time so far.
There is a big lack of wifi (you don’t say) but I will try to get this up and write more about the house, the project, and what we’ve got up to this week.