Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spankin' NEW blog!

For all those faithful donors, family, and friends of Fiji Team 2011:

We have changed our blog site! Check out the new blog at:




Click on the blogs tab.

Click on Fiji.

Read on and enjoy :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Moce Viti

To our faithful followers and readers,

Things have officially come to a close for HELP International this summer in Fiji. Everything ended extremely well. Many new relationships with partners were forged. Many individuals and villagers were reached and most important, all of the volunteers are safe.

As the Country Directors, we are extremely proud of all the work that was accomplished in Fiji this summer. Each volunteer really contributed to the team and we are so grateful for your decision to spend your time with us in Fiji.

We feel like we learned a lot this summer, especially from the people of Fiji. They are extremely warm and welcoming and we will miss them dearly. They are anxious for the return of HELP International next year, and we are excited for the growth and development that will surely follow in years to come.

Thank you to all of our donors and supporters. We really appreciate your contributions and for making these experiences possible for our team. We wish you all the best.

Signing off from the LAX airport,
Team Fiji
HELP International 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010


So here in Fiji we have been teaching english to the boys at the vielomani boys home in Ba. It is both a school for boys that dropped out of the regular school system and a home for neglected boys. The english classes are so fun. i never thought i would ever be a teacher, but teaching these boys made me think that its not a bad option for me. There has been some improvement in their english skills as well, which is exciting to see. After the school day they all line up in military fashion and sing a song to us about how we are all apart of God's family. It really puts things into perspective that we are all one big family. We also tutor the boys that actually live in the home.They are so fun and often break out into Justin Beiber songs. Being able to help these boys over come their challenges and live successful lives has been very rewarding indeed.

we also have been teaching some fitness classes to the villages and schools. It is a blast to work out with these people and it is funny at times. its not in their culture to do much exercise so it is good to see them get out of their comfort bubble and learn some ways to be more healthy. I also teach taekwondo and have been having fun teaching some of the kids some kicks and things. they love that kind of stuff out here. Its a big hit.

- Robert Mann

Monday, August 9, 2010

Courtney LeBaron!

Fiji has been quite a great experience. I have been in Fiji all three waves, which is from May to the end of August. I would have to say, it’s not what I expected it to be. Honestly speaking, where are the beaches?! I am on this small island and the closest beach to us is one hour away and it’s covered in mangroves! I still live in a beautiful, CLEAN house and I can even see the ocean from here. How to get to it? I don’t know. It definitely did not disappoint me, I was just very surprised. I also didn’t expect it because the people here are EXTREMELY nice. I’m sure volunteers have blogged about it in past posts. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. They have taught me a lot. When I arrive home I will now feel obligated to give my house guests tea, juice and cookies. I can count on one hand of how many times they have NOT given me refreshments. They are so content with what little they have. The children’s teeth are rotting and they have scabies and yet the mothers do not care, don’t even realize it or can’t afford it. The reason I think it is a fault that they are so nice is because when we come to do work they just like to sit with us, drink some tea and be in our company. It’s great, I love it! They make me want be a better person. Alright, so now that I have given you an image of what it’s like here, I’ll talk business. The first two waves, I worked with PRISM a lot. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a medical organization that goes out to underprivileged villages and gives them free medications. An American doctor named Dr. Animesh volunteers his time nine months out of the year to serve these people. It is usually Monday thru Wednesday and pretty much all I do is both height and weight or pack their medications in a bag. The doctor is amazing and very inspiring. He tells me what is going on with the patients (because of the language barrier and “doctor talk”) and some have severe cases but some are as small as a fever. Most just have diabetes. Their diet here is, let’s just say, not “whole food” material. They cook with SO much oil and eat so much starch. There were a few Typhoid cases which was very interesting to learn what it was all about. The third wave, which is now, Stacie and I are in charge of the fitness group. It’s been going so well and it is honestly really fun/funny. We work on stretching, a little bit of cardio and toning (sit-ups, push-ups etc.) Sometimes we put on music and they go crazy and laugh. We work with women’s groups which are ladies from villages that get together and all I know is, they sit around together? We also teach them the importance of fitness and we challenge them to work out without us during the week. It seems as though these ladies do not move around during the day and they definitely need it. Skinny to them is our fat to us. They may be a little harsh but if you’re chubby, you are considered healthy. We are not trying to make them skinny, we are trying to teach them to exercise and get the blood flowing because the biggest problem here is diabetes and exercise prevents it. This experience has taught me leadership, loyalty and to really appreciate everything I have because for goodness sakes, I didn’t realize how great and timeless a washer and dryer were. Not to mention warm showers as being a bonus. I have to say, it has been worth it, even when I crave a big cheeseburger every night.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Moving Trees is Hard Work

Recently a group of us volunteers went to a primary school to teach health and fitness and I was able to teach square foot gardening. The children as well as the teachers at this school are quite amazing. I was explaining that they would need a frame for their garden and while most people use metal sheets or spare timber, I looked out the window during their recess break to see the sixth grade children rolling coconut tree trunks across the field to use as their garden frame. I was thoroughly impressed and continued to be impressed as the children listened to everything I taught them and answered with prompt action. They rolled tree trunks, shoveled dirt, cut down sticks, planted the seeds, and finally watered the garden. The watering may sound like the easiest part however their hose hookup was not working so while one child held up a very heavy jug of water, another had to help balance the first child and splash the water so as to spread it evenly throughout the garden and not wash away the seeds. It is hard to explain but basically it was a very difficult task but once again the students rose to the occasion. Later I learned that this school is the poorest in its area and recieves the bare minimum from the government. They have told us multiple times how grateful they are for our service there and for the time we spend with their students.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

[cream] buns of steel

Bula bulumakau!

I am one of the leads over the fitness program here in Fiji. We go to different villages and schools and teach the importance of exercise and how it can help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The past Tuesday we went to a village called Matanagada (which is extremely hard to pronounce in Fijian) to teach fitness to a few women. Before we went, we had to call and come at a different time because of a conflict of schedule, so not too many women showed up. But we taught those who did come and they loved every minute of every drop of sweat rolling down their faces! Usually the people who attend our fitness classes are older women and their small children trying to stretch an exercise with us. However, we also go to a senior center in Ba and teach simple exercises to the elderly population that they can do if the get stiff while sitting. I learned them from an airplane brochure. Though fitness sometimes brings its challenges such as lack of attendance or non-participation, the people here overall enjoy the knowledge we can give them about caring for their bodies.

Moce doce

Gardens that will knock your socks off (You don't want to be wearing socks anyway, it's pretty hot)

I am the lead over Square Foot Gardening and its great! Even with the Fiji heat beating down on my back, I don’t mind leaning over some soil and planting seeds if the people are there helping and learning.

I happen to be in love with a village near Lautoka called Vanuakula. This village is idyllic, they love every one of our projects and they embrace each of them. We built one single garden in their village and throughout the last few months, they have built a new one each week. I think they have about eight by now.

The beauty of that is that that is what HELP International is all about! It’s not about us coming in and giving the people food and solving their problems for the short run. No, we are about sustainability! So I find it so motivating to see a village that learned from us and took it and ran with it! Gardens are important because they save the people here the money that it costs to get transportation to the market and also from buying their vegetables there. It may not seem like a lot but when you don’t have much, that little bit adds up. Also, they love doing it! There is a certain sense of accomplishment that comes with building your own garden, caring for it and seeing the produce that comes from your hard work.

Basically, being here is really hot, kinda hard and mostly just perfect.