Sunday, July 5, 2009


Yadra! (This means good morning. If it is not morning when you are reading this, please replace it with the appropriate time of day).

We, the HELP Fiji team, have been really busy. Look below for our schedule this past week.

The schools team went to the Yaladro primary school where they worked on phonics with 1st and 2nd classes, and creative art projects with the 3rd and 4th classes. The team is really excited about the art projects and so are the kids. The gardening team went to Ruku Ruku to show all the dedicated gardeners how to plant the seeds that we give them. The people here often use more seeds than necessary, and we hope to show them how to cut costs. The business team also went to Ruku Ruku for a business lesson. Monday night Korovo Village had two health lessons; one for the rugby team, and one for the children. The children made booklets that summarized all of the health lessons that they have already had.

On Tuesday half of the team went to Nasomo and the other half went to Drumasi. In Nasomo we first had a business meeting with the women, and then a health lesson. Meanwhile, anyone who wasn’t teaching spent time in the Kindergarten with the kids teaching them songs in English and learning the colors. After the business and health lessons, the gardening team went to teach how to plant seeds in the previously built square foot gardens.
In Drumasi gardens were also planted, and a lesson was taught on Mind/Body health. The women’s group in Drumasi also had their first lesson on adobe stoves, and the team is excited to start working with them on that.
In the afternoon the business team taught a lesson to a women’s group in Tavua Levu. There was also English tutoring in Ruku Ruku with the kids there. The theme for the tutoring was The Sea, and we played many games with ocean related vocabulary. The kids love the games.
Tuesday night the team held four different meetings in under an hour and a half. It had to be a record or something. They also cleaned the entire house in preparation for their site visit from Roger. The health team also taught their last first aid class to the rugby team that night.

Roger, his wife Deanne, and a new volunteer, Whitney, arrived at 5:00 a.m.
The team went to Nasomo again. They taught a business class and a health class to the men, and then helped them plant their gardens. Once again, any volunteer with a little free time went and help the kids learn at the Kindergarten.
Wednesday afternoon there was supposed to be tutoring at the Library, but only two girls showed up, and the team is still confused as to what happened. Usually there are two many kids at the library and not enough volunteers to read with them.

Thursday started bright and early with stoves and gardens at Tavua Levu. Some stoves in Tavua Levu had dried, and HELP provided chimneys. HELP volunteers taught a business lesson in the lovely village of Nadolodolo, which went well. Different volunteers taught a health lesson at the Gold Foundation (a nonprofit that has a lot of contacts and helps us reach new groups) offices to the women living in Tavua Town.
In the afternoon, some volunteers went to Ba to teach a business seminar there to the Ba Youth Group, while other volunteers went to the local Tavua District Secondary to help with peer tutoring. Peer tutoring, it turns out, had been cancelled, but the teachers had the students staying after class finishing other work with another student who had already completed it. It smelled like peer tutoring to the schools team, so they were okay with being cancelled.

Friday morning some volunteers headed of to Yaladro to teach a lesson on food-born illnesses, while others went to supervise a stove being built in Nadolodolo. After teaching the food-born illness lesson, the same volunteers dropped in at the Yaladro School to talk to the teachers there, and see if they needed anything done.
Friday afternoon we were supposed to supervise another stove in Tavua Levu, but the people were not ready, so the stove was rescheduled for Monday

Bula Vinaka

Second Wave has arrived, bringing some new blood into the mix and spicing things up a bit. Everyone has been put into their respective projects and enthusiasm is boundless.

The Business team means business as they are heading into new areas. They have found that there are some aspects of the Fijian culture that are different from the American style of business, and so they are adapting lessons to fit with the Fijian’s needs and address the Fijian culture. Some of our business students have really taken to book keeping, which is a big step and the business team is thrilled.

The Gardening team rocks, says Ben, one of the project leads. In Nadolodolo there are more than ten gardens that have been started. One of the men there watched the DVD we gave him and has since built an elevated garden. Needless to say that he exceeded expectations and the team is anxious to see how his garden will continue.

The Hospital Health team is planning for World Population Day (theme: Educate Women, Eradicate Poverty). The plans so far include going into four different schools and teaching girls that they have a choice in life and that they are powerful.

In the villages the Village Health team is focusing on teaching hygiene and women’s health.

The School team is looking to expand. They are already working in two schools, two villages, and a library. They are setting up peer tutoring in the schools and hope that the programs work.

Yaladro continues to be a favorite project for everyone. The women and men there are eating up the health lessons.

The Emergency Prep team is going to Suva on Friday to check up on Dr. Frost Steele’s food drier project. They are preparing interview questions and hope to find out more about emergency preparation in Fiji so that more projects can develop from there.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Welcome to Fiji

We are the first pilot team to serve in Fiji with HELP-International. We will spend our summer living in a rural village on the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu initiating our own development projects. There is a high level of poverty in Fiji that has become more desperate due to recent flooding which has strained the food supply and displaced thousands. Potential projects for this summer include: disaster relief, organic gardens, food drying, orphanages, business mentoring, micro-credit, public health, HIV/AIDS awareness, and construction (clean water systems, schools, latrines, showers, etc.).

We are exciting for the many opportunities that lie ahead! As volunteers, we will be in-country anywhere from six weeks to four months. Please enjoy reading about our experiences and how we are committed to eliminating poverty worldwide. Let us know how we are doing and if you have any helpful suggestions.