Hello to all you faithful followers of the progress of Fiji. We are having a great time serving, teaching, learning, and experiencing. I won't lie I feel that most of the time I am the student being served by them. The people are so giving and love their culture. What a great thing it is to be here.
As far as projects go, we have many up and running. In the last post you read about many of them. I have been so proud of our team as we have all worked our hardest to not just serve, but create sustainable projects. When first arriving in Fiji many of us wanted to serve the people so much that we would build a garden or stove for them while they stood by as idle observers. Yet, after these experiences we saw the lack of motivation to take care of their garden, stove, etc. As a team we discussed this problem and brainstormed ways to we can improve our presentation and teaching. We determined that we need to REALLY educate and teach the people instead of doing everything for them. I believe this to have been a big lesson for many. It is easier to do everything yourself. So, we have been setting goals about how to push oursleves aside and really focus on the development of the individuals with which we work. Now, instead of making an adobe stove or garden for the villages, we are allowing the people in the villages do the building and constructing with our guidance and supervision. Many of the villagers have participated and have found it to be an enjoyable new experience.As we have implemented this new way of serving we have seen great success. The people understand more and find a new sense of ownership with the project. With this sense of ownership and excitment about what THEY made, they are more dedicated to taking care of it and sharing their knowledge with others. We are starting to really encourage those that have learned a particulkar skill to teach a family member or friend. As they have done so we have seen the people become empowered. This is our purpose...to empower the people of Fiji through sustianable development.
From the beginning of the experience to now, my vision of how to empower others has changed. I now realize to a new extent that people are not empowered until they believe in their individual ability to change and improve. As we assist them to change themselves, they then will want to improve and change the world around them. I am so grateful to have learned this and hope to take this lesson and empower others in Fiji, the U.S., and the world.
From the land of smiles,