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.

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