Past volunteers

Volunteer stories: Chris Newman


Chris Newman

As my time in Fiji draws to a close, I thought that it was time to pull my finger out and finally get a blog done so that people can hear about my time in Fiji. I am currently sat in the completed Community Hall, looking out over the spectacular bay that Nasauvuki is situated in, whilst listening to the snoring of 3 Fijians- fast asleep in front of me. The sound of a sleeping Fijian is one that I have become well acquainted with, and have also done my best to replicate over the last two and a half months.

Looking back over our time in Nasauvuki there are several highlights that really stand out for me. The obvious highlight is the completion of the Community Hall last week; after blood (a fair amount), sweat (an obscene amount), and tears (not so much) were put into getting it finished it was an incredible feeling to see it being used and appreciated by the whole village. I think that from time to time we tend to overlook the significance of what we have done for Nasauvuki in building the Village Hall, and it was summarized by my Fijian Mum the other day when she said, “generations in this village have wanted a Hall, and now we have one”.

Another highlight for me has been my work in establishing the Kindi and working with the children in the village. I was lucky enough to have two periods in the Kindi- the first two weeks, and also the very last week; this gave me the opportunity to see the progress of the children and the difference that our hard work has made.

A more personal highlight was overcoming the challenge of the Levuka Trek in week 3. Not necessarily the most challenging of walks, but with a painful knee condition it certainly posed one for me. The sense of achievement upon reaching the summit was awesome, and that sense of achievement has been felt by all throughout our stay here.

After cementing our friendships with everyone in the village it is going to be extremely difficult to leave, and if yesterday’s teary speeches at the official opening of the Hall are anything to go by, Saturday will be a highly emotional affair. I can safely say that I really do feel like a member of the community here, and that I love my family here as much as my family at home.
Since being here on Moturiki we have all adjusted to the Fijian way of life, to the extent that settling back into a “normal” life back at home may be a struggle. For me, seeing the simplicity of life in a Fijian village has changed my outlook on life at home, and made me re-evaluate my priorities. It has also highlighted how we obsess over trivial stories and possessions; often forgetting what the most important things in life are.

I am fairly confident that I am not only speaking for myself when I say that living in Nasauvuki has changed my life for the better, and that I will be forever in debt to the people of Fiji for the kindness and hospitality that they have shown towards us, and for accepting us as one of their family.

After finishing my travels I am eager to get back home, not only to see my friends and family, but to start earning again- I’ve got to pay for my flight out here next year somehow!

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It was the best experience of my life. I feel like I've come away with some of the closest friends you can ever make.
Lucy Price, Shrewsbury
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