Past volunteers

Volunteer stories: Fi Johnston


Fi Johnston

Today is day 55 of my trip and the past eight weeks have gone so quickly! It is really difficult to sum up everything that I have experienced since arriving in Fiji but I will do my best to tell you what it’s been like for me so far. 

I am loving life in Nasavuki. The Fijians have a very open, generous and sharing lifestyle; I have never experienced this kind of community before. All the kids behave like brothers and sisters; it’s just like one huge Nasavuki family! I could have about twenty meals a night if I said yes every time someone invited me in for dinner.

I’ve been on the build today and it’s very exciting as we finish off the last few bits before Jack leaves. Putting the hinges on the windows and tidying up – I’m just watching Ashleigh Campbell sweep very half-heartedly! I cannot believe that we have now finished the hall, it’s an awesome achievement. I don’t think I’ll ever build one again though so my improved nailing and hammering skills are going to go to waste! We will all be so sad to see Jack go home tomorrow; I think he knows how we feel though because we haven’t stopped hugging him all morning! We are having a big dinner all together tonight as a send off for the great boat builder himself. He doesn’t like a fuss being made though so he’s doing his best to get out of it. Apparently he told all the Fijians that he’s leaving the day after so they’ll plan his dinner a day late!

Spear fishing last week was very exciting. I overcame my initial worries about jumping into shark-central in the pitch black by holding Imogen’s hand as we swam around with Sami our fellow Fijian fisher. Imi got the first fish she shot so there was a lot of pressure on me and I missed twice! I still enjoyed the experience though, on the way back to the village I actually felt cold for the first time since I arrived in Fiji.

The netball tournament in Levuka last weekend taught me a lot about Fiji time! We were up at 4am so we could register the Nasavuki/Think Pacific team as we still hadn’t but when we finally got to Levuka our first thought was of breakfast!! Everything turned out fine though and we were able to play.

At one point we even thought we might get to the quarter finals because our first two opponents hadn’t turned up but our hope was ruined because they did arrive and they totally smashed us! There was a long wait before our final match and it had been raining all morning so team morale was dropping. But we turned it around and when we finally did play we won the match which was a good way to end the morning! 

A group of us went up into the bush after sport the other day to try and do some preparation for the Rukuruku trek. At the top of the ridge you can see for miles, Caqelai on one side and Ovalau on the other. It is very beautiful and made me realise that I forget where I am sometimes!

Even though it’s only week seven my Fijian family are already getting upset about us leaving which is very sad!  I think we will all find it very difficult to leave the village and our families who have made us feel so at home here but still I am so looking forward to the next three weeks, teaching and painting the hall in particular. I will leave it at that as this has taken me far too long already!

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The whole 5 weeks was absolutely amazing, never a dull moment, it really was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Katie Thorn, Derbyshire
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