Past volunteers

Volunteer stories: Laura Burnett


Laura Burnett

We’ve been out of the village for two days now and it’s a bit of a shock to be considered tourists now rather villagers, but at least we know that we are tourists with amazing stories to tell!

I’m sure I speak on behalf of all of the team when I say leaving Naicabecabe was one of the toughest things we’ve ever had to do. Sunday, our last full day in the village, was a cheerful one; the church service was long and emotional for both the team and the villagers but at the same time quite hilarious thanks to Helen and Danielle’s family. Grandad brought a smile to our faces when he cleared his throat and accurately spat between the glass slats of the window, then baby Bose went for a wander and got stuck in the pulpit. After church, Vas and his family put on a wonderful feast for us and it was great to spend one last meal together in the community hall.

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying time with our families and friends sharing our favourite moments of the last nine weeks before enjoying our final dinner with our families. Sunday evening and through to Monday morning could only be described as intensely emotional. Most of us made the wise decision to take a short nap before hitting the grog for the rest of the night. As the time to leave crept slowly closer, it became more and more difficult to look those closest to us in the eye without breaking down in tears.

By sunrise, even concentrating on a game of pick up sticks wasn’t helping. It was at 5.30am when we took our rucksacks to be loaded onto the boats that it truly hit everyone that we were leaving and that the previous evening was just a taster of the emotions that were to follow. Just as breakfast was laid on the floor, it was time to leave. Everyone congregated at the sea wall, ready to say our final goodbyes.

It’s impossible to explain how hard it was to say farewell to such amazing people. At the same time as being totally devastating to walk out to the boat for one last time to the sound of You are my sunshine, it was so heart warming to see that our friends and family were equally as devastated to see us leave them as we were. Now that we’ve started our adventure stage of the trip, it still feels difficult to even think about Monday morning and the great friends we have left behind.

Feeling so devastated to leave the village has only made me more determined to return in the near future and visit my Fijian family and friends year after year.

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I'm so grateful that I was able to be a part of Think Pacific. You have really created a great organisation and I love the fact that it is so small and personal.
Joe Lawrence, Shropshire
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