Past volunteers

Volunteer stories: Lucy Lomax

Stickie Teaching

The experience of the past 4 weeks in the village has been one I will never forget. Leaving Niubasaga was one of the saddest things I have had to witness in a long time. I knew the morning we left was going to be hard but it turned out to be almost painful in saying goodbye to the family that had been so incredibly kind, generous and welcoming to me and Cassie throughout our stay. Breakfast the morning we were leaving was a silent one which is the opposite to our normal busy, chatty breakfasts before our walk to school. Our mother was crying and neither Cassie nor I had anything to say that wouldn’t make us cry more so we just sat there eating silently. The sadness only reflects the impression they had made on us and hopefully the impression we had made on them during our short stay.

Sitting on the floor drinking ridiculously sugary tea after dinner and listening to 2 of my younger brothers playing the guitar and singing was a regular occurrence and a memory that will stay with me for a long time. Peni was the biggest star, always playing any requests we had, and with the help of the family I finally learnt the words to Ba Nanome Youe Eke, the well known Fijian love song, which got played over and over again!

The qualities my family shared are ones I hope to take back home with me. The way that everything is shared with everyone be it the last pancake to a fishing line to taking it in turns to play the games on my phone is something that I hope to try and continue to do more of at home.

Also their kindness and generosity is another quality I will always strive to match. On leaving I was given a beautiful belt made by my father out of coconut husk and Na La gave me and Cassie wooden necklaces which we had previously worn when performing the meke in the village. The village have amazing respect for each other no matter what gender or age which is something I know the team were extremely admirable of during our stay. The faith was another aspect of Fijian life which touched me. At least once or twice a day you would hear singing coming from the church and the church drum banging at half past 5 in the morning signalling time for prayer.

I am so happy to have been a part of the lives of a small number of people in Niubasanga. I will never again take for granted the running water, electricity or the easy transport I am lucky enough to have at home. They are content with what they have and just as happy to enjoy each other’s company by oil lamp in the evenings as we usually are to spend the evenings in front of a television screen.

A huge thankyou to Harry, Benjy and Tim who have made the trip an unforgettable one. All the leaders are equally hilarious in their own way and have always been around for a chat or to answer a question or to have a good old banter session about Jamie’s accent (graaaaavvvy).

Without a doubt the expedition has been the best and most worthwhile experience I have ever had and without the careful planning and immense effort from the leaders this would not have been possible. Thank you Think Pacific for allowing me to make a difference to the amazing people of Fiji and for giving me an experience which I will be able to reflect on and treasure for a very long time!

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I had the absolute time of my life with Think Pacific. Everything was just so far beyond what I could have asked for, or expected.
Alex Jenkinson, Belfast
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