Past volunteers

Volunteer stories: Tom Clark

Tom Clark

In January 2010 I set out on an adventure to a place i’d never been before and with people I’d never spoken to. It is now the first of april and as I sit in my dorm at Mama’s hostel writing this I am struggling to convey how much I have enjoyed my trip to Fiji. I was just a normal 18 year old boy when I came out to Fiji in January, but now I have experienced one of the most beautiful and friendly places on earth, with a group of people I would now call my best friends. The past two weeks since the day we left the village have really been significant for me in the way that this trip to Fiji is my gap year.     

The last day in the village was a very emotional one for us all, but I know that it was an especially emotional one for me as I left what is now mine and Sam’s very own special family. The ‘Survivors’ as we appropriately nicknamed ourselves, saw out the last night from the beginning of grog right through to when we left at around 9 am the next morning, the group consisted of myself Rob, Will, Steve, Sam, Fi and Michelle, who drunk grog and danced the night away with our Fijian friends and family, for over a good solid 12 hours. In the last few hours a  lot of tears were shed, not just from the group as we started to re-gather in the hall to say our goodbyes, but also from myself. I personally think leaving my Fijian family is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Dancing with my mother and sister, sitting next to my brother Isoa, all I could do is feel the tears running down my cheeks. To be part of this moment was sad but also special for me.

Special thanks should go to Harry and Si for choosing me to be part of this fantastic experience. Saying goodbye to the village was very rushed due to the tides going out to go to Caqalai. We spent that afternoon on the beach at Caqalai, talking about the village and the adventure stage to come. After a quiet early night on Caqalai watching a bonfire, we set off back to Viti Levu. Our first stop was safari lodge in the pacific harbour, unfortunately the weather was bad but the team pushed past it and had some fun nights out around the bar.

While at pacific harbour we had a great day white water rafting. Our boat consisted of myself, Ashleigh Dexter, Sam and Michelle. We had a great guide called Moses who really got us into it, and gave us free reign over the rapids. The weather was good and the water was high, which made the day great. The next stop was the beach house on the coast. I was lucky enough to have my birthday here. The team helped me celebrate and we all had a good time, a special thanks to Will and Chris for buying me a dirty pint. My birthday was a great day / evening, with good drinking games pool rugby and general fun. I would like to also give thanks to Imi, Cat and Michelle for making my birthday crumble, which I grudgingly shared with the team. After some nice days at beach house with some lovely sun sets, we set off to Nadi and for our first night in Mama’s.

The next day we embarked on our tall ship trip to barefoot lodge. The weather going there wasn’t great which meant that tanning wasn’t going to happen, but I got a little darker and reduced the silly tan line I had produced through weeks of wearing a vest in the village. Once we got to barefoot lodge myself, Benji and Rob went for a little walk and found an amazing cliff which we sat on the edge of, it is a shame I didn’t take my camera as the view was incredible.

In the afternoon myself and Rob went kayaking around the coast for a bit of exercise, which was nice considering I had started to become lazy and put the weight I’d lost in the village back on. After another great meal we all sat down around a bonfire telling some jokes. The whole adventure stage was amazing and I feel the group got really close, if we weren’t already that close before. As I sit here writing this in my dorm with the few of left of us waiting to leave, I realise how much I already miss the people who left this morning, and how I will miss everyone in the team as well as Harry Tim and Ben. Finally a big thanks or Vinakavakalevu to everyone who made this fantastic trip happened.




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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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