In 33 days I will be off to Fiji for 3.5 months... leaving my beloved family, shower and hair straightener behind. Despite this, I am extremely excited.
I cannot wait to experience and become a part of a completely new and different culture. I want to become part of a Fijian community with a culture that values interpersonal connection above all. I think I am going to learn more in my three months there than I have in my past twenty years! I know I am going to build life long friendships.
I am both excited and nervous to begin teaching English to primary school kids who may have no idea what I am saying. I am certain I will have no idea what they are saying! I certainly have a lot of lesson planning to do. I want to inspire and show children how important their education is, and how ultimately it is key in beating poverty. Why should I have the right to tertiary education while many of these children will not even be able to attend high school? I hope that by improving the children's English, they will be enabled and inspired to attain better futures. However, I know my experience will not only help them. It will also help me as it will teach me invaluable life skills. Most importantly, I want to learn the common Fijian attributes of positivity, friendliness and the ability to take life as it comes.
I have spent the past two days on the Lattitude pre-departure volunteer camp. If it is any reflection on how my time in Fiji will be, I know it is going to be great. I met the most lovely young people, many of them bravely heading off to Vietnam, Vanuatu, India, Fiji, China, Japan, UK, Canada and Malawi for 7 months or more. As soon as I met my fellow volunteers, the Lattitude workers and past volunteers, I knew I was doing the right thing. I am very ignorant when it comes to other's cultures, laws and hardships. If I wish to help others, this certainly needs to be changed! I have a long way to go, but I know that my volunteering experience will certainly help me.
Hopefully I will have the ability, humour and confidence to inspire these cute Fijian children to improve their English!