If you go out to Fiji, there's a phrase that is said, called 'Fiji Time'. Its meaning comes from the slow paced life which brings you back into reality, time away from your phone and the stresses of education. The time I spent in the village was life changing; the time goes by so quickly that you want to relive everyday twice. I wish I knew before going out to constantly live in the moment, to leave my phone in my rucksack and just live and be free.
I would highly recommend this to anyone to go on a volunteering trip, as being away from your phone brings you back down to earth, reminding you of the things that are important in life and that you can live without phones and internet.
An average TP volunteering week is busy and tiring but amazing.
Monday to Friday, you are at school from 8 in the morning, completing your '1 to 1s' up until lunch time. The afternoons are where the children are free to go wild; they have an hour of teaching after lunch and then straight into house cup; a competition between the school house, it brings out everyones crazy side! Finally the last hour is sport, focusing on the skills required in each sport, the kids get sweaty and tired and that's job well done!
Everyday there is morning and afternoon briefing, before and after school, just to make sure that everyone is happy and can talk about any problems they may have had that day. The evenings are always busy, from mat weaving to billo making, and you cannot forget weekly quiz night! The evenings are a great way for the team to bond and immerse yourself into village life.
Saturdays are excursion days, waterfalls, treks, bili bili rafting... It will always be fun!
Finally, Sunday is the rest day. Church with your family and resting and sleeping in the afternoon. It sounds boring now, but you will need that rest time to make sure you are ready to go for the next school week!
My biggest fear before going was whether or not I would get on with the other volunteers I would meet in the village. Before you go into the village, TP sends you to a resort where time is used to bond and get to know everyone in your team. These few days really helped me to understand that everyone was there for the same reason: they are passionate about teaching and want to experience an amazing trip in a beautiful country. You obviously gravitate towards different groups of people... It's only natural, but you have to remember that everyone who is in Fiji wants to be there to make a difference.
My favorite part about my time in the village was being able to live like a local. Myself and the other volunteer I lived with decided that we would say yes to everything. We ended up experiencing little joys that others did not. I was able to sit in on choir practice, having a sing with my Nene (my host mother) and the other village women. We were able to sit and help our Momo (my host father) dry out the Yaqona plant, that we later on went onto drink. Even when you are tired, my advice is to say yes anyway, Fijians are smiley, happy, joyful people who are always up for a good laugh. By helping them and joining them in their daily lives, the relationship will grow and become much stronger.