Make A Difference in Fiji this Summer with Madventurer

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About

Come to Fiji and be welcomed into a community in one of the most beautiful places you will ever go and by some of the most beautiful people you will ever meet. Experience traditional Fijian life as you work and live amongst villagers who will be eager to share their culture with you and to learn about your own.

This summer you will be working alongside the village to construct water canals and add improvements to their community center. When you aren't building, you will be living the Fiji life, playing rugby on the beach, hiking to the waterfall, spearfishing, and immersing yourself in village activities.

Project Dates:
• July 17th through to August 14th for 4 weeks
• July 17th through to July 31st for 2 weeks
• July 31st through to August 14th for 2 weeks

Project Highlights:
• Become apart of a very welcoming, fun, and loving Fijian community
• Create genuine and life changing relationships with the villagers
• Be apart of lasting and empowering development projects

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

I participated in the "Make A Difference in Fiji this Summer with Madventurer" project in January 2014 through my university (CSU Fresno). I believe that you would have been able to take part in the trip even if you were 17 years old as long as you had a parent signature, but I am not entirely sure since I was 18 at the time. Hope this helps.

Reviews

9.57 Rating
based on 14 reviews
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 8 of 14
Cat
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sota Tale! It's not goodbye - but a see ya later!

In the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to join Madventure in an individual community-service trip to the small village of Naboutini, Fiji. I had multiple friends who had been on the trip before that spoke very highly of their experience, so I made it a point that I go. There were 2 parts to this 2-week stay: (1) working on the community-service project (2) learning about everyday Fijian life. The community-service project included finishing up the community hall that Madventure had been working on for a couple of years, this included repainting the outside of the hall and building the cabinets for the nurse's room and serving room. By immersing myself in the Fijian way of life, I was able to learn a lot about the culture, gender norms, and education, as well as build strong relationship with some of the villagers. My experience in Fiji was so great that when I returned to the US I began planning a group trip with California State University, Fresno. The following summer in 2016, I as well as another student, led a group of 24 students and faculty on this amazing experience. During their trip we had a few projects going on at the same time that included building a community kitchen, visiting the local primary school and teaching lessons, and a water project that would help with villages limited water access. Aside from their community service the group also engaged in everyday Fijian life and culture. As part of the Service-learning course they also had set aside time for reflection and discussion of their experiences. This trip is different from any other trip that I have experienced because not only do you engage in community service, but you also get to immerse yourself into a new culture and learn about their everyday life. Definitely a trip I would recommend and I can't wait to go back!

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Zandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fun times in Naboutini

My time in Naboutini was like nothing I could have imagined! When we arrived the villagers were there to greet us with open arms. Throughout my time in the village I made many personal connections that changed my outlook on life! It is hard to say what my favorite part of my trip was, but if I had to choose I would say it was our time visiting and teaching at the Volivoli primary school down the road from the village. It was eye opening to see what the kids do with what they have. I will never forget my time in Fiji and I hope to return someday soon. Vinaka!

What would you improve about this program?
I think the program would be improved by explicitly stating that much of your time will be spent connecting with the villagers. I think that is a valuable part of this trip, but some may want to choose a trip where they will find themselves in a more labor intensive roll.
Izzy
4/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Sadly disappointed

I am sad to report that my experience with Madventurer was extremely disappointing. I went into the trip with an open mind and ready to have an impact on a community. I have done a number of service projects so I had a little expectation. To start, signing up for the program was a frustrating process. Everything happened through email, no medical or emergency information was asked and it took up to two weeks at a time for an email back. About two days prior to departure I was informed that I had to book another flight to a remote island, which would have been okay if I had know ahead of time. Once I got there I was ambushed by the fact that all other participants were from the same college and I was the only solo traveler. While that had its benefits, it would have been nice to know in advance. The village and the people were wonderful but at times it felt that we were not needed. All work, the little that was needed, was done by male participants due to cultural beliefs. The females in the group spend every day sitting around the village and helping for maybe half an hour a day to cook and clean. A number of us spent all day sitting in a hammock just talking. While the 'tuition' price is quite nice, there ends up being a decent amount of added expenses (food, internal flights, excursion on the last day). Out of all of my travels, traveling with Madventurer was sadly the most disappointing. Spend the little extra money and actually enjoy your trip and feel as if you are making a difference.

Response from Madventurer

Hi Izzy,

Thank you for your feedback. I am really sorry that you were disappointed with your project. I was concerned when I read the review as while you were in Fiji our project leaders felt that you didn’t show any indication that you were having a bad experience and you seemed to jump right in with our Fresno group and it looked like you made some strong relationships with other volunteers. It was tough for our group to contribute to the building project on this phase as much of the work was very labor intensive or it involved dangerous working conditions (for example, constructing the roof).

The group was really good about being engaged with the village and they saw a lot of our volunteers participating in the different cultural activities throughout the village everyday. Our project leaders felt that you seemed to have been enjoying yourself whenever they were with you or when they checked in on how you were doing. The cultural immersion is a key part of the trip, and although the local skilled workers have to take over at different points in the build, the other activities that are part of the trip, such as the snorkeling boat trip, giving lessons at the local primary school, or even just sharing time making lemonade with the Fijian woman, you all seemed to enjoy. Hammock or porch time for rest and reflection is part of a College Service Learning itinerary. You did seem to have made really great connections with the group and become really good friends with some of the girls from Fresno State.

However I can also see where being the only independent participant in a group project may have been difficult and although we did try to promote your trip extensively we could not achieve individual sufficient sign-ups to run a separate project for you for your desired dates, and we did give it as long as possible to try and fill the other places. The alternative would have been to cancel your trip but this may have been even more disappointing for you. Rest assured that when you signed up we had all your emergency contact and personal health information included in the registration form.

In the project debrief with your project leaders we discussed your feedback we are all fully committed to make sure that the circumstances which led to your disappointment should not happen again. We will no longer offer or try to integrate independent travelers with our college groups.

We have also just changed the way independent travelers are looked after pre-trip and our Head of Operations to care for independent travelers pre-trip as they have the scale and capacity to respond more quickly, and although the arrival airport to book flights is included in the project overview we will ensure that she reemphasises to all independent travellers the arrival point.

Your feedback has highlighted important gaps in our pre-trip support that we had for individuals this summer so thank you for this - it is all very much appreciated.

Safe journeys,
John Lawler,
MAD Foundation Trustee

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Eduardo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Bula-sia: Fiji was life transforming!

We went to Naboutini as part of a Service-Learning trip from our university. I was one of two faculty advisors to a group of 14 students. What we loved the most about Naboutini was the pace of life and community life. Their understanding of family, time, and community were transforming.
The memories I cherish the most were the times in which I would sit down by myself and friends from the village would come to sit with me. The first few days I felt the need to start a conversation (no one likes awkward silences). But they would not talk. They just wanted for us to be in each other's presence. By the time we were done there were times in which we would accompany each other for quite a while without saying a word. A different experience of freedom.
In Naboutini I learned a new way of being human by enjoying someone else's presence not by what they have to say but by simply being there!

What would you improve about this program?
Probably a little bit more of a cultural orientation as to what to expect particularly among gender roles.
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Boris
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Get ready for Fiji Time!

Bula!

I had such an incredible experience working alongside the amazing people of both Madventurer and the villagers of Naboutini. After being part of such an amazing program it is very easy to recommend Madventurer to anyone interested in having an incredible service learning experience!

Having the opportunity to become part of someone's lifestyle and to learn so much about others all while providing meaningful service was what I enjoyed the most about the trip to Fiji with Madventurer. Only with trips and service projects to such small and rural areas can you truly see how much of an impact a few students can have on a society and with these types of trips you are forced to try new things, meet new people, and grow as an individual.

Fiji 2014 was one of the most inspiring things that I have ever done and it has motivated me to continue with other service projects and incorporate service with my studies of medicine.

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Chris
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

New Perspectives

I'd read 14 students' reflections on their trip to Naboutini. I'd talk to them all. As an instructor who prepared for over a year to help lead this trip, I thought I knew what to expect. However, 8 days in the village helped me realize that the experience was much, much more than intellectual. The warmth of the people, the cultural learning, the bonding with students and Fijians so far surpassed my expectations and provided so many new perspectives on international service-learning that I am still, 10 days after our return, still trying to process the entire experience. Yes, it is hot. Yes, there are a lot of bugs. You don't sleep much and the food is not what we are used to eating. Regardless, it was the experience of a lifetime. If you are willing to push your own boundaries and get out of your comfort zone, you too can have an experience you will cherish always! Vinaka (thank you) to our incredibly gracious Fijian hosts and to Madventurer for making this possible!

What would you improve about this program?
The village needs better tools in order to fully accommodate the volunteers in providing more assistance on the construction site(s). I'd simply suggest, as part of the supplies purchased for the next project, that Madventurer purchase and give to the village an assortment of good hand tools (hand saws, T squares, measuring tapes, pencils, miter box, straight edge/level, wood chisel).
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Lilliana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji Changed My Life!

Every night when the village would gather at grog time, I'd end up sitting near the band, listening (and eventually singing along) to my favorite song, Fiji. The line "Fiji is a life" will always remain with me. I feel that this simple phrase best embodies my experience. The overwhelming love, powerful sense of community and family, and complete disregard for the anxieties of the material, time-obsessed Western world were both stunning and refreshing to this ambitious American student. I will never forget the new "life" and perspective these Fijians gave me during my time in the village. Thank you Madventurer, and Naboutini, for changing my life. I'm homesick for my village already!

What would you improve about this program?
If I have to say something, I guess a more defined packing list. If I knew then what I do now, I would have packed a bit differently. You don't need a fancy travel sheet, I would've slept with nothing if possible (it was so hot). Didn't bring water shoes...ultimate regret. If you plan to bring things for the villagers, make sure you have enough for a large pack of kids; you won't get away with giving something to just one or two children. Don't forget a flashlight either!
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Kassandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji 2014: A Service-Learning Adventure

The memories I made in Fiji will stay with me forever, and the people of Naboutini will always have a special place in my heart. I got out of my comfort zone, had inspiring conversations with my university teammates, and most of all, met some of the most genuinely kind and loving people I have ever met in my life. From the day we first set foot in the village, we were welcomed with open arms into the homes and lives of the Naboutini community. For eight days we ate with them, we worked with them, we laughed with them, we danced with them, and as we said goodbye, we cried with them. Although our visit was brief, the love and friendship that they offered us was so sincere that it felt like I had known them for a lifetime. I would highly recommend this life changing and incredibly rewarding service-learning adventure to anyone considering traveling with MADventurer.