Wow! It is simply incredible looking back on our Fiji program!
You’re probably back in school, maybe even starting college or perhaps on some other path or adventure…but we wanted you to know that, here in Fiji, we are still thinking of you and the amazing summer we have shared. We are thanking you for all those special moments. I can still taste the wonderful baked goodies in the morning and the delicious tea times and oh my, that out of this world dinner we munched away on the island saying our farewells. Often I just sit and reminisce about our hard work, the fun, those stunners of sunsets and the many friendships that were created.
You guys were a huge part of making this trip so fun!!!
We experienced Fiji culture by learning to be comfortable with the unknown and to go with the flow on island time. As they say, “no hurry, no worry” 🙂 Whenever it was service, free or fiji waiting time, it was time spent well.
You should all know you left a powerful imprint on Matacawalevu, the villagers and us that will last much longer than the 14 days you were here. The Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) will continue to be a place of shelter, restoration and regrowth for marine life. The mangroves we planted will continue to grow and provide habitat, stability for the shore and beauty for the entire area. The reef checks provided us with valuable data so that we can implement SMART goals (remember that workshop?) for the LMMA. Just as important, the knowledge YOU gained on this trip we hope will serve you and your communities for the rest of your life! We now know how abundant the waste and plastic problem is. Also how harmful plastic is to the environment, and some important ways to reduce and reuse it in order to lessen our impact on the environment. Thank you for being on this program and helping out in so many ways.
We have seen some real talent during basket weaving, scraping coconuts, making local jewelry, racing each other on a kayak,…It was so cool to snorkel the caves and to see the boogieman.. We definitely heard some screams ( thanks Bill, Moses, Gabby)! Amazing moments to look back on. We have been blessed with the many stories that were shared during mentor groups and the many lovely dinners. Talking food, remember tea time?
We always had mouthwatering snacks awaiting us when back at Oarsman’s Bay. It was a joy for the staff to see how much you all appreciated the traditional food. Oni, our lovely hostess at Oarsman’s Bay will never forget your hungry smiles when coconut scones or Fijian doughnuts were served. What a great time we had with the locals. They for sure leave an everlasting impression on us all. We and the locals can’t wait to shout “Bula!” again to you with open arms. When shopping local and creating your own souvenirs, building trash bins, digging deep or preparing a feast for dinner, the kindness was everywhere. The “Isa Lei” farewell ceremony keeps tearing me up, how could you not with those warrior dances and charming voices!
We really need to thank you for making it able to have such a blast together. Whether it was birdie on a perch at a moments notice, hiking up the Nacula hills, mudding, snorkeling in the gorgeous blue waters or joking around with our beloved Gabby, Moses, Taz and Joe. It was pure bliss because we got to share it all with you guys — the 2018 GLA Fiji Marine Conservation Group! Thanks for helping to make these special memories in an amazing place.
Some special moments from our trip:
-Learning about the waste plastic bottles create and making trash bins.
-Digging deep to better waste management. We saw some serious muscle work!
-Getting to see the amazing Garden of the Sleeping Giant and therapeutic mud pools
-Hiking up to the top of the Nacula mountains while chanting “I am Moana!”
-Learning about Marine species, coral, mangroves, and waste management from Gabby and Moses
-Amazing Race on the private Blue Lagoon Island (Thank You Elle!)
-Watching all the fish and coral as we snorkeled in so many different places
-Celebrating with the village with traditional kava and lovo ceremonies
-Dancing the night away under the stars
-Wearing our colorful sulus in style
-Presenting your hard work to the village and performing the wonderful Coral Song
-Chanting during the boat rides wanting to go faster and faster!
-Spotting wildlife all around us with a definite shout out to the bioluminescense on the beach
Bula Vinaka and Sota tale!
Valerie and the entire Fijian Team