We can’t believe it has already been so long since our Fiji trip ended! I can still taste the delicious lovo for dinner, the wonderful baked goodies in the morning and the delicious tea times that we shared. Often times, it seems like it was just the other day that we were laughing at all your silly jokes, snorkeling on the Oarsman Reef, and playing volleyball or (modified) rugby . You’re probably back in school, 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 impact we made this summer together.
Our time spent together in Fiji truly did make an impact. You should all know you left your imprint on Nacula, 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 (over 1,250 of them!) will continue to grow and provide habitat for marine life, stability for the shore and beauty for the Nacula area. These mangroves will live on long after our time here is just a memory, making the environment of that site more comfortable and bountiful for the people and marine life. Coral will continue to be restored because of our coral nursery. The reef checks provided valuable base line data so that we can implement SMART goals (remember that workshops?)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 ways to reduce and reuse it in order to lessen our impact on the environment.
Another thing I can’t forget is how much fun we had together here! You guys were a huge part of making this trip so fun by being a really close knit group. We experienced Fiji culture by learning to be comfortable with the unknown and to go with the flow on “island time”. We also enjoyed Fijian food like the time we all helped build the lovo to cook our lunch. We learned about basket weaving, scraping coconuts, and tasted so many tropical fruits! We also got to visit a local market and buy our own kava and other goodies to take home with us.
We worked really hard and also had a blast together. Whether it was playing games at night, birdie on a perch at a moments notice, figuring out plants at the Gardens of the Sleeping Giant, throwing mud during the Mud Pools or learning from Gabby. It was so much fun 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 for the Nacula Community out of those bottles
-Laughing during Birdie on a Perch moments
-Getting to see the amazing Garden of the Sleeping Giant and therapeutic mud pools
-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
-Wearing colorful sulus in the village and to dinner in the proper Fijian way
-Playing Gabby’s Real version of Zoo after much practice with Jessica’s baby version was introduced
-Amazing sunrises and sunsets, especially that first day on the island!
Bula Vinaka and Moce!
Jessica and the Fijian Team