Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life Lessons ---:) love them!

BULA, Yandra, Namaste, Welcome!
I really should be better about this whole blogging thing. I have realized yet again that I am a horrible long distance communicator or emailer. I get so involved with what is happening here. Let me just say it is BUSY! I love it though. Not to mention the internet closes at 5 pm and is pretty darn slow. ------ok ok I know i'm just justifying myself so that I feel better. Its funny how often we do that. This will probably be a long blog, and a little scattered due to the amount of experiences I have had since the last post. So... if you are up for the challenge I wish you luck:)

Lets begin with the books I have read. I finished reading 3 books thus far: Three Cups of Tea-by Greg Mortenson (one of my new heros and people I want to be like) Leadership and Self-Deception- by the Arbinger Institute(One of my best friends gave me this book before I left and I love it. I guess it could classify as a self-help book. It is AMAZING! I read it in 2 days because I was so intrigued with what I was learning about myself and about the human race through this book. I felt that most of it was fairly common, yet not at the same time. I won't go into details about it, because you will most likely become confused-- but PLEASE-- go read it. I have already determined I am reading it to my future children -- yes its that good:) )
The third book is teh Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I'm sure you know from hearing the name C.S. Lewis that this is a phenomenal book. It is yet another one of those books that cause you to look into yourself and reflect about your motivations and actions. I have enjoyed reading. This has been the first time in 3 years that I have time to read. I spend much time on buses, which to me means 1 of 2 things---read a book or stare out at the scenery and think. I won't lie, I pretty much love that time. I feel like everything back at college is so fast...probably because I tend to make it that way. But, it has been nice to be emersed in a culture that is more relaxed and likes to take many "rests." :) Usually when we go up to a project we must first take a "rest" during which we are usually given some amazing juice and cassava to eat. The word "rest" has a totally new meaning to me. Anything you do whether it be driving, working, eating, talking, etc. must be accompanied by a "rest." Not too bad huh?!

I'm going to attach a blog entry that I just wrote for our Fiji Blog---yes we have a Fiji blog and you are welcome to read it if you would like. The blog is help-fiji.blogspot.com

Here is what I wrote today.
(Hello to all you faithful followers of the progress of Fiji. We are having a great time serving, teaching, learning, and experiencing. I won't lie I feel that most of the time I am the student being served by them. The people are so giving and love their culture. What a great thing it is to be here.

As far as projects go, we have many up and running. In the last post you read about many of them. I have been so proud of our team as we have all worked our hardest to not just serve, but create sustainable projects. When first arriving in Fiji many of us wanted to serve the people so much that we would build a garden or stove for them while they stood by as idle observers. Yet, after these experiences we saw the lack of motivation to take care of their garden, stove, etc. As a team we discussed this problem and brainstormed ways to we can improve our presentation and teaching. We determined that we need to REALLY educate and teach the people instead of doing everything for them. I believe this to have been a big lesson for many. It is easier to do everything yourself. So, we have been setting goals about how to push oursleves aside and really focus on the development of the individuals with which we work. Now, instead of making an adobe stove or garden for the villages, we are allowing the people in the villages do the building and constructing with our guidance and supervision. Many of the villagers have participated and have found it to be an enjoyable new experience.As we have implemented this new way of serving we have seen great success. The people understand more and find a new sense of ownership with the project. With this sense of ownership and excitment about what THEY made, they are more dedicated to taking care of it and sharing their knowledge with others. We are starting to really encourage those that have learned a particulkar skill to teach a family member or friend. As they have done so we have seen the people become empowered. This is our purpose...to empower the people of Fiji through sustianable development.

From the beginning of the experience to now, my vision of how to empower others has changed. I now realize to a new extent that people are not empowered until they believe in their individual ability to change and improve. As we assist them to change themselves, they then will want to improve and change the world around them. I am so grateful to have learned this and hope to take this lesson and empower others in Fiji, the U.S., and the world.

From the land of smiles,

~Team Fiji~ )

Well, I have learned alot about myself and about what I will be like as mother and a wife. Not that i'm married right now, but i work very closley and on a daily basis with my partner James. While our relationship is striclty and will always be plantonic, I have learned much about communication with a spouse. I have also learned much about what it might feel like to be a mom---- running errands, taking care of everyone when they are sick, and making sure everyone's needs are being fulfilled. I'm not gonna lie, I love it! I love loving peopel and taking care of them. Being a mom will be awesome!
Well turns out I have to go, so i'll write more whenever I get back on:)


Friday, May 28, 2010


But I've realized that these obstacles have helped the people find true happiness. You can see it in their smiles and their affection towards everyone they meet! I have been suprized that I feel very at home here. Well... for right now this is my home!
I gotta go help prepare for an Indian wedding, so I'll write more later!

Happy Anniversary!

Apologies to those who have checked my blog with no new news. I know you are all waiting on baited breath for my words of inspiration. hahaha-- Really i'm probably just writing to myself, but here we go.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to ME! Today is my 1 month anniversary in Fiji. To celebrate I bought a really corny anniversary card to give to my co-partner James Brown. It has flowers, heart,... the works. I will also enjoy eating a cream bun. Cream buns have become a small obsession of mine. I have even had to limit the days that I eat them. They are homemade bread with a sugary honey cream inside. To say the least they are addicting and probably very fattening. Bring on the FAT!
Well let me just run through a typical day. ( mind that there are no such things as typical days here)
7:00- wake up to the sounds of birds, chickens, stray dogs, and loud roosters. It is hard to sleep in with all of those sounds combined. I then find some girls that go running with me through town. ( In fiji no one does physical exercise, so seeing a bunch of Americans running usually calls a lot of attention.)
7:45- eat, shower, get ready etc.
8-9- go to the first project.
- We have many projects such as square foot gardening, adobe stove making, nutrition classes, exercise classes, health classes, etc. Each project has a volunteer as a project lead. These project leads are in charge of organizing sustainable projects with our partners. James and I go about all day either doing logistical things such as shopping, meeting with government officials, making contacts, talking with the ministry of education and health, or accompanying the volunteers to their projects. If we go out to a village then they usually provide us with lunch.
5:45- it gets dark, so we all return home to eat, relax and have our beloved training meetings put on by James and I.
10:30-11:45- go to bed

I love being out here. The people are always smiling. Most do not have shoes on their feet and are dirty from head to foot, but they are happy. I think us Americans could learn a lot about the true meaning of life from these beautiful people.
Our team consists of 12 volunteers which in 2 weeks will be transforming into 27. We all share 1 bathroom and 1 shower. We wash our own clothes and spend alot of time playing card games, watching movies, talking about life, and reading books. On wthe weekend we can leave and do whatever we would like to.
Last week I went to the Robinson Cruesoe Island. It was beautiful. We went snorkeling, made coconut jewelry, had a bonfire, watched traditional dancing, went kayaking etc. While I did get sick, I was still able to have a great relaxing time.

I have found that this beautiful island inspires me. I look out the window and am penetrated by the beauty of the mountains, the flowers, the trees, the ocean. I sometimes catch myself staring out into the distance for a long time. There really is something healing about beauty. I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father made this earth for us. He is so kind. I have come to a new appreciation and need to be surrounded by beautiful things. ( Nature, paintings, music etc. ) It really does uplift our spirits and elevate our minds. It causes us to ponder on the meaning of life, of our daily actions, our thoughts, our relationships etc. I have found that when I look into the beautiful mountains I cannot control my mouth from forming a smile. It is a natural reaction. The only thing more beautiful than the scenery is the people. These people are so selfless. They love eachother and want to have fun. The other night we were making a garden and stove for a family. Afterwards they took us to a party that the village was having in honor of a man that returned from France. They were all sitting on their woven mats drinking Kava ( a very popular drink that tastes like dirt-- literally like water and dirt--- but they love it ) They were all listening to music and just enjoying being together. As I socialized with one woman she grabbed my hand, grabbed the hand of the man that returned from France and made us dance together in front of the whoel village. In return I grabbed one of the American volunteers and made her dance with him in front of the entire village. It was hilarious. We then formed a Kongo line during which many of the older women joined and caused the whole crowd to fall over laughing. These people are wonderful! I love them so much it hurts to see them have any sort of pain. I wish that I could take away not just poverty, but physical pain, inconveinence, misunderstandings, etc.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

First week in Fiji

Well I sit here at the computer feeling like a Fijian woman. I know I have only been here 1 week, but I feel like a part of the community. When I see foreigners I am tempted to stare ( only to realize that I am one). This past week has been a great one. James and I searched adn searched and finally found a green house on a hill for our volunteers. It is perfect. I feel like i'm on the mission again because I more easily see all my little prayers being answered. Perhaps it is because I have no school, jobs, or dating to distract me from the spirit. Or perhaps it is just because i'm paying attention and in great need of guidance. I pray all day long from waking up to getting on a mysterious bus to a new part of teh island to buying food. Everything has been so new but I love it. Just yesterday I was taught how to wash my clothing by hand. I feel a little guilty that many people do this everyday and I have always had the comforts of a machine. I have learned how to get around in a country where you have no one to help you. There is no mission president or senior companion to guide you. It is me, James, and the spirit. I'm grateful that neither James or I are shy. We talk to everyone and therefore learn quickly. Many people have been brought into our path to guide and help us. We have found a wonderful cook who is the same lady that will be helping us wash our clothes. Tommorrow we will be participating in a parade around Tavua. It is a parade promoting a Crime Free town.
Yesterday I had a great friend ( who refers to me as her sister) do the beautiful Henna designs on my arm adn hand. She is going to teach me how to do this along with how to cook Indian food.
In Fiji there are 2 groups of people. Fijians and Indo-Fijians. They are not on the best of terms, but they are both wonderful people. You can tell them apart by their hair usually. The Fijian people have more curly hair while Indians have more straight hair. They are beautiful people.
In the past couple days I have had times where it was only me. ME adn the people. I feel like I'm falling in love again. It's only been a week, but these people are eternally apart of my heart. They have already become family.
I have been grateful this week that the spirit has blessed me with peace. No matter if I lose my phone, get lost, can't find a house etc. I had a peace that surrounded me. I think alot of that is because of the beauty of this place. It is the prettiest place I've ever seen. Beauty really does heal the soul!
Well 2 volunteers came in today. We took them to the best bread store and walked around town. It's a great summer. I'm so grateful to be here!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Hello everyone!
I am writing from Fiji- I've been here for about 24 hours. James and I flew in and it is gorgeous! Humid, hot, and looks like mexico- or uganda according to James!We are in the process of looking for housing! ITs great! i'm going to write in this weekly to update ya'll and for a small journal!
Yay for fiji!