-Country Director’s Note-Teaching & Care Projects-Animal & CommunityProjects-Sports Project-Shark ConservationProject-Meet our Bula Face forthe Month-Project Day: SaraviVillage-Project Day: SharkConservation Project-Photo CompetitionWinnerBula to you all and welcome to March! Time is of theessence, so much to do and so many people to inspire.We have projects galore from teaching, care,community and animal care to shark conservation - alittle bit of everything for everyone. To all the Fijivolunteers, we would like to hear from you so pleasesend us your photos, videos, articles or briefs, anythingto tell us how you have enjoyed your time with us andwe will share it with the world. It is because ofexperiences like yours that others are able to beinspired.As more volunteers come in and out of Fiji, we hopethat they take back a taste of Fiji with them - all theBula smiles, laughter and experiences that one can onlyexperience in Fiji. Please read on to find more aboutour project updates, our project day for the month andthe March Photography Competition winner. Enjoy ourupdates and be sure to send us your own update forthe world to see ’Till next month, have a Wananavu(awesome) time!Tagi KoroivukiInformation Coordinator
Howdy!It is the month of March and spring is in the air! The time symbolizes rebirth andrenewal, a time to reflect on what we have done, revise our plans and look forward to thefuture.Fijian Hindi Proverb says,“Mare bina swarg nai mile hae.”Which when translated means:‘Great things can be achieved only with great effort.’These words not only encourage me to continue with all the incredibly work we are doingon all our projects in Fiji, but also reminds me that we have the ability to accomplishsome amazing things as long as we put in the effort and hard work.As individuals who deeply care about the impact we have on our planet and fellowinhabitants, I applause our volunteers for coming here and trying to restore the balanceof basic human needs with the need to protect what we have left of this precious worldof ours.So when I find myself saying I’m too busy to do something and caught up in life’schallenges, I remember the opening proverb and I then take the time to notice theincredible achievements happening each day and the part that Projects Abroad is playingin that.It feels so good to be part of the solution.
Teaching ProjectOur young teachers are doing a wonderful job at the primary schools all over Nadi. They have had aunique taste of interacting with many children, all full of energy running around and needing constantguidance. Needless to say, all our teachers are usually tired when they reach home at the end of the daybut they are happy and satisfied with the achievement they made during the day. Our Teaching Project inFiji focuses on tutoring children who struggle with English, mathematics and science subjects at the localprimary schools.We have had a wonderful month with some amazing volunteers completing their teaching placements atthe Nadi Arya Samaj Primary School, Votualevu Public School, Namaka Public School and Nadi PrimarySchool. Stefan Herz, Jana Lerch and Birte Roether of Germany; Georgia Tafe of Australia, Erik Larsson ofSweden and Michel Mooring of Netherlands completed their placements and have left our childrenenriched with knowledge and passion to learn!Erik Larsson and Stefan Herz organised a mixed soccer competition in their placement at Votualevu PublicSchool which was an amazing success! Georgia, Jana, Birte and Michel contributed to the children byteaching them about different cultures while at the same time learning about our culture.Care Project - Norwegian Volunteer Adapts well to FijiIngfrid Toressdal (19) is from Norway and has volunteered as ateacher with Projects Abroad Fiji under the Care project at AndrewsKindergarten in Nakurakura, Nadi. Helping others has always been apart of Ingfrid’s family background.“I came to volunteer because I wanted a change of place and Iwanted to do some travelling but meaningful travelling,” she shared.“I’ve been brought up by parents who always taught me to helpothers so it came pretty naturally to choose volunteering,” sheadded.At the Andrews Kindergarten Ingrid’s daily tasks include teaching thealphabets, different seasons, games, arts & craft, playing andassisting teachers to have a more controlled environment.During her volunteer work Ms.Toressdal imparted vital knowledge to the students in terms of sharing theuniqueness of Norwegian culture, arts and craft, music and dancingIngfrid may seem more of a local Fijian now, but at first it was hard for her to adapt.“It was very hard for me to adapt as I was very homesick and because I have sensitive skin, my skinreacted badly to the mosquito bites, but I soon got over it and I love the Fiji culture, the people are sofriendly and the scenery is just beautiful,” she added.
If there’s one thing Ingfrid has learnt it is “definitely more patience especially with handling children andadapting to different cultures and ways,” she shared.As for the future, Ingfrid has her mind set for teaching. “After volunteering I’m going back to my job,working with special needs and I do one-on-one training in a special school in Norway,” she shared.“My volunteer work experience is very useful for my future, I’m pretty sure I’m going to become ateacher,” she added.Ingfrid explains why she loves Fiji as a volunteer destination. “I like how Fiji is more relaxed, people areso friendly, the food is awesome Lovo and roti are my favourites and I believe it’s the most untouchedbeautiful place on earth,” she opinedHer advice to potential volunteers for Fiji is to try to have patience not just with time difference but withtrying to adapt as much as possible.“Don’t be weird out by how friendly the people are when they approach you, it’s their nature so enjoy it.The experience is going to change you and make you grow so I would say go for it and don’t look back,”she concluded.Animal ProjectThe staff and animals saida sad good bye tovolunteer Jessica Schmidwho left at the beginningof March to continue herproject in Samoa andwelcomedMariaHovgaard from Denmarkfor two months. She andDagmar Demandt, fromBelgium, are doing anexcellent job with theanimals at Animals Fiji inNadi.
Sports ProjectMiss Charlotte Stamer becomes the firstProjects Abroad Volunteer to teach PhysicalEducation at Secondary School level. MsStamer, originally from Germany, teachesstudent ages nine to 13-years-old at RatuNavula College. As a physical educationteacher, Charlotte comes under the directsupervision of the Head of Department forPEMAC which is short for Physical Education,Music and Arts Craft. These three streamscombined form a new project that the FijiProjects Team is working on.At the moment Charlotte is helping to coachthe 86 Ratu Navula Athletes who will be attending the Western Zone Meet this week. Apart from that, theschool has also reached quarter final stages in the Western Schools Rugby League Competitions of whichCharlotte is a part of. Ratu Navula College looks forward to receiving more sports volunteers.
Shark Conservation ProjectI cannot believe we are into the third month of theShark Conservation Project. I remember when theproject was just an idea and the massive task ofcreating a project like this seemed just too much.With the dedication and hard work of everybodyinvolved, we have created what we believe willbecome one of the most important Shark ResearchCenterres in the world.We have recently been visited by the following sharkscientists and experts. Angelo Villagomez, Manager, Global SharkConservation, PEW Charitable Trusts. Dr. Colin Simpfendorfer, Director, Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture &Professor, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University. Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany, IFAW Gary Adkinson, Director, Shark Foundation, USA and President, Sharkrodeo Ventures Ian Campbell, Global Shark Programme Manager, WWF Dr. Juerg Brunschweiller - already partnered Dr Demian Chapman - already partneredAll of which have shown great excitement about the future of our project. After meeting and gettinginspired by the scientists, I truly believe we can make a real difference in Global Shark Conservation.BRUV Project - The Shark Count Survey and BRUV projects arenow up and running. We conduct four research dive trips a week,including eight Shark Count Surveys and 4 BRUV drops. Our data isstarting to accumulate and we are quickly seeing patterns wheresharks can be located; all in efforts to enlarge MPA's here in BeqaLagoon, Fiji and protect shark as well as other marine organisms. Amore detailed report is to come this time next month; I do not wantto jump to conclusions too soon! Other than that, I have personallymade it my goal to make all of our volunteers here at the SharkResearch and Conservation Centre good research-minded diverswith solid dive skills that they will carry with them throughout their lives, promoting environmentallyfriendly diving all over the world.
Meet Our Bula Face for the month Project Manager Sophie Birtwistle. She is currently looking after the administration of the Health &Wellness Project as well as other projects in Nadi. Sophie is also one of the longest-serving staff for Fiji.Name: Sophie Birtwistle Nick Name: “Jane” “Birtie” Age: 93!Birth Place: EnglandRelationship Status: In a relationship (I have a better half!)How would you describe yourself: Fun loving, hardworking,love meeting new people and trying new things!Favorite food & drink? Spaghetti Bolognese and a glass ofwhite wine!Favorite colour? Why? Sky Blue – it’s a colour that matchesthe beauty of the Fijian skies!What is your most attractive feature? My sense of humor!How long have you worked with Projects Abroad? I started in2011 so three years in June!What were your best achievements while working withProjects Abroad?Taking shy and nervous volunteers and turning them intoconfident and independent people through exposing them tothe Fijian culture and helping them achieve the most fromtheir time with Projects Abroad!What do you enjoy about your work? Why?Meeting people from all walks of life and cultures and helpingthem find their place in Fiji. I really enjoy helping volunteersdiscover their individual talents and giving them theopportunity to utilize these skills during their time in Fiji!What would be your guilty pleasure? Watching the JeremyKyle Show!Where do you see yourself in ten years from now? Sitting onthe beach sipping a cocktail!Favorite quote? “Life is like a box of chocolates, you neverknow what you’re gonna’ get” – Forrest GumpSneak Peak for April: He is also a senior staff member forProjects Abroad Fiji
Project Day – Saravi VillageFor March we held our Project day at Saravi Village. Projects Abroad volunteers painted and refurbished theSaravi Village kindergarten where there was much needed attention. The kindergarten is currently receivingyounger students at the age of 2-4 years and is trying to get their building certified with Ministry of Education.
Project Day- Shark Conservation ProjectAfter experiencing very heavy rainfall, the villages along the Navua River suffered from severe flooding. Thismonth’s VERY Dirty Day saw the volunteers clearing blocked drainage ditches and giving out food parcels. Amassive thank you to all staff and volunteers who made a real difference in the life's of the local villagers.
Photo Competition Winner!!Let’s Congratulate the March Photo Competition Winner Mr JorelDelepine from the Shark Conservation Project. Enjoy this awesomephoto of him treading in our beautiful seas just in front of BeqaIsland. It is surely a unique moment captured in Fiji. Vinaka Jorel