Trip of a life time for Fiji pioneers
12 Warrnambool students recently returned home with a new life perspective, following a 9-day adventure with Fiji Dreaming.
Forming the adventurous journey component of their Gold Award, their exploration of the Fijian culture led to many amazing experiences and life-long lessons.
Students were lucky enough to fulfil a pioneering role, trekking through remote jungle never before explored by tourists. The rough, steep terrain was accompanied by spectacular views, exotic flora, pristine rocky streams and thundering waterfalls. An additional challenge was provided through differences in culture and language. However, this was quickly overcome through the warm sharing of traditional ceremonies, music, sports and cooking. The immersion in Fijian culture was a highlight for Nicole Carter: “…it is an understatement to call this a trip of a lifetime. To see a community function so contently and efficiently with minimum resources was amazing; there was almost no care for materialism or even time. This trip not only opened my eyes but provided me with a new perspective on life”.
The group faced many diverse challenges throughout their adventure, including the questioning of their own dreams and values. Gemma Gray recognised the inherent contentment of the Fijian villagers and their willingness to share, despite their absence of material wealth. “I feel as if my everyday reality in Australia will change dramatically after seeing life from a new perspective and culture. It has made me question my own values and ask myself what I really want from life”.
Students further explored village life through community service participation. One of the most rewarding days was spent in small working parties, with students building steps and rails, levying river banks and performing general maintenance work for the host community. This was a highlight for Matt Chenoweth: “[o]ur trip with Fiji Dreaming offered the amazing chance to help a community and really gain a sense of accomplishment within yourself and respect in the eyes of the Fijians. I can’t stress enough just how beneficial this trip was for me.”
Accompanying teacher, Mrs. Narelle Richardson, described the group as “…privileged to gain an understanding of the practices and traditions of a foreign culture and environment.” Above all, this was “…an incredible reminder of just what is important in life”.