In the end though, things ended up working out better than I could have hoped! I have a fun little house in a mixed Fijian/Indian neighborhood and have been very busy working at my new job - conservation officer for the Cakaudrove provincial council. See some pictures below on the waste management competition I organized for our local district - I was so impressed!
So, I'm sitting at home on the eave of leaving for a three week trip back to the states to celebrate a New England Christmas with my family for the first time in three years. I will be bringing my significant other on this trip and am greatly anticipating both the fun and challenge of taking a native Fijian and thrusting him knee deep into some good old powder. I haven't mentioned him before but with his permission, I'll be sharing some of our undoubtedly crazy experiences with you all upon our return to the tropics.
Before I post my next story about some life threatening dangers experienced on rough waters comparable to those of Capt. Bligh (well, without the mutiny), I'm throwing a few pictures up here first so you can see a bit of what my new neighborhood is like and what it's like getting a little exposure to the Indian culture here in Fiji.
|Fresh spring drinking water!|
|My climate change workshop group - they were a ton of fun and very enthusiastic and motivated to participate.|
A few pics of the new digs:
|My house on our stay in dinner date.|
|My Happy Thanksgiving french apple cake :P|
The Savusavu Waste Management Competition!
This is more or less what I've been working hard on for the past 2-3 months. I conducted a series of workshops in each of the nine villages in the Savusavu district on waste, its harmful effects on people and the environment, ways to manage it properly and then I kicked off the competition challenge: members of the women and youth groups from each village were to form a team that would work together to design a doable project that could properly manage some form of waste.
They could be as broad or specific as they wanted focusing on all of the litter found in Savusavu town or just on dealing with scrap fishing net that plagues their village. It was up to them to decide and then create their management plan. They then all came together last Friday for the final event where they would compete against each other by presenting their designs the best way they knew how. We considered creativity and enthusiasm in our scoring and I was blown away by what people brought forth! There were skits, poems, speeches, props and modeling! Not to mention the impressive design ideas being presented. They all did an amazing job spreading education and awareness about waste issues and came up with some interesting ways to manage it better.
I worked with the Ministry of Health to come up with an awards system that includes providing entire villages with trash bins, workshops on how to set up a composting system, tools to compost, hosting village clean ups, and providing supplies for the clean ups. All in all it was a great day!
|A few of many spectators and supporters who came to cheer on their village team!|
|One village getting ready to perform a skit involving the harmful effects of chemical waste from spraying farms.|
|The first place team and their many creative uses for plastic trash!|
|Bags made from old potato sacks, rugs from scrap cloth, and decorative flowers from soda cans and chip bags - all for the waste management competition|
A bit of the local Indian culture that I've had the pleasure of experiencing. The first few photos were from the second night of a neighbor's wedding. After that I put in some pictures of celebrating Diwali.
|Indian men doing a crazy dance performance at a neighbor's wedding|
and definitely interesting music being played at ear splitting volume.
The Indian woman next to me kept cracking up at the faces the singer was
|The interluding drumming/singing band|
|The alter for the wedding - this is the second night at the groom's family's residence; the first night was at his fiance's family's house and the third night is the actual wedding ceremony|
|Mancheeka, my neighbor's daughter, giving me a bowl of sweets on Diwali.|
|The shrine my Hindu neighbors set up to praise the gods during Diwali - the festival of lights|
|At one house we stopped at, these women had spent hours dying rice different colors and arranging these designs.|
Well, now it's very late at night and it seems that I've contracted the flu...so I can go home sick. Again. The adventure story might have to wait until I return...