Fiji Trip of a Lifetime for Newman Students

On Sunday June 2 our journey to the Yasawa Islands in Fiji began. Arriving eagerly at the airport in the early hours of the morning our excitement and anticipation began to rapidly unfold. Two flights later the buzz and curiosity of going to a new country was becoming very real.

In the time we spent in the Fiji, we learnt the true definition of selflessness. Visiting the villages and schools was a real eye-opener. Not only are the Fijian people loving, accepting and kind they are the most giving, family orientated people. For a community that truly have very little material possessions in comparison to us, their sense of happiness, unity and compassion is overwhelming. When we gifted the students in each school visit with stationary and books, they showed so much appreciation and joy. Their classrooms are very basic and equipped with some tables and chairs, a chalkboard and writing books. There were no air conditioners, a canteen or laptops. The children play with basic sporting equipment and toys made from natural materials and often engage in song and dance during breaks.

From our first day right up until our last we were constantly greeted with warm smiles and a happy “Bula”. The Fijian culture is not about being a single individual but a whole community, where each individual has a purpose. From Barefoot Manta Island to Blue Lagoon Island we were all accepted in the Fijian communities and resorts. We were honoured to experience, first hand, the Fijian culture through traditional food, language, ceremony, dance, song and more.

Not only did the amazing people make up an integral part of our trip but the Yasawa Islands of Fiji taught us more about the natural world we live in. The way each island ecosystem worked and how the people lived in harmony with the sea and land. Fijian people aim not only to eat from the land and the sea, but, in doing so protect these fragile environments and the unique species and habitats within them. We soon all came to understand and learn how much influence humans have on our fragile ocean ecosystems. Our experiences helped us to see the importance of protecting and sustaining our ocean environments and how each living organism has a purpose on our Earth. The way clownfish and anemones work together in a symbiotic relationship to protect each other also symbolises the way we and the Fijians protect our families and community.

This adventure has enabled us to see the world in a whole different way. Human’s often think we need material things like the newest phone, the nicest clothes and accessories, but, really, all we truly need is our family, friends, a sense of belonging and a respect for our Earth. In doing so, we will all be so much happier, just like the Fijian people. We are all so thankful for the teachers hard work and for giving us this wonderful opportunity which has instilled in us a desire to be better people and continue to experience and explore more of our amazing world.

Story written by: Jade Attard & Arcadia Meldrum School Captain and SRC Member from Newman Senior Technical College