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Laisa Laveti – Local Student – Fiji 2011

August 12, 2011

As a final year student of the University of the South Pacific, studying Geography, Literature and Language and having had some experience as a research assistant I was invited to join C3 as a volunteer for a month on Kia Island.

My job was basically to interpret questionnaires and assist a couple of masters students -Lui and Jonathan in completing data collection surveys. I gained some good field experience and was at the end of it able to do more survey without supervision. The end of the first week was exciting as I had the opportunity to teach classes 5 & 6 during a Reef Ranges activity, which are marine education classes we conduct at Kia District School. The topic was an introduction to Coral Reefs and it was interesting to see how the students can link themselves to the Great Sea Reef that surrounds their district. Most of them were able to identify issues that affected the reef when asked and were able to relate it to their group exercise.

I have fond memoriesconducting surveys-waiting for low tide in order to walk round the island, or hopping in a boat and speeding off in the tranquil blue waters surrounding the island, but when it was high tide we had to climb/hike up the hill over to the neighboring villages which was exhausting to say the least.

I adapted well to community life as I was quite familiar with the lifestyle from other villages I have already visited during my fieldtrips in uni-a compulsory part of all Geography courses. One of the new, exciting things I learnt was fishing with a line and hook, which was taught by the village headman Samu, during a fishing trip in the weekend with two other colleagues from USP.  Apart from that, our house chores were equally shared and we also did community work such as beach cleanup and community clean up during my stay.

Kia is a great place to work and I would recommend it to anybody who is interested in working on the beautiful island.

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