Mere Vere – Local Student – Fiji 2012
The 6 weeks spent with C3 as a research assistant on the island of Kia, has been an experience of a lifetime. Not only has the experience molded me into better conservationist I enjoyed every minute of it thoroughly.
As a Fijian myself, going to work on another island has opened my eyes to another way of living and shown me firsthand the struggles people go through to survive on the island. Getting to know their culture and their way of living has made me see life with a different perspective. The first week of my stay on the island was challenging as the only source of fresh water is rainwater. I have learnt a lot about water conserving techniques – we had to use water wisely on the island as the water tanks only gets filled up when there’s rain. The biggest challenge I found was to actually put myself into their shoes and experiencing their way of living, their way of thinking and all the challenges that they had to come across.
One particular thing that amazes me still is the fact that they go fishing everyday except on Sundays, and seem to have an endless supply of fish and this is tied closely to the people’s belief and religion, which is very highly regarded. With the presence of C3 on the island, the locals are beginning to take into account the risk of running out of fish in the near future and the kids have also played a vital role in getting the message across on the importance of conserving the environment. As they say that learning starts from grassroots level, I personally believe that the island of Kia has a bright future considering the kids enthusiasm for conserving nature.
By assisting with raw data collection on the island I’ve not only got to know the locals better but also gotten to see firsthand their passion for the environment and how they are adapting well to the conservation programme.
The locals were so helpful in many different ways. An exciting experience I’ll never ever forget was a fishing trip we took one evening, it was long hours and hard work but exciting and an experience I’ll never forget.
The level of socializing and hospitality showed by the locals themselves is what I can’t get over and just days within arriving on the island I felt right at home. I’ve been on many fieldtrips with my geography class in University, but nothing can compare to the experience I had on Kia and I’ve made remarkable friends and families on the island. If given another chance to go work for C3 again on the island, I would definitely grab a hold of it! I think that C3 has not only given the opportunity of a lifetime experience to volunteers like myself but is also helping the locals to conserving their environment and natural resources.
As a final year student of the University of the South Pacific, my passion for conservation of our environment has really grown and I believe that with more conservation programmes such as the one running on Kia, our mother earth will be in good hands in the near future.