On Fiji Time

Having never travelled very far it was with a mixture of excitement and wonder about what Fiji was going to be like. I travelled there recently for a wedding and business.  I have seen poverty before having worked in the sector for many years and seeing lots of people who have experienced homelessness. What I was not prepared for was the poverty that I came to face to face almost immediately after stepping off the plane. It was right there, not tucked away somewhere having to go and look for it like a mirage on the distant horizon. It was right there laid bare like a wound open and bleeding at our feet.

So the question was, what were we to do to make a difference whilst we were there! We talked to maximised their  meagre earnings through the generosity of tourists. If you have travelled overseas to those places that are bound by poverty you will well understand the plight of the local people and also know they are often the most happiest people around.

The Fijian people are always smiling and happy. The thing that struck me the most being a people person, I would walk up the hallways of where we were staying and say good morning to those that I passed. Most looked at me in almost shock that I was saying good morning and would look straight away as if to say I am on holiday please don’t talk. When coming across a local they would be most happy to greet you with a huge smile and a good morning or Bulla!!

Why is our society this way where we have lost the way in being kind to each other, find the positive in the other person and find positive ways of engaging with each other even if a stranger in the street. We have so much in comparison with other communities. Usually we have a car to get around with, when in Fiji most of the locals walk between villages and often to the side of the road which is full of pot holes and partial bitumen. We have on average more than adequate roads and in Brisbane especially there are more road works that we care to imagine.   Most of the shops we went into had bars over the windows, had bits and pieces of lino on the floor and bars between the shop keeper and the customer. Here we enjoy freedom. Here we enjoy choice in many of the things we do in our lives.

It is good to be grateful each day for what we have. It is good to be positive about those around you both in your personal and professional lives. It is good to think about how to lend a hand to someone who is less fortunate. We are often so busy that this does not come into our minds. Let’s be aware of those around us that could do with a hand or hand out and lets be gracious in our giving to others in our community. Every little bit helps. Serelino in the bottom left photo is a local on the coral coast of Fiji and works 6 days a week for his local village. He is a legend! He conducts tours through his local village to the local waterfall where tourists can enjoy local fruits and produce. He typifies the local Fijian culture of being grateful for the little they have in their local village in resources and shelter, but make up for in family and connectedness.