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Thursday
Aug102017

Suva - Week One 

As the bus drew up at Suva bus-station, my nerves hit me. This was Fiji’s biggest, rainiest city- and yet the sun encapsulated it giving it a warm glow as the locals buzzed around in Fijian print shirts and traditional Indo-Fijian dress.

The city was animated by taxi’s and colourful buses whirling to and fro; as multi-story shopping facilities, coffee-shops, vintage-stores, bars and clubs littered the roadsides. As I’d spent a previous month on the secluded Beqa island ‘Fiji-marine’ volunteer project, the excitement of the city immediately drew me in, as I signalled for a taxi and unloaded my heavy backpack, I preparaed for the $3 taxi ride towards the home-stay and month long journalistic internship which lay ahead at ‘Mailife’ and ‘Fiji Time’ magazines.

 

Pulling in to a dusty track, a small community of steel and concrete homes was dotted around the path. It was 8 in the morning, and yet the camp harboured a lively atmosphere as the home-stay’s children ran around getting ready for school, and the camp dogs and cats snooped lazily around the parameter. With welcoming smiles, the staff and volunteers sat chatting over toast and peanut-butter, sipping coffee on the concrete steps outside the communal kitchen. They made an effort to make me feel immediately welcome, as they helped me move my bags in to the cosy shared room of beds draped with mosquito nets, decorated by the signatures and farewells of previous volunteers.

 

The Fiji journalism project enables you get your work printed in two magazines, allowing a wide range of articles. ‘FijiTime’, a magazine dedicated to travel and exploration features, stocked on ‘Fiji airways’ flights, allows interns to venture the Fijian islands. There is no limit to how far you can go; an example of this being a previous volunteer’s island-hopping cruise article. Sports, culture, food, art and entertainment features are incorporated within ‘Mai Life’ (Fiji’s number one magazine). Within ‘Mai life’ lies opportunity to interview locals in Suva, from rugby stars including: Jerry Tuwai; to academic articles on local doctors and museum workers. There are also explorations of socio-environmental concerns in every monthly article.

 

The air conditioned office situated in the middle of Suva, is filled with friendly staff willing to help and accommodate your needs at every opportunity. Within my first week, I have already been given two articles for ‘Mai life’ on the perspectives of the longest standing staff member at the recently renovated Fiji Museum; and a piece on female rugby sensation: Josephine Maejiirs. I’m truly excited to see what the next three weeks will hold and feel completely comfortable in Suva, the thriving city never short of something to do with the fellow volunteers, whether it be a late night cinema trip or a lazy walk along the Fijian coast.

 

By Jess Vincent - Online Journalism Intern Fiji Community 

Find out more about Frontier's volunteering projects in Fiji.

Check out what volunteers in Fiji are up to right now!

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