Sunday, August 3, 2008
I feel like I start off a lot of these posts this way, but I apologize for being a bit derelict in posting recently; it has been a crazy month or so filled with several projects, several visitors, and several new responsibilities for me. I am really going to make a better concerted effort to get back to the once-a-week posts.
My friend Jessica just completed her visit to Fiji last week. She was in for 8 days or so, during which we spend a few days on Viti Levu around Sigatoka and Suva, then the rest of her time up here in the Labasa region. It was a good little break from the grind, and it was nice to see someone else from home out here; I hope to get some pictures from the trip up in a couple weeks or so. Jessy attended one of the meetings for the Marine Protected Area project I am helping WWF up here with, and in the process found her way to making an appearance in the Fiji Times, one of Fiji's national newspapers. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can see the picture (jess is on the far right and I am sitting next to her obstructed by the man in front of me) at the following link: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=96136
I have been doing quite a bit of work recently with the environmental group I helped to form here, H.O.P.E (Helping Our Polluted Environment) Labasa. We just completed out first project, which was organizing the primary and secondary school children around town to come out and help us paint the new trash cans places along the main road. We received a write up in the paper for it, which can be found at the link here: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=95729 We are now in the process of renovating a park here in town. It has been pretty exciting, as we have received several donations and quite a bit of free labor for the endeavor, and it looks like we will be "breaking ground," so to speak, in a week or so. Labasa is glaringly lacking any green areas in town, and we are hoping that crreating this park will be a stepping stone to creating more awareness about environmental issues to the population here as a whole.
I also just started to officially work with the Ministry of Fisheries up here. It's looking like I will be focusing on their aquaculture program, which I am really looking forward to as it has very good potential up on this island and there seems to be a healthy amount of interest and funding. They are also the lead organization on the spat collection and seaweed farming projects I have been trying to promote, so I stand to be able to continue with that as well. I feel like I am finally at a point between my work with the environmental group, the provincial office, and the ministry of fisheries that I have full work days, which may sound a bit odd, but it comforting to be busy....
Three new volunteers just arrived here in Labasa; all female and all working in the health sector. It's really good to have some new blood up here; they have all come up being pretty energetic and motivated, and it's brought some new life up here which is great.
Thats about all I have for now, I'll get back up here in a week or so.