The past few weeks in Fiji have been a blur. Between hospital outreaches during the week and beach excursions on Saturdays, I’m living in a daze. This week it occurred to me that I haven’t quite filled the world in on what I’ve been doing, besides drinking straight from coconuts and getting sunburnt while reading books on the beaches.
For the most part, I spend my time with the zone nurses and dietician from the public health office of the hospital. The zone nurses let us tag along during outreaches, where they spend a day at a village taking heights, weights, blood sugar, and handing out needed medications. We always have a chance to do some health education in the villages as well including sex education and nutrition lessons. Our partners at the hospital have taken us in like family. They invite us to their homes for dinner, offer to take us fishing over the weekend, and suggest joining them for a movie night.
When I’m not with the hospital, I head to Lamoni Au for the afternoon. This is a children’s home for those who have struggled through difficult situations with family, whether that be physical or sexual abuse or something else. We don’t ask questions; they share what they want to share. An Australian couple started the home where we spend nearly every afternoon. We help the children complete their homework and usually end the afternoon getting showed up by the girls in Zumba.
There is so much more I’ve had the opportunity to do this past month and I can’t even begin to explain them all or how they’ve impacted me. For some reason, I never saw myself connecting so much with our partners, but they have easily become friends of ours. We talk about movies, books, our families, anything and everything: sharing stories and what we have in common, but appreciating our differences. When I feel homesick, I think of these people and how I’m not ready to say goodbye. And I’m reminded why I’m here.