Nicole Galloway - General Care Projects in Fiji
Bula! My name is Nicole Galloway and I volunteered at the Treasure House Orphanage in Fiji for three weeks with Projects Abroad. It was one of the best experiences of my life so far and I would like to think that I helped to change a few things at the orphanage for the better. Not only was it beneficial to the children and people I met, but I also found it to be a very eye-opening experience and I am so thankful I was able to do it. If you are thinking about volunteering, I would advise you to sign up straight away, because it will be one of the best things you will ever do and an experience you will never forget.
My Host Family in Fiji
My friend and I travelled the 30-hour journey to Fiji together to take part in this project. It was a long journey, but it was definitely worth it and I would do it again just to see the smiles on the kids’ faces because they are the sweetest little people I know.
The accommodation was very basic compared to what we were used to, but we adjusted quickly and learnt to appreciate the simple things in life like a hot shower that lasts for longer than five minutes and air conditioning as the nights were very hot.
We were very lucky to have a kind and welcoming host mum who lived on the bottom floor of a block of flats. Our host mum was called Katarina and she has five grown up children, three boys, two girls and of course many adorable grandchildren. She was an amazing cook and we got to try some Fijian foods, which was an interesting experience. Our breakfast was usually toast with butter or jam or occasionally, she would very kindly make us pancakes that were delicious.
In our free time, we did a variety of things. On one of our weekends, we were lucky enough to have the chance to go to the idyllic paradise, Manaisland. We spent one night there and in the 24 hours that we had on this amazing island, we managed to go snorkelling on the coral reef, make coconut jewellery and walk to the other side of the island for the sunset.
My Care Placement
It’s hard to put into words the time I spent with the children at the Care placement, because it was so amazing and I miss them all a great deal. They were the most polite, eager to learn, kind, loving and caring kids I have ever met in my whole life and if you decide to go you will see this too. I looked forward to going into work each day, because I couldn’t wait to see them all to watch them grow and learn and improve as they did everyday.
In the orphanage there were 19 children, from infants to 16-year-olds. In the mornings, I would go into work and we would take the children who didn’t go to school through to the sunshine room to play with Lego and sing nursery rhymes. We also tried to teach the kids the alphabet, numbers and more nursery rhymes. There were about five children who would do this and they were all sadly either too young to go school, too disabled to go school or both. Then when I returned in the afternoon after my lunch break, the older kids would be back from school, so the other volunteer and I would teach the kids to read. There were only two members of staff in the whole orphanage who could read, so I was really glad that I was able to help with this.
I was surprised at how eager the kids were to learn and it was an amazing thing to experience when we managed to help some of the kids to improve their reading. Today the other volunteer and I are still in touch with the orphanage to help them to try to improve things so that the children can grow up to be the intelligent young people that they have the potential to be.
I enjoyed my time volunteering in Fiji so much and I really hope that one day I can go back to see the kids, because I miss them a lot. I really hope that they will always have a volunteer there to help them, because even if you feel as if you haven’t contributed much you really have just by being there!
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.