Living on the school compound of a boarding school on a remote island means- no privacy, no separation between personal and work life, and exhausting days; however, it also means, you are bound to make an impact and life-long friends of all ages!
I must admit, sometimes, I have been known to hide in my room and pretend I am not home when kids knock on my door at all hours of the day requesting help with homework, a band-aid, an apple, a safety pin, noodles, etc. And, I’ll have you know that the Fijian style of looking for someone, disregards all aspects of privacy. Just like someone might call you 6 times in a row if you don’t answer your phone, they WILL find you in your house. However, I am getting better at out-smarting these kids- something I consider to be a great accomplishment! Once in a while, I am successful in hiding and tricking them that I’ve gone to the village. I know this makes me sound like a scrooge but before you are too critical try to think of one job at home where you are on 24/7 and your neighbors are your coworkers and 164 kids. And, on top of that, you live on a remote island with no easy means of getting away.
Despite my hiding from overly excited visitors, I made a goal at the beginning of my service to make a memory with each of the 164 students. I have made an effort to make sure each of them will have a story to remember after I leave. So here, I would like to share some (it’s not possible to share all) of my memorable adventures with my students.
He is one of my kindergarten students and has become one of my best friends. At all hours of the day, any day of the week, he’ll just appear in my house. He’s not shy to share my food and read my books. Whenever he is missing from home, the first place his mom looks for him is at my house. He has been in the mainland for about a month now and I heard a word that he’s been asking about me from Lautoka. I look forward to his return!
Sami and Manu-
These are two of my students from class 6. Recently, I have started teaching their English classes, and these boys have become two of my regular homework buddies. Almost every night, they come home looking for assistance with their work. Whenever I want to drink coconut juice, they are overly excited to climb the tree for me!
She is from Nalauwaki village, which is on the other side of Waya Island. Whenever I go to Nalauwaki, I spend the night at her house. I went there this past weekend to spend time with her and her family. During the weekend, we worked on homework together, played volleyball, and went for an amazing hike.
She is my adopted sister in class 3. Her father is Maravu and her new baby sister is Baby Janet! During the last school break, she was staying in Lautoka with her pregnant mom, Salote. We spent one day walking around town together. I let her choose some books, we bought a cake for her mother’s birthday, and bought some things for her new baby sister. Sovasiga and I spend lots of quality time together!
He was one of my very first friends. We quickly became friends because he was one of my first patients. He is always getting cut and coming to me for a bandage. During mango season, he keeps my supply fully stocked!
This friend of mine is in class 7. He and I always go on adventures together! We’ve explored the waterfall together, gone swimming together, and searched for mangoes together. He is a bit of a naughty boy in class who has a hard time keeping still, but his smile makes it hard to be mad at him!
Sailosi and Maciu-
These boys keep me supplied with fish! When I visited their village for the weekend, they took it upon themselves to sure I had plenty of fresh fish to eat!
She is in class 8 and is the head girl of our school. For the opening ceremony of my water project, she held the scissors. After teaching the night class, I typically walk her home to Yalobi village. She always hugs me goodbye and thanks me for the lesson.
This young girl is in class 2 and always asks me to wear my “butterfly” dress. We have matching outfits, and she insists that we wear them on the same day!
He is also a part of my family. I call his mom Aunty which means he is my “joking cousin” or tavale. He’s in class 6 and has great manners. Whenever he sees me in the village, he invites me home for dinner or tea. He is also my cow hunting buddy!