The outreach for me (Dani) was a wonderful blend of fun, demanding and enriching experiences. It was delightful to get up in the morning and be met with the view of the sun rising over the hillside. I would watch the cow get milked while I stood at the water tap brushing my teeth, periodically shouting ‘Bula!’ or ‘Yandra!’ through a mouthful of toothpaste as people passed by. In some ways reminded me of old family camping holidays…
For such a small building quite a lot was happening over those two weeks in the clinic in Nagado. Down at the dental end we were rarely aware of what was happening with the doctors and nurses, so we thought it would be helpful for us to each write a few words about our own experiences.
The first thing for me to say is how impressed I was with the dental team. There are many dentists and dental nurses out there of varying skill levels, ethics, personalities, experience and demeanours so I was almost preparing myself to have to compromise in order to get along with my colleagues. We dentists are used to sitting in a small room with a nurse treating numerous patients on our own each day. We make almost all of the decisions for ourselves without anyone looking over our shoulder. So it is a rather alien environment to be in an open room working alongside relative strangers and with the whole world (or so it feels) able to see what we’re doing. Continue reading BOB Part 2: BOB’s Revenge→
It’s been a pretty eventful 3 weeks so please bear with us if we go on a bit.
For those who don’t already know, Marine Reach’s Outreaches involve a team of local and international volunteers travelling to the villages of Fiji providing medical, dental, optometry and spiritual care. This time we had 12 international members from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, US and UK joining the existing team here at Lautoka – in all over 20 people throughout the fortnight were involved.
The travellers started arriving from Friday 3rd October, and one by one we were introduced and started building friendships over the weekend. On Monday morning we fired up the truck and started loading equipment, luggage and humans onto various modes of transport. Before long we were well on our way to Nagado (pronounced nangando).
Good news! Despite a few minor roadblocks we received our work permits and health council registrations (i.e. we can now legally work in Fiji). There wasn’t much for us to tell last week as we were mainly occupied sifting through a TON of medical and dental equipment- it had been randomly packed away and was crying out to be sorted, cleaned and inventoried. Here is a peak at just some of the dental supplies, lying on the lounge floor of the Marine Reach base:
We had the privilege of spending a few days last week with Ben and Kaba (two Fijian staff) at their village. Village life is slow and deliberate. The day is filled with preparing the next meal over an open fire, tending to the animals and sitting about sipping tea while catching up with the neighbours. Fijian culture is to share time and possessions freely, and we were made to feel very welcome whilst blundering our way through customs and cultural etiquette.
Just a quick post to say we’ve landed safely in Fiji after spending much longer than is humanly healthy sitting in aeroplane seats. Thankfully we have today and tomorrow to get our bearings before things get going. Now to face the jet lag…
Well, here goes… Heading off to the airport for a day and a half of travelling. I’m sure we’ll look fresh on the other side! Thanks to everyone who has supported us in getting us this far and we hope to hear some comments from you along the way.
We’ll try to post fairly regularly, depending on busyness and internet accessibility!
Our experiences volunteering in medical outreaches and disaster relief