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What I learnt from living in Fijian villages

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What I learnt from living in Fijian villages

Fiji a slice island of tropical paradise in the Pacific, Known for its white sandy beaches, coral reefs with clear blue lagoons, amazing weather, palm trees, and friendly people. It’s the place you think of when you want to go and relax on the beach.

All we see of Fiji is the amazing resorts and the beautiful spectacular beaches and rainforests. But we don’t often see how the people of Fiji live themselves. Fiji is widely considered as a 3rd world country because the general population is poor. But the people who live there are some of the happiest people on earth.

Why am I writing this blog post you may ask? Well because I have Fijian heritage and I went to Fiji often between the ages of 11-18 and I would stay with my Mothers side of the family either in a village or on a farm in poor conditions. But these experiences where very valuable in building my character and perspective on life and I want to share with you what I learnt from my time living in Fiji so it may bring value to your life.

 

 

#1 – Sharing is caring

In Fiji people share everything even though they don’t have much. It’s really amazing to experience the togetherness and selfishness of people. Growing up in New Zealand as the only child in the house I got everything and I was not very open to sharing my quote on quote “possessions”.

After living with my family in Fiji I realised they give more even though they have less I think this value of sharing is important to building character and becoming a good person and not a douche bag.

This value of sharing really manifested in me when I arrived in Fiji at my uncles farm. As I was greeted from my 4 cousins  (One my age at the time around 15, and the others about 7, 5, and 2 years old) We embraced each other and I proceeded to open my suit case to give them gifts. I had 3 colouring sets for my 3 younger cousins, I gave one out and as I searched through my suitcase to find the other 2 sets as I looked up to hand out the other 2, all 3 of my younger cousins were already sharing  the one set. Without any expectation of having one each and sharing the one colouring set this really sunk into my heart and helped me build the value of sharing in my life.

 

#2 – Family is important

Growing up with separated parents and as the only child in the house I didn’t really understand the value of family growing up. Being at my Mum’s during the week and at my Dad’s on the weekend the perception of family was not positive. On top of that I had no strong relationships with any of my 3 older half brothers.

Don’t get me wrong I really love my Mum and my Dad but when us 3 lived together in the first 5 years of my life there was always arguments and domestic violence.

So living with my family in Fiji really warmed my heart, from about 11-18 when I went there for the summer holidays it was the only 4-8 weeks of the year that I felt like I was actually in a positive family environment and that’s when I really learnt about how important family is for feeling of belonging, feeling loved and developing relationship skills within your family to carry on into your everyday life.

⬇️Me and my Fijian family below⬇️

 

 

#3 – First world problems are nothing to stress about

The most of the villages and farms I lived on in Fiji had no running water, no fridge, no flush toilet, no modern-day showers, no supermarkets down the road, most people don’t own closed shoes, no cars, no tv, no street lights and no electricity so yes that meant no internet! And I also forgot to mention the minimum wage is about $1.5 AUD/$1 US per hour.

So when your stuck in traffic, your phone stops working, you didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas, your $100+ shoes get dirty, You only get paid minimum wage don’t stress about it they are just first world problems.

Be thankful you have a car, Be thankful you have a phone, Be thankful you got a gift for Christmas, Be thankful you have closed shoes and just clean them, Be thankful you’re not getting paid $1.5 AUD/$1 US per hour and be thankful you have the opportunity to get a better paying job if you really wanted to.

 

#4 – Don’t take things so seriously

This links back to #3 don’t take everything so seriously and just enjoy life as much as you can. This is not something I can explain in detail but Fijian people Laugh a lot and if your around them long enough it rubs of on you and you realise that if you chill out and don’t take everything to seriously you will have more laughter in your life.

⬇️My cousins first time taking photos on a camera phone⬇️

 

#5 – Enjoy the outdoors more

When you have no electricity there really is no choice but to go outdoors more and move around and do things. We don’t move enough in this day and age and we need to move more.

Watching Netflix or playing video games all day is not healthy. Now don’t get me wrong I like to watch movies/TV Series ( “Game of Thrones” is the best! ) and play video games from time to time. doing more activities outdoors enjoying nature is healthy for your mind, body and soul so get out there and move!

⬇️Me and my cousins going off on a horse ride⬇️

 

#6 – Respect food

What do I mean by respecting food? Let me explain before I went to Fiji and lived with my family I was known to be sometimes fussy with my food depending on what my Mum made. There was always something else in the cupboard or in the fridge I could go snack on afterwards if I didn’t want to eat my dinner. So my dinner would be wasted because I didn’t want to eat it. My Mum is a really good cook to so there was no excuse for me not to eat it, I just preferred cereal or canned chilli beans.

This is a privilege to have food in the cupboard and to have a fridge with food in it also. In many villages or a farms in Fiji there is no other option. No snacks in the cupboard and no fridge. The food that you get that’s it, if you don’t eat it then you go hungry simple as that.

So from those experiences I learnt you should respect the food you are given and don’t take it for granted, we are lucky to get food 3 times a day and are foolish to be wasting it in preference of some other food we have in the cupboard.

⬇️Christmas Lunch no food was wasted and used for dinner and all meals the following days⬇️

 

 

#7 – Appreciation of life

When you live in a village or on a farm without electricity and other first world facilities you are not distracted by the TV and other technological items we have today like our smart phones.

You pay more attention to people, nature, the outdoors and animals, you really become more connected with raw life. You appreciate it more and have time to think for yourself instead of thinking about what you are distracted by.

Living in such a rural and poor environment helped me appreciate life more for the reasons stated above.  We are constantly bombarded by the media, the internet, advertising and the fast pace of the modern world that we forget to take the time to appreciate the amazing experience we call life.

⬇️Me just appreciating life⬇️

 

 

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Jay

Jay

2 Comments

  • Heather

    These really are things that we tend to take advantage of in the West…sometimes you just need a good reality check for your first-world problems.

    August 8, 2017 at 7:15 pm
    • Jay
      Global Jay

      Yes exactly I totally agree with you I think we all need a reality check to help us realise how lucky we are and to help us appreciate what we were born into in the western world.

      August 9, 2017 at 5:19 am
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