Posted by: Alicia Phillips | August 15, 2011

“We Share Our Nothing”

I was standing at the bus station the other day, waiting on my bus, my hands full of vegetables from the market and I was feeling cranky because I had been waiting on my bus to show for the last 30 minutes.  An older Fijian man who was sitting down motioned for me to go sit down beside him. I hesitated because I was not in the mood to be asked all the questions I knew he would ask me: What is your name? Where are you from? Where are you staying? You married? Why not? Are you going to marry a Fijian man? Can you make Roti? (Ha-ha! If you make good roti here you can find a husband in no time)

I end up sitting beside him and after answering all his questions he tells me a little about himself. All about his family, where he stays, where he works, where his family works and where they live. This is a typical conversation here, everyone is so friendly and so interested and they want you to enjoy your time in their country. Then he asked me how I like Fiji? I answer that I love it because the people here are so nice and so generous.  Then he tells me “People in Fiji, we share our nothing.”

This caught me off guard. SoI ask him what he means and he begins to tell me more about his life. He told me he has traveled all over with his work, and has been to America so he is an educated man. He visited Sacramento and New York City. He tells me it is hard for Americans to understand, but in Fiji people will share all they have, even when they have nothing, because they believe whole heartedly that the lord will provide for them tomorrow. I tell him that this is indeed a hard thing for an American to accept, because we are constantly preparing for the future. I told him I could respect that way of thinking and it would probably do me good to have a little bit more faith that I will be provided for.

Then his bus came and he left me sitting there with a whole new thought process and understanding of the Fijian culture. The people here truly are the friendliest most generous people you will ever meet. Living and working here with these people is such a gift and I feel that at the end of my two years I will have learned so much more from these people than I could ever teach them.

So anyways, I thought this conversation fit perfectly with the third goal of the Peace Corps which is to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.




  1. Alicia… thank you for this! I am super stocked that you are enjoying my island home!

  2. Wow, I really enjoyed this read Alicia. If you see me in Fiji don’t hesitate to say hi. 🙂 Thanks for the link Ben! And that man in the story sounds like you bro. ha ha ha.

  3. A wonderful post, thank you Alicia.

  4. I love this story!!!

  5. Too bad we all can’t learn such a wise way to live and learn it as easily as you have. Of course, this mans wisdom sounds wonderful.. but putting it to ‘use’ might prove more difficult than it seems. Hopefully, we can learn and you are a wonderful representative for both our culture and for teaching us theirs. Way to go!!!

  6. this was so inspiring.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this story about one of your experiences while serving in the Peace Corps.

  8. awesome!!! Stay blessed Alicia! 🙂

  9. Alicia,
    I don’t facebook, but this was passed on to me and I love your message. You’ve taught all of us a lesson. God bless you!

  10. Alicia you are one of a kind! You are a wonderful writer and so very inspiring to all your readers that are following you on this post. Sharing your experiences like this is so heartwarming to me. I am so proud to say you are my wonderful daughter! I love you!! mom

  11. Alicia… I met you when you were in LA and meeting all of your fellow PC members. My brother Benjamin… was part of your group leaving for Fiji. I love reading your blog, and I hope all is going well. Are you anywhere near Ben…? ( he is the rather tall Ben of the group…)

  12. Whats up little sister.. there are some massive generalizations going on in this post. I thought you said that theft is a major problem in Fiji? And giving all you have to others is not a foreign concept to all Americans, after all don’t some Americans give up 27 months of their lives to travel to the other side of the world to do Peace Corps stuff… Not to mention the Americans who have given their lives for others. Stay strong and be good.

    • You’re right brother, thank you for all you do! I am so proud of you and I miss you so so much. Be careful!

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