Posted by: Alicia Phillips | February 13, 2012

Suva! Suva!! Suva!!! I moved to Suva!

Hey guys! Quick update on what’s up with me here. New job, new site, new city!

First let me backtrack for my new readers: My job for the last 6 months has been working as an activities coordinator for an old folks home in the city of Lautoka. It wasn’t just old folks that I worked with; it was the elderly, the mentally handicapped, and the disabled people who have been abandoned by their families. My job was to improve their quality of life through recreational activities and companionship. Piece of cake, right?

I started the first few months off right, playing games and arranging field trips…..then the last two months everything just kind of went to shit. I can’t really go in to detail about some things that went on, but I can say that there were two residents that I was fairly close with that passed away and it was harder on me than I thought it would be. That along with a string of other unfortunate events really got to me and I have to admit- I hit a really low point. The thing about Peace Corps that is awesome and sucks at the same time is that our highs are SO unbelievably high, but boy, our lows are so so low.

Now my big sister accused me of lying to her and telling her I was happy at my last site when I was, in fact, quite unhappy. The thing is that even though I was unhappy I was scared to admit it and say it out loud- it was a scary thought to think I would be there for another 2 years feeling that way. So, I was telling myself and everyone else I could do it and things would get better. However, turns out I am not as strong as I should have been. I couldnt do it.

So, I wrote my program manager an email late one night after a particularly bad day and asked if we could sit down and discuss the possibility of a site change for me. Now some background info for you……Peace Corps Fiji is VERY against moving a volunteer from his or her site once they are there. Once your there, you really just have to stick it out and make the best of it for 2 years. You were put there for a reason and your host community was promised a volunteer for 2 years, it’s not good public relations to renege on a promise like that, and it rarely happens. Most of the site changes are made due to safety or health issues. So, going in to the meeting I had low hopes of anything positive coming out of it.

But it seems like the universe had a plan for me. Because not one week before I sent that email to my PM she got another email from an organization asking for a volunteer with a background in exercise and physical education. Just so happens, this organization and I are a great fit! It’s a national agency whose goal is to get the people of Fiji healthy and more physically active to help combat non-communicable diseases (FYI Diabetes is a crisis in the South Pacific, it’s kind of scary). Right now I am working at a national level, more strategic planning than actual implementation. Policy making and legislation and all that- stuff I have no clue how to do, but I am learning A LOT! Very interesting stuff! And so much fun!

And a big plus to my new job is my new city, Suva!  Suva is the capitol and originally I was dreading moving here, I was leaving a place where the sun shines everyday to a place where it rains everyday year long. And rain it has, I have been here for 3 weeks now and I am only now experiencing my first sunny day. But what the city lacks in weather appeal it makes up for in everything else! This is such a happening place, full of all kinds of fun people! Fijians, Indians, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Brits, and other Americans. All mixed together trying to get around. There are fun restaurants and bars and shops here. I found some GREAT workout classes, cool hole in the wall coffee shops, sidewalk street markets, hiking trails, museums, all the embassies are here, parks, the national rugby stadium, and Peace Corps office is here. So, needless to say, Suva has won me over, and I am starting to feel happy again.

So there you go, now you know. Notice my new mailing address in the sidebar, just in case someone wants to send me a letter….or some chocolate. 🙂

Thanks for listening!

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Responses

  1. Great stuff and you’re away from the flooding out west :). all the best and thanks for helping put in Fiji.

    Bula!

  2. Good for you. Happy Valentine’s Day. Thank you for keeping us informed. Nice to hear things are looking up.

  3. Love it!!… Welcome to my city. Just wait until I get back and I’ll show you all the cool things to do. Enjoy and remember my house is your house. So just let me know if you need anything. Stay safe and stay full of BULA!!!


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