Once you meet the people of Fiji in need of water, you know the work we are doing is important to their health and longevity. Once you live with them sharing in all aspects of their everyday life you truly appreciate what amazing people they are; who welcomed us as family into their homes and lives.
In Suva we had little time to accomplish everything on our list. Ben joined Heinz and me in Suva to meet with government officials and finish up paper work for a three-year work permit so that we can continue our efforts to bring safe drinking water to Fiji’s villages. Additionally, I went to the Rotomould warehouse to purchased two 500 liter tanks, as well as cement, wire and tools needed for the project; all thanks to your generous donations.
The purchasing the tanks, supplies, organizing shipment of the materials I did in Suva is all work that our Project Manager, Ben usually manages. Taking on these tasks was an experience to spend one day walking in his shoes; on what would be considered an easy day in Suva for Ben. It was eye opening. As some of you might know Ben is my son. The good and bad of having my son Ben as project manager is, I expect a lot out of him and I'm not always the sympathetic ear to his needs. I realized I'm expecting a lot from someone who has donated his time and skills to make these projects a job very well done. I know Ben has the great ability to make people feel at ease, no matter where we were in Suva or the Island of Kadavu it seemed everyone knew him. He has become family to the people who have housed and fed him during his time in Fiji. I am very proud of the dedication and the relationships he has established with the Fijian people on behalf of the Wananavu Kadavu ~ Water Project.
Our group also had the opportunity to spend time with Russell Howorth, who is the director of The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), an inter-governmental, regional organization dedicated to providing services to promote sustainable development in Fiji as well as other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In his 2010 World Water Day Address, he highlighted the safe drinking water challenges in the Pacific area and Fiji. The transcript of his address is available on the SOPAC website: http://www.sopac.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=198 Russell also introduced me Ray Paris who is with the local Rotary in Suva and an engineer. Heinz and I had the opportunity to attend a Rotary luncheon and exchanged banners with the Rotary Club of Suva North Fiji Islands and the Holladay Rotary in Utah, USA.
Among our friends and supporters who traveled to Fiji on this trip were Dexter Taylor, a Utah based businessman, magician and proud father of Serena Martineau our photographer, who also joined us. Before Dexter returned home he was the talk of Fiji, "The Magic Man". He entertained both the children and adults with his shows around the Drue, Navoatu and Vuniesa villages. Serena photographed Wananavu Kadavu ~ Water Project work. Serena knows how to capture the life in the faces she photographs, her photos tell a story.
The resources we have been given by very talented caring people is beyond my expectations. I want to thank you all for believing in Wananavu Kadavu~Water Project, the help you provide is immeasurable.
I can't express the gratitude I have for the people who have appeared out of nowhere to share their expertise with us. The family who took us in like they have Ben.
It takes more than a village to make a change, it takes the world.