Good bye voluntourism!

26Juli2015

 

Well, the last days have been interesting. The "turtle conservation program" was shut down after the police came (there is a law in Fiji to protect turtles as they are threatened by extinction). A girl made a... ehh... Let's say critical Facebook post. I think "inhuman" and "animal torture" were some of the words she used. However, Green Lion (the organization here in Fiji which is responsible for the coordination, accommodation and the actual projects) informed us (after a lot of semi-true excuses and explanations) that we could choose if we want to try a different project or get our money back. It wasn't really a hard decision. I'm just glad that I got my money back without any problem because I know about 7 people who had to go to court to get some of their money back because the agencies made a lot of great promises without keeping them. What they offer is not really volunteer work, here they call it voluntourism. A lot of money which doesn't actually help anybody but just finances the international agencies. I got quite disillusioned about volunteering here. I left the volunteer house as soon as possible and went to a resort. The turtles were set free, but they are probably dead because they have been in the tank for too long and weren't able to survive anymore. I'm so sorry for them.

But well, you don't make experiences without trying things, and sometimes something goes wrong. Maybe it's all for the best. Now I have 7 weeks left in Fiji. I think three weeks of traveling will be fine, but after that... The resort life is nice and you meet a lot of interesting people, but it has nothing to do with real Fiji. People here don't live in nice resorts and have a beach right in front of their doorstep. What you can learn from the Fijians you don't learn in the resorts. And I actually came to do something here. So maybe I'll find a project which actually helps somebody and is not just a way of making money. I'm sure I will find something to do.

Yesterday was amazing. We did a horse trip to some waterfall (well, that's what they called it ?) actually it was maybe  half an hour's ride and then an hour's walk through the jungle. Barefoot. Through the muddiest mud you can imagine. I loved it. He whaterfall was beautiful and I had so much fun. I think I've never been that muddy and dirty ?. I think I broke a toe, but it will be fine.. I guess... However, it was worth it!

               

I had my first kava (or however it's spelled...). It's the typical Fijian drink, made from some root. It actually tastes like mud water, but I like the ritual ?.