With each country I visit, I create an insider “message.” Here’s my first one as I kick off my 2-year around the world living and giving adventure — FIJI!!!
MEET (Cool Meet Ups) – Voli Voli Beach – Voli Voli is the local beach for the town of Raki Raki and also where my resort was located. The beach disappears at high tide, but a sandbar finger extends about 400 meters when the tide is out. The water is perfect for snorkeling, fishing and frolicking! And everyone meets up for volleyball and bonfires at night = fun!
EAT (Tasty Eats) – Fiji Gold – One of Fiji’s local beers. Which may not technically be something you eat, but as an Irish girl, beer counts as a food stuff in my book. Very tasty, especially served ice cold on the beach. Ahhhhh….I’ll take two!
SEE (Must-see Sights) – The Meke. The Meke is Fiji’s indigenous dance performed by men. Traditionally used to tell as story, each area of the country has its own form of the Meke, sort of like a local dialect. Wanna see the Meke performed? Check out this video!
SHOP (Gotta Have) – Sulu. A sulu is a sarong worn by both men and women. Traditional Fijian dress, the sulu is worn both casually at home, as well as for formal occasions (and is used for military dress). A brightly colored sulu is a perfect island take-away.
ACTIVITY (Gotta Do) – Dive! Fiji is known as one of the best dive spots around and its reputation is truly justified! I went out several days and saw incredible corals, sea fans and fish. WOW! Fiji is fabulous for snorkeling and surfing too – so don’t hesitate to jump right in!
GIVE (Greatest Need) – Healthcare. My cabbie, who picked me up at the airport, tipped me off that better healthcare is the country’s greatest need. I checked out the Fijian government’s 5 year strategic health plan (2011-2015) and learned that the country suffers from very high infant mortality and maternal mortality. Fiji also has the 3rd highest rate of diabetes in the world.
Pravin, my cabbie, told me no one has insurance, so they wait until they’re really sick before they go to the hospital to receive care. Preventative medicine is virtually unheard of (which is one of the reasons that maternal mortality is so high). This seems completely unnecessary, although at least the government has a plan in place to address the healthcare issues.
ENJOY (Extra Fun) – Kava Kava. Long live kava (Fiji’s hallucinogenic drink)! I’ve had kava before, but never with this much punch. And so I had 3 coconuts full. Good (legal) stuff that leaves you with numb lips and quite the buzz. Sample a coconut full if you can!
Fiji in a word: Fabulous!
Erin Michelson is a social entrepreneur and world traveler. A self-styled Adventure Philanthropist, Erin is embarking on a 2-year global giving adventure called Erin Goes Global. Starting in Fiji on New Year’s Day 2011, Erin Michelson will travel to more than 70 counties on 7 continents during 2011-2012. Along the way, Erin will be volunteering with global non-profit organizations, including building wells in Uganda and tutoring young girls in Bangladeshi boat villages. She’s donated $25,000 and is holding monthly polls to see which worthy nonprofits receive the grants! You can follow Erin’s living and giving adventures at www.GoErinGo.com and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/GoErinGo