A day in the life of an IVI volunteer in Fiji

At typical day in the life of an IVI Volunteer in Fiji.

7am – get up, have a cold shower and eat breakfast. Family usually eats weatbix or mum cooks porridge…..

7:45 – walk 20 mins to town to catch the minibus. On the way I often buy the Fiji Times to read on the bus. Streets are full of
kids and students walking to school. High school uniform for girls is a spotless all white dress, and for the guys a spotless white shirt and sula (this is a type of “skirt”) Looks unusual at first, but now I think it looks quite good!Once in the bus, we have to wait till the bus is full, it takes 8 to 10 passengers. Then off we go! I always enjoy dreaming, looking at the scenery(never boring) or reading the paper. Very relaxing. I don’t even mind the times that the bus narrowly overtakes the little trucks filled with sugar cane.On both side of the road are fields with sugar cane that is getting harvested at the moment. Men have to cut the cane by hand, one by one.9:00 – At work. It usually is very quiet this time of the day so we check our emails etc. I have been re-making the spine labels on the non-fiction books. Tedious task: some spine labels are still in American library of congress code, so I find the Dewey
number in the book. If there is none, I just go to the Hip catalogue from my Niddrie library and find a one that is suitable. Type them all in on the computer, print, cut them out with scissors and sticky tape them on the spine!10:00 – Children from the Kindergarten come in. So far they arrive with parent and a minibus or all the kids are piled into a taxi. Opening song; twinkle little star; first book (Daisy and the egg); song: 5 little ducks ; story (“Dear Zoo”, can you growl like a lion?? not much response, they’ll have to practise that!; rhyme: 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed; story with a finger puppet about a monkey; song: head and shoulders; colour in picture of a monkey with crayons. All is quiet….When they are finished the kids can play with the puzzles and read books.11:00 – coffee time: Mosese, a library officer makes sweet milky coffee. I haven’t told him that I prefer black and no sugar, but in this way it will hide the taste of the cheap coffee…

1:00 – 2:00 Lunch break. Where shall I go today? The library is in the middle of the main shopping street so plenty of shopping. There are small local eateries and the air conditioned places for the tourists. I eat in either, but best price and tastiest is a local Indian place near the library: veggie curry and roti for $3.50, beautiful!

2:00 – Mosese and I help Anita process all the books that I have donated. In a ledger we have to write date, author, title, cost (donation) and we’ll give it a number. Then we have to fill in the catalogue card with all the details of the book, another
card that will go in the books and another card (I can’t remember why) all with details of access. nr. author and title. Yes, we are back in time….And don’t forget the little sturdy pocket that Mosese folds and then glues into the book (to put one of those cards in, remember?)

3:00 – Schoolchildren are eagerly entering the library. They are looking forward being read to. I have started reading “James and the giant peach” yesterday and they all love it. After half an hour they can do some games and make some puzzles. We really get to know each other now, and have a lot of fun.

4:00 – Close up the children’s corner and I walk down to the minibus stand.

Evening – dinner is usually ready when I come home, we eat when we are hungry so sometimes I eat with some of the teenagers and sometimes just with Bubu (=grandma in Fijian, pron. boombooh) She is such a lovely lady! After dinner:
just watch some tv (only one channel with lots of US junk and some New Zealand soaps); read or check the internet.




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