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I’m on my second mission and am in Suva, re-certifying current instructors and training up new ones in first aid. Fiji Red Cross currently only has 4 instructors. Soon, hopefully, there will be 13!
I still find the first day or so of a mission challenging – feelings of isolation, loneliness, getting my head around how things operate (or not), a new environment and (even) trying to get internet access.
Then I meet the people in the national society, the volunteers I am training, and things immediately look up. They are so passionate about what they do, about Red Cross, keen to learn and so ready to have a laugh. There is lots of that!
They have come from all over Fiji, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Some are national society staff who are looking to change roles, and some are volunteers who have been involved in many different aspects of Fiji Red Cross.
The Pacific can teach us a few things about “energisers”. They do it so much better here than in New Zealand. Energisers are small breaks in between topics or whenever the energy levels are dropping. In New Zealand we get participants up and doing an activity. Here they sing, they play games, and they do hilariously funny things. It only takes a couple of minutes and everyone is awake, happy and ready to continue. (NB Kiribati Red Cross Society wins in the singing stakes!)
My teaching always improves after being on a mission. I become re-motivated. The littlest idea or activity I may have decided to do off the cuff to help them understand a concept better suddenly turns into a revelation of understanding for everyone. That is pure joy.
There are small challenges - the number of participants may be more than I planned for, they may be different (or no) resources, and there can be no water or electricity at times. The other day while I was in the middle of doing assessments, we got 10 minutes warning to pack everything away because there was a church service in the room.
At home, this would wind me up. Here, I just go with the flow. “It is what it is.” That is my mantra now!