Monday, July 30, 2012

Volunteer info

This is the general information I provide to our volunteers before they make a decision to come to Fiji and help on our farm.

We are just beginning with our farm and we do not have a running infrastructure as yet. The farm is a clean slate and we have lots of ideas and good intentions.   We do not have electricity  but we  are busy setting up our solar panels and wind generator.  Claude has just finished the septic toilet !
We have water at our campsite and shower facility is very basic at this stage.  It will be greatly improved over the next couple of weeks.  

Our campsite consist of tents (which are hard to come by in Fiji) in the wooded area under beautiful big trees and is a few meters away from the beach.  The beach is surrounded by natural , untouched mangrove eco system  in an inlet and is quite private. Air matrassess are a luxury in Fiji and we suggest bringing one along. If you prefer to bring your own tent, feel free to do so.

Meals will be very basic in the near future because we are still recovering from the recent floods.  Our crops are growing well, we have them period staggered and should start harvesting soon.  We have not started with our poultry yet. 

The food will be wholesome but basic. a Contribution of fjd 10 towards meals (per day) will be asked of Volunteers.

The farm is private and we request volunteers not to bring friends/guests on the land.

The work - obviously it will be ongoing -  planting of crops , neatening and tidying up of the farm, making compost, cutting grass and weeding ...but building of a poultry pen, fencing of the property, making of paddocks,  building goat shed are projects for the near future and building would obviously be what we prefer to do while you guys are around.  We are waiting for a friend's digger to start digging our pond /dam for the ducks.  Building knowledge ( for our simple projects)  would be invaluable to Claude who has built large yachts but never a house or timber structure!  I would just appreciate help with growing/weeding/gardening/planting/cooking.
We will provide meals on  your working days. 5 hours of help per day will be the norm.

July/ August is still winter  in Fiji , September is spring, but us being in the tropics, season changes are not that great/severe.  The rainy season starts in November. December to March is wet-wet-wet and we do get cyclones in Fiji!  
If you feel that you could and would like to assist and contribute to Naciriyawa's development, you are welcome at any time that suits you.  Tourists, which you are, will be allowed in Fiji on a 4 month visa.  Do not mention work, it is illegal to work in Fiji without a work permit and you are volunteering on our farm.

We are very excited and motivated with the prospect of developing our farm.  Any help will be greatly appreciated and we are looking forward to meeting new volunteers helping us out with our projects while at the same time experiencing Fiji.

The farm is 12 km(30 minutes) from Nadi International  Airport and our closest town is Lautoka , 12 km away as well.  We are 1.5 km from the main highway, grocery shop  and nearest bus route, with buses going to town continuously.  We are 1 km (walking distance) to Vuda Marina and yacht club and First Landing Resort (pool/restaurants/fijian meke/dancing entertainment),  home to Subsurface Diving where Tony , our friend, offers diving and scuba courses.
Viseisei village, a typical Fijian village is close by.

A bus (2.00fjd) enroute to Lautoka can drop you off at the Dreketi Feeder Road Mosque and we will pick you up there.

Please keep us informed of your plans and decision to volunteer with us in Fiji and we can plan accordingly. 

Regards and Moce (good bye)

Claude and Ronelle

00 679 9288724  ronelle
00 679 9788178  claude

PS .What to do when not helping on the farm?

- have a mud bath at the mud pools
- walks in the area, lots of traditional sugar cane farms
- visit resort and marina close by ( happy hours)
- kayak between mangroves
- enjoy the beach
- fishing
- take a boat trip with resort close by to another island,spend the day, have lunch, snorkel.
- take a bus trip to Nadi/Denerau Island (resort/tourist mecca)
- groom our horses
                                                                                             and much more......
                                                                                              Have fun!

some questions asked by those before you!

What duration would you wish me to stay?

Fiji Immigration allow tourists for 6 weeks - 4 months which can be extended with a couple more months.  Never mention work. It is illegal to work in Fiji without a work permit.   So therefore I cannot give a specific time frame. There is always work and if you are happy helping out, it is good. Remember - you are volunteering. 

 I understand the contribution which is fairly small for the meals, does that provide every 3 meals?

Meals will be very basic and local.  Local diet might vary from food that you are used to.  Breakfast will be a hot  porridge or toast with coffee fruit in season.
Lunch will normally be a salad or sandwiches and dinner could be a stew with local veggies , a curry or fish(if you guys managed to catch!) with coconut milk, etc.
Meals will be provided on the days that you help on the farm. 
I know I will probably end up working more than 5 hours on some days and less on some others with the weather/work to be done. I like flexibility and hate the idea of "punching in" when volounteering :)

The time that you arrive will be the dry season.  We normally do not have torrential rain from May to November. We have a fijian family living and working on the farm and we work with them. We therefore work during the week so that they can have free time over the weekend.  We prefer volunteers to work the same as it could be difficult to need help or want something and then to ask them when it is their time off.
Is there wifi available anywhere near?

we have different internet options available. for about 99 fjd you can purchase a mobile flashnet and you will be able to connect basically anywhere in Fiji. Do remember that we do not have electricity on the land yet and your computer/phones will have to be charged in town .  we have internet cafes in town - fjd 1.50 per hour. maybe the solar panels/systems will move into priority !
How much extra money should I bring if I wanna enjoy some things alone ( activities) and simply enjoying myself,

Fiji is third world and I think you will find the basic things very cheap here. all prices fjd

movies = fjd 6
internet per hour 1.50
meal in restaurant 5.00
fancy restaurant 20-30
bus trip to town 1.50
round the island ferry trip 150.00
visit another island snorkel the day bbq lunch included 65.00
scuba dive 90.00
beer 4.50
express bus to suva capital 18.00
backpackers dorm 35-45 per night

if you tell me what you would like to do, i can fw brochures and prices.
adrenaline watersports
river fiji waterrafting
sigatoka sanddunes
natadola beach

 are there atm machines available?

all over the country

do i need a visa

The countries listed below are classified by Fiji as ‘visa-exempt’ countries. Nationals /citizens of these countries are not required to obtain visas before entering the Fiji Islands as their visitors’ visa will be stamped on arrival at the Fiji border.

Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize,  Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China People’s Republic of,  Columbia, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Commonwealth of Dominica, Estonia, Germany, Micronesia, Finland, France, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Holy See (Vatican), Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lesotho, Luxemburg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Niue, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, New Caledonia,  Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Serbia, Slovak Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis , St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vanuatu, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

so what must i bring?
mosquito repellant -  it is available here
personal toiletries
bath and swimming towel
sleeping bag 
rain coat
air mattrass if you wish - our mattrasses are thin and basic in the tent
snorkel stuff ( if you wish)
music instruments (if you wish)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the campsite

I love our new campsite and basic ablution facilities.

We camp in tents and have only torches and solar - no electricity yet....

The kitchen/dining area with shower in the background....

 The entrance to our bush shower

 Ta da!!!

We all worked soo hard and it is very 'green' to be showering in the open!
( a bit cold as well - it is winter in the southern hemisphere!)

Making the bonfire at night is a job that has to be done - for light and to keep the mosquitoes away....

The table laden with food.......

It is a fantastic opportunity to share the Fijian culture with volunteers from all over the world.

The photo above is a sevusevu ceremony we have for our new  volunteers - introducing them to Fijian culture and telling them about the do 's and don'ts!

Mariah keeps the tummies full with traditional Fijian kana (food)

traveller volunteers

.............and then one day while searching the internet , I stumbled upon the volunteer work exchange programmes.


HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.
HelpX is provided primarily as a cultural exchange for working holiday makers who would like the opportunity during their travels abroad, to stay with local people and gain practical experience. In the typical arrangement, the helper works an average of 4-5  hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts.

and there were more.....


Information exchange for volunteer workers and the organic WWOOF host farms who offer a learning and working opportunity.

I was amazed at this simple idea  !  It is an excellent way to travel and see the world. 
I listed the farm as a host....and was immediately inundated with offers from volunteers!

and then the race was on! 

We had to finish BASIC living amenities before our first volunteers arrived!  

Alex was the first volunteer, all the way from Canada and would not accept no for an answer - he was prepared to help build toilets and showers and rough it out !

Now remember, Claude was still struggling with THE pit.  

The pit/trench has been dug......

Jope striking a pose in the newly dug trench

The septic toilet has been built and was in place

then the rains came again and filled the pit with water.....

the pipes and fittings got damaged 

                            and we were back to nearly square one!

but Claude is a Capricorn....

                              he kept pushing on.....

                                                                 and on..............

and after loads and loads of stones were dumped in the was all in place 
                 and the pit was covered.....

Some serious hard work then started on our ablution facilities

 Alex and Naca digging holes for the posts....

 Bosse cutting round sticks for the privacy screens

                 and structures started to appear......

more about the campsite in my next blog.......

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fiji and our farm from above!

The view  - oooo the view  !!!

Julia from Germany ,  
                                   our first helper from helpx on the farm . 
                                                      Her second day on the farm started with an adventure!

a Friend, Doug King - from LITEFLITEGREEN ,  offered the girls a fly over our area and needless to say -

the girls jumped at this opportunity!

It was a glorious day and Claude and I were enviously watching them from the land!

the beautiful Nakorokoro reef and lighthouse....just around the corner from Naciriyawa.

Our catamaran in the fore with a view of Nadi Bay in the background.

Prrrfection moored in the inlet

Rochelle loved this flying...
                                        Doug, she might just be a trainee!


I do not have words to describe all of this.....

Vuda Marina is about 1.5 km from the farm.

                    a bit apprehensive at first,
                                                                   was all smiles afterwards!

Vuda marina and First Landing in the fore......
                                                                      note the foot shaped island...(man made)

Dreketi from the air....................

and this is the plane.....

it is a foxbat, light sports aircraft. 
                                                 It is available for hire and for sale  in Fiji 
                                                                                             and Doug also gives training.....

Thanx Doug , the girls had a GREAT time!