New South Wales Vincentians visit to our Brothers and Sisters in Fiji for two weeks in October 2018.
The purpose of the “Encounter Fijiā€¯ was:
1) To deepen the relationship between Australian and our Vincentians brothers and sisters in Fiji. We did this by visiting about 30 conferences, and going with them to visit their companions, sharing meals with them, but mostly by sharing from both sides of our stories of good works stories. The companion pictured below right does her washing in the bathtub and has to negotiate steps out of her wheelchair.
2) To build new connections and relationships. We did this by sharing our stories within parishes and schools, and also the Teachers College in Suva as this is where the next teachers will be coming from to start mini Vinnies and youth groups in their schools and parishes. Pictured below are a nucleous of students who are interested in starting a youth group.
3) To deepen our Vincentians understanding of poverty and those less fortunate. We witnessed this first hand during visits to companions. This community's only source of income was in scavenging plastic bottles from the tip next to their homes and selling to reclycler. The people were were most gracious and accepting but look to the Fijian Vincentians for the 'hand up' to improve their living standard.
4) To provide the opportunities for strengthening understanding of cultural awareness. We did this in our numerous meetings with many conferences and parishes (seen below left with members of the Holy Family conference in Labasa), and also meeting with the Archbishop of Fiji, Peter Loi Chong, and Fijian National SVDP President, Isireli Temo.