Fiji Island Volunteer Opportunity
Live on a Fijian Island in a eco-cultural sustainable village: for 1 week to 6 months
Live with Fijian people, Fijian style, on a 2 mile long island.
Learn local lore and skills.Learn sustainable living. No other location in Fiji can offer what Vovovoro offers. Learn from a people still connected to the earth, living with it.
Untarnished natural beauty, dreamlike white sandy beaches, unforgettable sunsets, swimming snorkeling, palms, papaya, banana...local culture, wonderful people, simple comfortable lodging, good food. Live and learn together with a small group of like-minded people.
Suitable for: single travelers of all ages, families, couples, groups, Vorovoro is a safe and welcoming place.
Accomodations: Basic domitory style, or family bures (typical Fijian walled huts of bamboo, native woods and woven palm mats.
Included in the price of your stay are three meals a day (and tea!), vegetarian available.
Transportation by boat from the town of Labasa, Vanua Levu Island ( the north island) is included in the price of a stay.
Fly to Suva,Fiji, then to Labasa. The best prices on flights to Fiji are usually on New Zealand Air, from Los Angeles, California.
Length of stay: Visitors are welcome to come for one week or more. Positions are frequently open for stays of 1-6 months for people to assist with the project.
Price: From per week.
Maximum presence of visitors on the island 30. This limited number allows for the best exchange among the Mali people and visitors.
Approximately 12-15 native Fijians from the Mali tribe live on the island to maintain the grounds and structures nurture the vegetable garden, poultry and pigs, provide meals, and of course, interact with the visitors who are considered "visiting tribe members".
A "Tribewanted" coordinator lives permanently on the island, along with an assistant or two who coordinate arrivals,departures, services and intercultural/ interpersonal relations with the island people.
The place to experience Fijian life is on the Island of Vorovoro, part of the Mali islands of Fiji. This is a truly tropical paradise on all of 2 miles of island, sandy white beaches, the most beautiful coral reef teaming with unimaginable fish, eco-accomodations and authentic Fijian constructions called "bures"* . The Vorovoro project is run in conjunction with the Mali people, it helps to bring needed revenue to a people who mostly rely on fishing and farming.
Fiji is made of up two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, and about 300 small islands scattered about the Pacific. Each island has a Tribe that it belongs to. Fiji is not divided into states or provinces, it is divided into Tribes, all with their own Chief and the territory belongs to the tribe, more specifically it belongs to the chief and his family, whose rule is passed down through the family. The tribememebers are given use of the tribal land.
Just off of the north side of the north island of Fiji are a few islands referred to as MALI, belonging to the Mali tribe, ruled by TuiMali, a sage and kind man who is one of the best and benevolent chiefs of all of Fiji.
About 4 years ago a project was started on the tiny island of Vorovoro, which is the "private" island of the Chief of the Mali tribe and his family. The chief, with the help of his son who had traveled to England, had the idea to advertise for a project to somehow utilize the island for a form of tourism that would be acceptable to the Mali people; they advertised this on the internet.
The Fijian people, in general have a very hard time finding work, most are subsistence farmers or fishermen, life is good, but cash practically does not exist, the people do not earn money. Tribespeople may never have the chance to leave their tiny island. TuiMali wanted to create some way to help educate his people better, to give them a "door" to the rest of the world.
To make a long story short, two young and hopeful English lads decided to take on the challenge took off for Fiji immediately upon finding this opportunity; over a bowl of grog and a strong handshake,thus found themselves "inventing" the project which would become Tribewanted. Little did they know that TuiMali had just turned down "Survivor" recognizing the negative effect this kind of tourism, publicity and mentality, would have on his people.
Vorovoro owes a lot to the "firstfooters" - the small group of young people who first went to the island in 2006, along with the primary founder, Ben Keene, and literally hacked out a clearing in the dense tropical growth, erected a few shacks, and thus started the "eco village" on Vorovoro. The project immediately attracted the attention of the media, especially in England where it was billed as an "online and physical" Tribe. People joined the project with increasing numbers for about 3 years, and presence on the island has generally been around 15 visitors, but can be as low as one or two!
Since this project has cooincided with the birth of such things as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and many of the visitors over the last three years have been young and technilogically inclined, it is possible to see many film clips and testimonials about life on Vorovoro Please use these links for a glimpse of Vorovoro Island life, many more are available.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ30-nuhEF4 March1 celebration, 2007. The project explained.
For in depth information or to "join" the Tribewanted project, visit www.tribewanted.com. New visitors to the site should go directly to the " ABOUT" page. ( To just follow the project online, join as a FREE member.)
Rarely is a visitor not so moved by their experience that they do not leave Vorovoro without feeling a bit of heartbreak while shedding real tears, this may be in part due to the fact that each departing visitor has a send off, and the Isa Lei, is sung as they say good bye to each and every islander.
The Mali people actually tell you that you are part of their family when you arrive; you must take part in an arrival ceremony called a SevuSevu, in which you ask permission to stay (this dates back centuries and is the official way of visiting any island tribe). The chief officially invites each arriving guest during the SevuSevu. The non-Fijian island coordinators help prepare the new arrivals for the ceremony so that there are no cultural blunders (which are however tolerated!)
Contribute to saving the Fijian culture by being part of it: The Tribewanted project has fostered the continuation of tribal ways which on many islands are dying out. By providing an "instructional" holiday the islanders have a reason to continue their traditional way of building, preform ceremonies, practice arts and crafts - that are otherwise beginning to be lost.
One of the largest ceremonial "bures" was built on Vorovoro and is used frequently for visiting dignitaries from other Fijian islands.