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Built in 1932, Vatuvonu School was once the pride of the South Pacific. Hundreds of students came from the surrounding islands, but then the SDA Fiji Mission hit upon hard financial times. In desperation, educational funds had to be redirected. Four years ago the secondary school here had to be closed. A year later the vocational school had the same demise. Last year, funds were cut off to the primary school with instructions for it to close. Instead, a small core of dedicated volunteers (mostly retired grandparents) worked without pay to keep the campus barely going. A growing burden of debt ($10,000 USD) continued to loom over the school’s modest tuition and gardening funds. Armed only with sticks and knives, the children’s parents planted taro on a tiny portion of the school’s four hundred-acre farm to raise money for the loan, but the meager funds weren’t enough. On the coming Sunday, the Fiji Mission Executive Board was scheduled to make the difficult decision to sell the farm. With no other available source of income, the school would finally be forced to close. In the words of the school’s pastor, “We are standing on air and only a miracle can save our school.”
I returned to the United States knowing that a miracle was desperately needed to save the school. By touring this web site, you will discover that the Lord is truly blessing our work in Fiji. Every single one of us has the opportunity to be a Christian Warrior for our very big God. I invite you to be a part of the big dream in Fiji that is fast becoming a working reality.
The focus of the DMF is to provide medical and dental services as well as health education in the more remote villages and schools of Fiji. This type of outreach we believe to be the most fulfilling mission service. It puts our volunteers in direct contact with the people where they live. We at the DMF consider ourselves to be mission trip facilitators in that we want your time in Fiji to be Christ focused and life changing for you as well as the Fijians.
All medical personal should be aware that the following diseases exist in Fiji and know how to prevent and treat them:
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not take out-of-date medications or supplies!
Our headquarters and prime mission area is located in a remote, densely tropical area of the island of Vanua Levu at the head of a large bay in a cove, surrounded by high mountains. The physical environment of the area has an effect on the health problems of the population to a large extent, i.e., remoteness, heat, humidity, water sources, etc.
The remoteness of the area has an impact on the pathology you will see at the clinic. The local villagers do not trust the physicians at the two small hospitals on the island and therefore do not want to go there for care. Therefore, by the time you see a patient at the clinic a disease process may be in an advanced state or complicated.
The heat and humidity of the region contribute to the development and persistence of the many dermatological problems encountered.
The amount of rainfall on the island makes water very abundant. Unfortunately, during the rainy season, that abundance may lead to an abundance of mosquitoes carrying the Dengue Fever virus. In addition, many villages depend upon surface water or shallow wells for their drinking water, with the potential for water-borne disease outbreaks.
The following is an outline of some of the common medical problems you can expect to encounter while on the island.
Mouth & Throat
Dear Fiji Missionary Participant:
I would like to extend a personal welcome for joining our mission work in Fiji. This is going to be a great opportunity to do positive, uplifting works in the name of Jesus Christ. A critical aspect of our work in Fiji is to help change our own lives by doing His work. I hope you will be understanding if a few things go wrong here and there, but they will be opportunities for extra adventure and a learning experience to get it right next time.
The main goal is to build our mission facility to support all of our work in Fiji. The long-term goals include, but are not limited to:
An important consideration for the interdenominational aspect of the the Dream Machine Foundation encourages all
Christians that truly follow Christ’s teachings to work together. As a Seventh-day Adventist Christian I am eagerly looking forward to having other Christians see my church laboring at what it does best, bringing the love and word of God to all the countries and peoples of the world through a health and educational ministry.
Now some practical considerations. The town of Savusavu is 80 kilometers or two hours of driving time from our mission facility and Vatuvonu School. Our dormitory has sleeping pads on cots with springs in a metal frame. There are hot showers, flush toilets, and 110 volt electricity (the generators are mostly run in the evening for three hours and for work projects). Food is provided, and clothes are washed by hand. Everyone should be aware that the Fijians will try to treat you like honored guests and do everything for you. As such, we need to work extra hard to share equally in housekeeping. Project Fiji will provide for all the necessary provisions, which will include lots of fresh fruits and local foods. Even people who don’t normally like cooked greens are going to be surprised by the wonderful diversity of taste of the Fijian garden-fresh green vegetables.
There will be a charge of $10 per day per person for building and equipment maintenance. We will prepare a profit loss statement to outline your other actual costs, which will include, food, fuel, transportation salary for the cook, local transportation, etc. Please note that the charge per person will be determined by the actual cost, we do not profit from these charges, even though we have other operational costs to support each mission group. Depending upon what projects your group will be participating in will determine the need for build materials, etc.
In reference to clothing, Fiji is in the tropics with weather very much like Hawaii’s. Since Fiji is in the southern hemisphere anticipate that the seasons are the opposite of what we expect in the good old USA. March is the threshold of the fall dry season. It should be very comfortable. Expect to wear shorts, T-shirts, and tennis shoes a lot. You will want to bring long-sleeved shirts and pants for evenings to protect from mosquitoes.
Especially for women: Fijians dress very modestly, particularly outside of the city, where most of our mission groups will spend their time. You will rarely find a woman wearing pants or shorts in the village. In fact, it is disrespectful for a woman to enter a village without wearing a skirt or sulu (traditional Fijian wrap around skirt) that reaches below the knees, and Fijian women will deliberately avoid going to visit even their best friend at a neighboring village if they are not dressed appropriately, so as not to offend anyone. We highly encourage the women in our mission groups to respect the culture as well, and to pack plenty of cool, comfortable skirts to wear while in Fiji. The Fijians will love it if you try to wear their traditional sulu as well, however these can take some getting used to, and you’ll probably be more comfortable in a skirt from home for much of the time. If you plan on doing construction work, very modest shorts/capris/pants are acceptable. Scrubs are also appropriate for ladies doing medical work. When swimming, bathing suits should be worn with shorts and t-shirt. Spaghetti strap, tank top type shirts are not very appropriate to wear in Fiji.
Note: there is the threat of getting dengue fever in Fiji, particularly during the rainy season (Jan – Mar). Of the three thousand volunteers that have visited Fiji with the Dream Machine Foundation, I am only aware of one person who has gotten it. A mission group with another organization had six people come down with it. Simple mosquio precautions prevents infection.. It is a mosquito-born disease that can cause fevers of up to 107 degrees. Victims experience pain in the joints, severe headaches and requires rather simple medical attention…which we can provide. Dengue fever is more likely to occur around major cities. This disease is nowhere near as severe as malaria, however we do need to take precautions. (The Dengue bearing- mosquito is a day-time biting bug…that means take precautions from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. I find insect repellent that contains neet to be excellent). Everyone must take an adequate supply of mosquito repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts with pants at night and sleep under mosquito nets. The dormitory has mosquito netting on the windows and individual mosquito nets hang over each bed. Be sure to tuck the net under your mattress.
While on the subject of diseases it is critical to know what precautions to take in advance. The below listed diseases (click on hyperlinks for more information) are present in Fiji, however we do take serious precautions to limit their presence at Vatuvonu School. All of these diseases are actively present in the United States. Please note that the Fiji Tourist Board, nor do I know of any travel agency or resort, that advises tourists of these diseases. They tend to be mostly a problem for villagers that don’t practice good housekeeping or take simple mosquito precautions. All our volunteers are cautioned not to eat food or drink untreated water in villages away from Vatuvonu School. Our water is treated and food carefully prepared with full precautions.
Now back to clothing. Consider a pair of good hiking shoes. The school is surrounded with ridges, hills, and a lush rainforest. If you take plenty of clothes, no one will have to worry about doing very much laundry. Helpful hint: on departure, leave your clothes with the villagers who will greatly appreciate them. Plus, it will leave room in your luggage to take presents home. This is the tropics so don’t forget hats and sun tan lotion. Rain- coats are an unnecessary bother in the tropics. An umbrella can be very helpful for shade as well as rain. Shorts and T-shirts are comfortable for day-wear and easy to wash. Local women tend to dress very conservative. Modesty is important. It is OK for women to swim in swimsuits with a T-shirt and shorts.
Enclosed is a personal information questionnaire that needs to be filled out and returned as soon as possible to Stephen Arrington, PO Box 3234, Paradise, CA 95967. Read our checklist for clothing and personal items. Everyone can take one carry-on bag and check one bag. This is a great opportunity for you to consider bringing extra soap, toothbrushes, etc.
We have now treated not 25,000, but over 30,000 patients, flown 7 fijians to the USA for life and limb saving surgeries and saved hundreds of lives. Really feels good being able to write that.
For scuba divers we have access to two of the world’s best dive sites through local dive shops, which also offer scuba instruction. All equipment can be easily rented, but it is best to bring your own mask, fins, booties, and snorkel. This is tropical diving so divers need only 3mm wetsuits. In the town of Savusavu, the Cousteau Resort offers incredible diving at a reduced rate for Project Fiji missionaries.
Thank you again for participating in the mission project. May the Lord bless our work.
Project Fiji Release, Consent & Assumption of Risks
I,_______________________________, am fully aware that during the mission trip in which I wish to participate, as organized by The Dream Machine Foundation and Project Fiji and/or its associates, agents or subcontractors, certain risks and dangers may occur, including, but not limited to, the hazards of traveling in difficult or unknown terrain, accident or ill-ness in remote locations, without medical facilities and/or personnel, long distance travel by air, automobile, boat or other conveyance and the forces of nature. In consideration of, and as part of, the right to participate in such program and the services and/or room and/or board arranged for me by The Dream Machine Foundation and Project Fiji and/or its associates, agents or subcontractors, I have and do hereby assume all risks arising directly or indirectly out of or in connection with the expedition in which I wish to participate. I consent to be given medical care by any qualified medical personnel designated by The Dream Machine Foundation and Project Fiji and/or its authorized representative at any facility I understand and agree that The Dream Machine Foundation and Project Fiji and/or its agents, associates or subcontractors, assumes no responsibility or liability of any kind or nature whatsoever and I forever protect, save, hold harmless and indemnify The Dream Machine Foundation and Project Fiji and its directors, officers, employees, associates, agents and subcontractors from any and all liability, actions, causes of actions, claims, demands, debts, personal or property losses, costs, damages, injuries or death, suits or judgments, penalties, expenses and any other liability of any kind or nature whether negligent or not (except for intentional injuries), including but not limited to attorney's fees, which I now have or which may arise directly or indirectly out of or in connection with the mission trip in which I wish to participate. The terms hereof shall serve as a release and assumption of risks of my heirs, executors, and administrators and for all members of my family, including any minors accompanying me.
__________________________________________ Mission Trip Member Name
__________________________________________ Parent or Legal Guardian Name
__________________________________________ Witness Name
________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ For Emergencies Contact (include phone numbers and full names)
Please note any medical problems, allergies, doctor’s tel # or prescription drugs you may be taking on the space below and use the back of this page as necessary.
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