When local Quirindi Paramedic Nicole Beacroft was approached by a friend suggesting they go to a small village in Fiji to build houses, she didn’t hesitate and jumped at the chance. Nicole and her friend Heidi Harvey from the Central Coast left for Koroipita on April 20 to view the site they would be working at for five days and meet the other volunteers who would be helping to build houses for the families in the village. Growing up in Newcastle then relocating to Quirindi eight years ago, Nicole has travelled around the globe but found Fiji and the Fijian people to be one of the more memorable places and people she has experienced.
Located outside Lautoka, the village is small but already has a community hall, school, computer lab and library all laced with a very strong sense of community. The houses built would cost families $1 per day per family and the appreciation felt by the volunteers was palpable. There were over thirty Australian volunteers, forty New Zealanders including ten high school girls plus a team of carpenters employed by Habitat for Humanity who worked in conjunction with Rotahomes and the New Zealand Government to overview the developments. The Rotahomes project is an on-going project to build low cost housing to alleviate subhuman living conditions for impoverished families. Volunteers working with community residents have built 705 homes in country areas and 111 homes at Koroipita community. The project has two distinct areas of focus; providing cyclone proof homes and providing a comprehensive community development program.
Although very humid and warm, coupled with two afternoons of tropical rain, the volunteers were able to successfully complete a house within the days that Nicole and her friend were there which was extremely satisfying, “The people were amazing, as was the atmosphere and the villagers so it made for a very humbling and satisfying few days of hard work and fun,” Nicole said.
Already planning another trip to Cambodia to hopefully do the same thing, Nicole is excited at the prospect of being able to create more homes for families in other similar countries, “They think you are doing them this great deed, which you are, but what you get back from them is immeasurable,” Nicole said.