Wednesday, August 15, 2007


WHILE Fiji enjoys continuous support from volunteers who have been coming in from different parts of the world, some have come to love the place more than others.
In-Hwan An, better known as An, Fiji will always be special place for him.
The 29-year-old from Seoul and five others arrived in December through the volunteer program, Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA).
"At first, we were nervous about learning English and adapting to a new culture but now I feel we have adapted well," he said.
"For my job, I was placed in the IT section of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
"During my time there, I assisted in developing a new database system, the designing and construction of a new computerised database system which has user-friendly features and easily accessed by users.
"In addition, I ensured that the Local Area Network (LAN) was operating smoothly, that the equipment was correctly configured and standardised and the software was up and compatible.
"I also backed-up the system, checked the equipment, set up user accounts and worked on troubles-hooting"
He helped renew the Youth and Sports ministry website and continually updating it for the users.
"My house is one of the government quarters off Muanikau Road. When I entered my house for the first time, I was surprised to find it had a bad smell and a lot of mould in the house.
"I think it had been a long time since the last person lived in there and it had been sitting empty and growing mildew," he said.
"After I cleaned it and get some fresh air moving through it, PWD came and painted the inside walls. Now it's very comfortable and I really love my house.
"I have done a lot of travelling in Fiji. I have visited Naigani Island where one of my co-workers is from."
The cultural-trip was beautiful because he had lovo food and learnt how to make coconut oil.
He has been to Volivoli near Rakiraki and gone snorkelling and deep-sea fishing.
"I went up to the Friendly North last October to visit some friends. I visited Naboutini Village for a couple of days, slept in an authentic Fijian bure and spent some time reading English books to kindie children.
"I spent several days in Labasa just relaxing and hanging out with my friends."
He made friends with an Indian family at Raralevu where he tasted some fiery Indian curry.
"One of the best things about Fiji was that I met my fiance here."
An met Lindsey who was a volunteer with the Peace Corps with the Ministry of Health.
He said his time here had been "like a dream come true for me, because I found paradise and fell in love in paradise".
"I have really enjoyed my time in Fiji," he said.
"We are hoping to make enough money so we can come back to Fiji in the future for a nice, long, sunny vacation.
"The people, food and weather, everyone and everything have been so nice here.
"I'm happy I had the opportunity to come there and work and learn about the local cultures.
"I enjoy both the Fijian and Indo-Fijian lifestyles.
"I really hope I can come back to Fiji in the near future and meet up with my friends again.
"I want to thank all the people who have invited me to their homes for a nice dinner and to those who have been so kind to me while I've been living in this wonderful country.
"I will never forget you."
An said Fiji was now part of him because of the many beautiful things that happened to his life in this Pacific paradise.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online