JACARA Volunters in Fiji!

Bula (Hello)!

I’m back again to share yet another (what I know will be) epic experience with each and every one of you. First and foremost a massive VINAKA VAKALEVU (thank you very much) is in order!! Jared and I leave tonight and Mom (Cathy) will be joining us in two weeks to volunteer for the Naqaqa Giving Foundation in Fiji! The task of raising money and not just collecting donated items proved to be one of my most difficult and humbling experiences yet. I’m terrible at asking for money and if it were just for me, forget about it. But when it’s for something bigger, something I believe in with every ounce of this 5’2″ tall person, I say “I’m all in”. Almost a year later, I watched as not only my goal was fulfilled, but Jared’s too, holy smokes! We did it together and well, I honestly could not have done it without his relentless support and unwavering ability to ask for money in the name of the people & place that first stole our hearts, Fiji.

For some of you, I know your stories, I know that funds don’t flow as freely as you wish they would, yet you gave. For others, you have a baby on the way, five mouths to feed, a dream to save or buy, chocolate to indulge in, and yet you gave. Each of you out there that donated so selflessly, thank you, thank you.

Goodbye kiss from Stella

Goodbye kisses for Jared from Stella, our pig.

As I woke up this morning husband by my side, I took a deep breath of the heavy air flowing in through our open windows. I yawned, louder than a humpback whale (or so my husband would say) and let my toes touch the cold wood floors for the last morning in a month. The sky seems just as excited as we are, but also anticipating the change to come, clouds in clumps, others gliding by with no care…just what my insides are doing. The ground was soaked and I can’t help, but think it fitting that we had our first rainfall last night (either that or my sprinklers went hog wild, pun intended). It’s about washing away the old, preparing for the new, the fresh. That’s exactly what Jared and I are doing. It’s time to begin this long anticipated adventure. If we choose we can open our hearts and our minds, fly without expectation or worry. That’s not so easy, though the payoff is sweet. It’s a choice. Do we want to allow ourselves to feel with reckless abandon, hold nothing back so we can experience this fully? Or will we protect ourselves out of fear, fear we will see something that makes us sad or uncomfortable, or the worst, feel that haunting sense that we’re powerless.

My instinct tells me we’ll welcome this journey, let the worry fall like the leaves soon will and indulge in this experience we worked so hard for, this experience that would not be possible without all of YOU that helped us get here. We will choose to stay present, not only for ourselves, but for you too. My gut tells me that won’t be so difficult. The Fijian people are like no other, they are so kind, so giving, smiles a plenty and even when they walk, slow & sure, it’s as if they’re respecting the ground below them, caressing the bountiful earth that provides healthy crops & a home in which the beauty is truly breathtaking.

On this crisp day in September I am overwhelmed with goodness. I have 3 bags full of donated items we get to share, from your hands, with our own hands, to gracious receiving hands. That’s right, on top of all of the money you helped Jared and I raise we are also leaving with over 150 pounds of much needed items that you helped us gather. Simply awesome!

When Fiji first stole our hearts

When Fiji first stole our hearts

As I close, with my husband in tow and a plane to catch I send one more gracious thank you, to all. You have inspired me beyond belief. We are blessed to be the ones that are able to make this journey and volunteer our time, but we do it for everyone. Over the next month we will be living with a family in the village of Vivili on the island of Vanua Levu. We will be working on a farm, spending our time going to schools, teaching dance, martial arts and doing whatever is needed of us. Thanks to all of you and the Naqaqa Giving Foundation (an amazing organization, doing big work in Fiji) we will finally be giving to those, that gave so freely to us.

Many say “wow the Fijian people are so lucky to have you”, well, I believe it is us that are the lucky ones. We have the opportunity to immerse ourselves into a different culture, with new traditions, lessons to learn and life to live, I mean, really live. That’s exactly what we plan to do!

Update & pictures to follow within the next two weeks!

Vinaka Vakalevu!!!

Jasmine, Jared & the JACARA Team

To make a greater difference; JACARA will donate 10% of ALL profits earned to the Naqaqa Giving Foundation!