I’m Matia Niumalele, the Youth officer of Seaqaqa branch. I have served communities in Seaqaqa, as a volunteer for Fiji Red Cross Society, for 3 years now.
I am from Naividamu, a little village about 26 km from Seaqaqa town on the island of Vanua Levu.
You will have to walk 5 hours to get to us or you could catch the bus, which would take about 40 minutes. It is quite a bumpy but beautiful ride.
There’s no network where i come from. The bus comes once everyday. So if you miss the ride back, you’re stuck.
Because we are quite far from the town area, our bus drivers help us with our work. We have built a great relationship with the bus service. They see our faces and say “Red Cross, ke pass aj konchi hai huma share? (Red Cross, what do you want me to take today).”
They don’t fully realise, because of them, many people, like those in my village, have access to life saving messages.
Should our branch President, Jane Naulu need to send information or materials to us, she will head to the bus station and give Salend Kumar, our bus driver, the IEC (Information, Education and Communication) materials for Naividamu and the nearby villages. Then one of us will walk to the top of the village and wait for the bus. Salend hands the package to us and inside Jane leaves clear instructions on how to distribute and what to do.
We then get on a fiber boat and deliver to a few other villages along the coast. Then we come back and do an information session with other volunteers and members of the community.
You see, our village is quite far from the mainland, with a weak network signal and it is difficult to access the main hospital or health centers, so it is very important that we do everything we can to keep people healthy and safe. Sharing information that will protect them from infectious diseases like Leptospirosis, Dengue Fever, Typhoid and Diarrhoea.
These messages do save lives, especially with our community.
A big vinaka vakalevu to the bus drivers in Seaqaqa especially to Salend Kumar. Thank you for helping us stay connected.