Recently I've made friends with a group of Australian Youth Ambassador for Development volunteers (AYAD) who are working here in Suva sponsored by AUSaid. Some of them are working at the Pacific Regional HIV Aids Project Office and have roles such as monitoring and evaluation co-ordinator of the project. The project is AUSaid funded but will soon be handed over to Secreteriat of the Pacific Community, a regional intergovernmental organization. The project looks after HIV and STI funding for 14 pacific island nations. The money goes towards activities promoting awareness of HIV and STI's, and money also goes towards funding for doctors and nurses to attend health conferences. There are all sorts of AYAD volunteers here, another one is working in the Ministry of Health looking at finance and another is working for an organisation similar to RSPCA aiming to improve the treatment of animals. I went out for dinner with a group of these AYAD volunteers on Friday which was heaps of fun! There are two pharmacist AYAD's from Melbourne arriving in Suva soon...unfortunately my time here doesnt' overlap with their arrival, but I have heard they will be involved in things such as looking at drug management, stock control and drug information services.
This weekend I visited the Fiji Museum..the highlight was seeing this huge handmade double hulled canoe (or 'drua') in the middle floor of the main gallery. There were exhibits discussing the different melanesian, polynesian and micronsian influences on the ethnicity of Fijians today. I also liked the little models of traditional Fiji villages and huts. After the museum I strolled through Suva city, passing the athletes playing rubgy at Albert Park, and stopping at a free music concert in Ratu Sukuna park. I experienced my first Fiji bus ride later that day with no windows and music blasting through the radio, it was a great experience!