Mayfield East women move beyond tourism

IT could have been a simple trip to Fiji, but that was not enough for these two women of Mayfield East.

With their philanthropic heart-strings pulled by the endearing natures of the villagers they met along the way, Yvonne Boillat and Debra Waters quickly turned it into something more.

Now on their third trip to Fiji, these women are hoping to again extend the hand of friendship with outreach work in the village of Navua, where they will assist with the resourcing of the village school and the local hospital, and support working volunteers.

"It didn't really take long for the tourist part to be over," Ms Waters said of her first trip.

"We wanted to do more than just be a tourist and we got to know the people, we went to the villages because we wanted to see how they lived, and we were intrigued with how these people were surviving off the land.

"They live in very basic conditions - their houses are falling down, there is no equipment at the hospital - but these are people who would give you the food from their mouths."

As well as taking over much-needed supplies, Ms Boillat, a registered nurse, will work with locals on diabetes education and give a presentation to staff at Navua Hospital at the invitation of the chief executive officer.

In all, they are taking up to 100 kilograms of much-needed supplies, such as hospital tubing to replace the old stuff being held together by sticky tape, and kidney dishes, scissors and artery forceps.

With contributions from a wide cross-section of the community, including donations and logistical support from Uniting Church, the pair left on a 10-day trip last Wednesday, February 19.

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