CONNECT WITH FIJI’S CULTURE
While marine conservation is at the fore at Jean-michel Cousteau Resort, the program also entwines local guidance from “bula buddies” who teach the children about their Fijian family traditions.
Bula buddies are young, energetic and more akin to siblings than guides, but are all from the local Savusavu community.
The children visit their family villages, share in local customs led by dance, signified by art and craft, and celebrated with food.
They attend the local school where the Connect to Kids program has been fostered by Jean-michel Cousteau to give kids a chance to forge bonds with similarly aged Fijian children outside of the comfort of the resort grounds.
It was heartwarming to watch the children meet and learn of their innate similarities, even though their worlds are so vastly different. I felt this was a pivotal link in my own children’s understanding that their place in the world is connected to something much bigger than just them.
I notice our morning walks along the shoreline becoming longer as our week progresses. My kids are seeing things differently. We stop regularly to spear mangrove seedlings into the mud, pick up rubbish and even re-home a hermit crab who had found himself a felt-tip pen lid instead of a shell.
We went home with hearts full and a pen pal for my daughter, with the girls already trading stories about their contrasting but now connected lives.