Friday, June 8, 2012

Fiji and Update on 1 Million Acts of Kindness Challenge

The weeks have flown by and as I've been all over the place lately I've had to summarise how I've been doing on the 1 Million Acts of Kindness 8 Week Challenge.

Week 1 - Kindness to Loved Ones

Week 2 - help those in our extended circle: work colleagues, acquaintances, neighbours, even strangers

Week 3 - Giving Week. It's not what you give or how much that matters, it's the doing that's important.

Week 4 -  be mindful of the pets we have as companions, wildlife and also include animals that nourish so many of us. Eat ethically, make humane choices at the supermarket or butcher. Too expensive? Then start by eating less meat.

I was aware of these challenges each week and tried to incorporate it into my work/home/holiday.

When I was rushing around the city picking up our passports (which I had left to the last minute of course, you can read all about it here), I realised there are still the same amount of people begging on the streets as they were fifteen years ago.  The people had changed but they generally had the same spots claimed.  I had just come out of the NZ Passport Office on Hunter Street and right on the corner in the middle of all the people waiting to cross the intersection at Pitt Street, an elderly man sat cross legged at the kerb with his head hanging down.  He held a sign asking for help as he needed $50 to get a bed at the hostel.

I had just realised I had forked out hundreds so that my family and I could fly to Fiji the next day for my sister-in-law's wedding.  How lucky was I?  I hurriedly dug out all the gold coins from my wallet, which probably only amounted to about $12, and plonked it in his hat on the ground.  As I ran across the road with the lights, I realised I probably could have given him one of the $50 notes I had just withdrawn out of the ATM for the holiday and we wouldn't have missed it.  It probably would have been a good idea actually as there were way too many cocktails consumed during that week (I may blog about the festivities another time, depending on how embarassing the late night photos are).

During our trip I was glaringly made aware of how we lead such a privileged life.  Outside the resorts, Fijians live very basically in the villages and I often wondered what they would think of our busy and expensive life in Sydney.  A tour of the Nokonoko District school and the pottery village opened our kids' eyes as to how lucky we are.  The school had the most run down classrooms I have ever seen.  I didn't expect to see any technology but they did have three circa 1990 computers in the locked library which also contained one bookcase of old books (and a set of Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedias, a rare sighting!).

This picture has been copied from here, as I had stupidly forgotten to take my iPhone OR camera on the tour, so we have no record of the day or the actual kids we met. But this looks exactly like the school and the children's uniforms are the same - may even be the same kids!

So as they were so beautiful and welcoming (each class sang a song for us and shook our hands), I feel compelled to help out more than the cash donation we made.  I think of all the waste of resources that I see everyday and how everyone always wants the latest gadget and has no qualms about throwing out the old (me included - I'm very excited about buying a Mac Air next week and passing on this old clunky laptop to the kids). So after talking to Ana from Ana's Adventure Tours, who was also driving the mini bus, I might be able to organise some laptops to be shipped to the school via her husband.  He is a teacher at a Methodist school in the town and is coming to Australia in August.

This has been my train of thought and as I've never organised such a thing before I'm asking if anybody out there has any information they can give me on how I can go about this.  Ana has my email address so I'm hoping to hear from her soon.  She said that her husband can probably take four laptops with him in luggage and in on flight baggage.

Of course The Moneymaker has his doubts and suspicions, as that his in his nature, but he is willing to give up his old laptop if he knows it will get to the school.

Any advice, readers?

Also, if you took up the 1 Million Acts of Kindness Challenge, how have you gone with your last four weeks of giving?  This week was the one where we are kind to animals and I'll be posting something about that later.


  1. Wow what an awesome challenge - what about 'charging' the laptops - sorry if it is a silly question - as lots of older laptops need 100% AC access because of dud batteries - do they have adapters to power them up there ?
    I can ask around for you too.

    My friend is going to Bali in 2-3 weeks and taking with her items for a Women's and children's health clinic .

    She is taking small items mainly -bandages, tea tree oil, arnica , lanolin creams etc and baby singlets but they had laptops on the list too. I am giving her things too. The clinic gets charged $100 in postage if they get posted rather than delivered by visiting tourists -who come prepared.

    1. Not sure about the power thing, good point. They did have enough electricity for the three old pc's they had already. Sounds like a great idea taking small but very important things over, I was thinking maybe I could also send over waterproof plasters, maybe I could approach Elastoplast seeing I just did a promotion for them?

  2. Such a great idea Becci! I might have some old laptops at home that I might be able to contribute, too. Let me know! X

    1. That would be great Rah! I'll let you know once I hear back from Ana. xx


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