Last week, Greg contacted me to ask whether I would be up for a little project with him: interviewing several University of the South Pacific students about their experiences with COVID-19. It sounded like a fun project and we met a few days later together with three students to record the interviews on campus.
In Fiji, COVID has never really hit as bad as in most other places on earth – at least not physically in the terms of being ill with the disease. Being a major tourism-oriented economy, Fiji had to suffer from a massive crash of revenue from the tourism sector with thousands of people working in the industry losing their job.
Teh resilience of Pacific people keeps striking me as simply amazing and I had the same thought again listening to the interviews while recording. Being a very differently-minded society, traditional Fijians (I-Taukei) rely much more on their social and cultural bonds and tradition than necessarily only striving for more money. Of course, there are many exceptions to this admittedly very generalising assumption, but the community structure here in Fiji indeed has lived for hundreds and hundreds of year a lifestyle of helping one another in communities and living a subsistence lifestyle.
Without distressing too much, I felt that this Pacific mindset really came through while listening to the student’s answers. Have a look for yourself in the video below. Stay safe everyone!
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Tom Vierus is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist based in Suva, Fiji Islands. This blog is dedicated to his assignments and to sharing some behind-the-scenes footage.