It seems that this time of year we feel compelled to create and/or read lists–the ten best movies, the thirty best female vocalists of the decade, five foolproof ways to lose weight, eight helpful hints you can’t live without. So, I figured I might as well jump right onto the ol bandwagon with MY list. LIke Letterman, I’ll do it as a countdown.
7. WAKE UP EVERY MORNING TO THE SOUND OF THE OCEAN
The KiiKii, your home while volunteering, is right smack dab on the ocean. But then, just about everything in Rarotonga is right on the ocean–the island’s interior is completely mountainous. If you have trouble falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, you need to bring earplugs!
6. HANG OUT WITH THE OWNER OF RAROTONGA’S ONLY BREWERY
Yes, Global Volunteers’ country manager is indeed the owner of Matutu Brewery. And, as a Rarotonga resident, James knows everything of importance, like where to get the best pizza I’ve ever tasted! That’s where we were heading right after our brewery tour. Pizza and beer, what could be a better ending to a volunteer’s day?
5. MAKE WONDERFUL NEW FRIENDS
The nicest people become Global Volunteers…take a look
4. LEARN TO DANCE
It seems like everyone on the island sings and dances. Those in the know (like us volunteers) catch the professionals practicing the routine they perform at the local resorts. There is also a show every Saturday at the outdoor market. Here’s a 30 second clip of my favorite dancers. Check out the expression on the little girl’s face, second to the left. Watching her always made me smile.
3. EXPERIENCE A DIFFERENT CULTURE
Cook Islanders are gracious, friendly people who welcome visitors to their island. Family is everything to them. As a volunteer you become a member of the extended family, sharing food and laughter.
Best of all, you learn to appreciate “island time” and a life style that is safer, slower and friendlier than what you might have been used to. You come home more relaxed and more aware of what really matters.
2. ENJOY UNSPOILED BEAUTY
New Zealanders in general, and Cook Islanders in particular, are in tune with nature, and care about preserving the environment–and it shows. No billboards, no litter, no traffic jams–just flowers and mountains and ocean.
1. FALL IN LOVE
What a wonderful way to spend three weeks!