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Love in paradise

Repeka Nasiko
Saturday, February 15, 2014

BEN and Paige Fenske chose Fiji for their honeymoon.

However, before shipping off to the blue lagoons in the Yasawas to celebrate their new life together, the couple spent the week volunteering their time for Vinaka Fiji Yasawa Trust Foundation.

The American couple signed up for the Volunteer Tourism program run by Vinaka Fiji Yasawa Trust Foundation — a community assistance program formed by South Sea Cruises and Awesome Adventures Fiji.

The program recruits volunteers allowing free help to communities in the Yasawas that have been receiving assistance from the foundation.

Mr and Mrs Fenske have been spending time at the Malevu Village Youth MYF project digging, clearing and planting vegetables for the village farm.

Mrs Fenske said the experience had been overwhelming.

"I've had one of the best times of life being here and being able to do what I can for the community here," she said.

"There's a huge difference between the community that we've been working in and the one where we come from.

"Here it's very laidback and we're able to enjoy each others company while doing some work for the people of Malevu."

Mr Fenske said the past week had been an eye-opening adventure.

"We really enjoyed ourselves and we're very fortunate for being able to do this," he said.

Vinaka Fiji operations manager Elenoa Nimacere said the volunteer program started early last year.

"Since then we have been hosting a number of tourists who want to do something for the people of the Yasawas," she said.

"It's our way of thanking the people of Yasawa for allowing tourists to come and enjoy their environment and their hospitality.

"The trust also works with a number of volun-tourism organisations that offer a combination of work and holiday which is an enormously rewarding way to experience the Yasawas."

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