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Texan talks the talk

Kelera Serelini
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

COURTNEY Ray Goodson sits herself beautifully on the front desk of the Shree Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha in Samabula, greeting visitors in Fiji Hindi.

Her friendliness radiates warmth to the newly-opened Sabha headquarters.

Courtney has mastered the language and proudly speaks it without reservation.

She said knowing to talk in Fiji Hindi made her daily bus travels to work from Narere a humorous one.

She hears juicy conversations from her neighbours on the bus and it is an experience Courtney has come to love.

But Courtney is not just a pretty face.

The 25-year-old is a Peace Corps volunteer from the lone-star state of Texas in the United States of America.

She volunteered to come to Fiji to help people in the community.

She has been in Fiji since 2009 and returns home in July.

Courtney helped in the updating of the Shree Sanatan website, several workshops and cultural activities and enjoyed it.

She considers Fiji as one of the best countries she has visited and hopes to return in the future.

"Yeah, I love Fiji. Fiji is the best," she said.

"It has been challenging, yet rewarding.

"There have been challenges, physical, emotional, cultural and the thought of friends and family back home, but it has been great.

"I have shared so much with the community here.

"The people are so friendly and the environment is beautiful, so do not litter."

One of the workshops she organised was on breast cancer awareness in Labasa.

The opening of the Shree Sanatan headquarters was one of the exciting events she attended as a volunteer for the religious body.

"A lot of time I just say, wow, that is amazing. When they built this office, we all thought, wow this will be our first headquarters.

"We were telling ourselves, yes it's happening, we're finally going to have a new headquarters.

"That was one of the memorable times I had here."

The opportunity to learn Fiji Hindi and having a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables are some things Courtney will miss when she returns home.

"I hope to use it when I get back home.

"I love the fresh fruits and vegetables.

"You guys do not realise the varieties you have here.

"They are just wonderful."

She said her Spanish had been replaced by Fiji Hindi and she enjoyed the switch.

Aside from her new language, yaqona became one of her favourite pastime drinks.

"I love it I guess because it is a social drink.

"I would love to take one kilo of yaqona back home," the volunteer said.

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