Youth officer turns tour guide

In her element ... Tour guide Monika Lewaicei. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

KNOWLEDGE about Fiji wildlife at Kula WILD Adventure Park was something Monika Lewaicei had to learn about in a short span of time. However, when she describes wildlife to tourist and locals, it seems she has been a tour guide for a long time.

Monika is a familiar face at the park now being its tour guide for almost a year, and with her vibrant and bubbly personality, she surely has an impression on visitors.

Originally from Tunuloa in Cakaudrove, Monika shares how she loves working in Nadroga and how she has learnt to adapt to the wildlife program at the park.

“The experience of working at the park and helping people understand about Fiji’s wildlife is just indescribable and I wouldn’t want to trade it for anything else out there,” she said.

“I was a youth officer at a local school, but I realise I wasn’t quite myself and I knew I needed to do something different. I was fortunate enough to be offered a job at the park and since joining, I have never looked back because it’s one of the greatest jobs ever.

“I get to meet new people every day and hear stories from around the world and the visitors learn from me and the other staff too. I love the fact that the different people I’ve met have different perspectives on life.

“A bonus for me would be working closely with the animals at the park and taking care of them daily, especially the native animals we have here.”

Monika said she found it easy to work with visitors, especially children who wanted to learn more about the wildlife at the park.

“I brought my communication skills and knowledge from being a youth officer and applied it to communicating with young visitors so they can better understand the wildlife programs we have here,” she said.

Monika said for her, just walking through the front door every day and seeing the animals being cared for, always gave her a feeling of accomplishment.

“They wellness is important to us and taking care of them with my colleagues is such a wonderful op­p­ortunity. Knowing we are contributing to their wellness means a lot to us here and so we look forward to coming into work every day.

“We encourage tourists and locals to take care of animals and wildlife because they contribute tremendously to the world we live in.”

Her advice to people is to contribute to saving the environment and for people to appreciate everything that surrounds them.