Peace Corps gave me the opportunity to act on ideas outside
of my initial assignment and develop them. Some projects were successful and I had a
good time trying all of them!
I quickly learned that convincing people to try new ideas
can be very difficult, and that doing something myself was often the best way to get
mortality was very high among young chicks due to hawks and mongoose predation. I
built a chicken house to provide protection to the chicks until they were old enough to
sleep in the trees.
The village chickens were scrawny but well-adapted to
free-ranging. I introduced some fast-growing Cornish-Rock meat birds to the village,
but found the hens to be poor mothers. The good news was that crosses between a
Cornish-Rock rooster and village hen produced chicks that were faster growing than the
village birds. It also had more meat and were still good setters and mothers.
Following the success of my chicken house, the local youth
group followed with their own chicken coop.
Growing watermelons in a sugar cane field seemed similar to
growing pumpkins in a corn field, so I tried it. It worked, but I learned that the
young sprouts needed protection from rodents! Unfortunately, watermelons are heavy
and hard to bring to market.
Gravity-fed Water Supply
A reliable clean water supply is not taken for granted in
rural Fiji. Pierre (the light-skinned guy below) lived a few hours away in Rakiraki
and was one of the nearest volunteers to me for most of my service. He and I worked
together on a gravity-fed water supply project for the nearby village of Nabalabala, Ra.
We built this tank to store spring water for the village in
This water tank and delivery project was made possible by a
generous donation from Beattie Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colorado, through the
Peace Corps Partnership Program. I enjoyed corresponding with them during the
project. Thank you, Fort Collins, Colorado!!
The Fiji Health Department encouraged changing the usual "hole in the
ground" out-houses to ones with toilets that had a water seal. The water seal
prevented critters from entering and leaving the pit and protected one's butt!
The toilets were flushed with a can of water from the tap or
For a nominal cost, we bought plastic toilet traps, and
borrowed molds to build the concrete toilets and base. A few volunteers from my
village built about twenty toilets. At left, my Turaga ni Koro (mayor) takes pride
in our concrete handicrafts.
Back to beekeeping ....
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