Fiji, our home away from home.
Q: Hello, thank you for accepting to answer our questions. To begin, could you please tell us briefly about your background?
A: I have worked some 20 years in the Poverty Alleviation sector, particularly in response to humanitarian emergencies such as the war in the DR Congo or the tsunami in the Solomon Islands. . The countries that have touched me the most are Rwanda, Congo, Madagascar, PNG…and of course Fiji!
Q: Where were you born? Tell us a bit about where you’re from; it’s cultural, social and geographic characteristics?
A: I was born in Bretagne (Brittany) a region in the West of France. Bretagne is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and fishing is therefore very prominent: we eat a lot of delicious seafood there. The people of Bretagne are very proud of their roots particularly their language and music (similar to Irish music). We are also known for our stubbornness.
Q: Please tell us about the company you work for?
A: I work for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in its Geoscience & Applied Technology Division. SPC is an international organisation that provides technical expertise to help Pacific countries achieve sustainable development; we work in the area of fisheries, public health, agriculture, energy, water resources, disaster risk management (among others). SPC has over 250 employees in Suva.
- Frédérique Lehoux looks on during the signing of the French Polynesia-SPC-France agreements in March 2011 in Papeete,Tahiti.
- (Photo : Supplied)
Q: What is your role in the company?
A: I am Team Leader for a Disaster Risk Reduction Program with a focus on the French territories of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis & Futuna. The Pacific region is severely affected by natural hazards (floods, cyclones, tsunami etc…); these events carry enormous costs, in terms of human life, infrastructure damage and economic costs. My job is to assist countries in reducing their exposure to risk and in managing crises. I am part of large team here working on these issues throughout the Pacific region.
Q: When did you arrive in Fiji and how long will you stay?
A: We arrived on the 20th May 2010 and we will leave Fiji, with a heavy heart, this December.
Q: What motivated you to come to Fiji?
A: My work of course but also the desire to discover a new country and to show my children another way of life.
Q: Do you like living in Fiji?
A: It has been an incredible opportunity to live in Fiji. We particularly love the big smiles and friendliness of Fijian people, the beautiful landscapes, the incredible marine life, the meke and kokoda…we feel so at home here, we will miss this country immensely.
Q: What do you hope to achieve by the end of your stay here in Fiji?
A: Make the most of our time in Fiji…and of course, give the best of myself at work.
Q: What shocked you the most, culturally, when you first arrived in Fiji?
A: The rain!!
Q: Would you come back to Fiji?
A: Of course! My little boys have mainly grown up in Fiji, we feel like home here, we will be back.
Short Answer Questions
Q: Your favourite place in Fiji?
A: The island of Kadavu for its wilderness and the Great Astrolabe Reef.
Q: Favourite restaurant?
A: Restaurant 88 and their dim sum.
Q: Favourite bar?
A: Hmmm…I have not been out to a bar in a very long time.
Q: Favourite beach?
A: Natadola for its wild waves.
Q: Worst memory?
A: Cyclone Evan.
Q: Best memory?
A: A swim in the warm sea as the sun was setting (Rakiraki)
Q: One word to describe the Fijians?
A: Warm, endearing.
Q: A last word in Fijian?
A: Ni sa moce !