Student Travel Programs in Fiji
Our community partnerships in Fiji date to 1993. These deep roots mean that we have friends in every village we visit and our expert local staff members make students immediately feel at home. Arriving students are welcomed to their programs with a traditional sevu sevu ceremony and invited to share a taste of kava. Our Fiji programs visit villages on remote islands and in the mountainous highlands, locations not available to the average tourist.
Meet the Rest of Team Fiji
Bethany has been part of our Fiji team since 2011 and loves sharing her passion for the island culture with our students. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she took a gap year and spent time living in Tokyo and London before attending The George Washington University. An avid soccer player, Bethany has extensive experience both playing and coaching, and she can frequently be spotted challenging the locals to a pickup game on the Eco-Lodge field.
Aimee’s appreciation of nature and passion for the outdoors led her to the University of Florida where she studied natural resource conservation. Before joining the Fiji team in 2012, Aimee gained extensive experience working with young adults in a variety of different environments in the USA, Canada and Central America. After growing up in southern Florida, her love of the ocean and beach culture has been a valuable asset to help manage Fiji programs and contribute to trips in New Zealand and Australia.
Born in the Momi Bay area, Raju oversees trans- portation logistics and manages our Eco-Lodge farm. He plays a key role in many of our service initiatives and was elected by the community to serve as Provincial Councilor. Raju plays in nightly soccer matches at the base and enjoys teaching our students about the Indian elements of Fijian culture. He loves to spend time with his wife and daughters on their farm.
Jowave has worked with Rustic Pathways for many years and brings great care and humor to our programs. Born and raised in Momi, one of our neighboring villages, his community input and respect opens wonderful doors for our students. Jowave has led our Momi programs, as well as adventure and Gap Year programs. When not overseeing our Eco-Lodge programs, Jowave will be found spending time with his children.
Oro has brought laughter to the Rustic Pathways team since the day he joined us. From the rural village of Wauosi in the interior of Fiji, not far from our Highlands Base, he studied at Nadi College. Oro’s great sense of adventure, natural athletic ability, and extensive knowledge of the cultures and geography of Fiji make him a strong leader. When asked how he is doing, Oro always responds, “110 percent.” His energy and excitement are a great benefit to the programs in Fiji.
Known as ‘Whise’ in Somosomo, this Rustic Pathways leader is a vital personality that keeps the day positive and programs running smoothly at the Islands Base. He has a little boy and girl that always bring a smile to Rustic Pathways students. This jack-of-all-trades, who is affectionately considered “the manta ray whisperer,” is known for being able to pull in a big fish on command and throw down a spike for the final point in an afternoon volleyball game.
Cassie came to us in 2014 from outside Melbourne, Australia and has extensive experience managing community service programs in Fiji. After working for some of Melbourne’s biggest sporting and music events and finishing bachelor and postgraduate degrees in Sports Management, Exercise Science and Community Development, Cassie made her way across the South Pacific and is currently a fulltime resident of Fiji. Cassie uses her love of the islands to ensure that our year-round operations run smoothly.
Yoshneel hails from the Sigatoka area of the main island and brings a youthful energy to the busy accounting department in Fiji. A graduate of University of Fiji with a degree in Business, Yoshneel left the traditional accounting world behind for the adventurous Rustic Pathways lifestyle. When not looking after the books, you can often spot Yoshneel and his signature Aviator sunglasses at the Eco-Lodge where he is an active member of our Momi community!
Ritesh is responsible for looking after all of our service projects that operate around Momi Bay. Born and raised just a stone’s throw away from our Eco-Lodge Base, his sense of humour and construction skills are always in demand. Ritesh learned his skills from his father, who also played an integral role in the development of Rustic Pathways bases in Fiji.
Sandy is one of the esteemed chefs at our Momi Base. Over the years Sandy has become not only a talented member of our kitchen team, but a great personality and someone many of our students love to hang out with. Whether it is preparing traditional Indian dishes, catering to special dietary requests, or helping students understand how to prepare a traditional Fijian lovo, Sandy has become a fixture of our team.
Julie hails from Malolo Island off the coast of Nadi, and adds a bright, smiling presence to our Momi programs. She has experience in a variety of different fields, most notably music and performance, and can frequently be heard singing around the Eco-Lodge with our students. When she’s not working, Julie likes to spend time at home with her daughter.
Save came to Rustic Pathways from the capital city of Suva. His extensive background in tourism and adventure sports has been a great asset to our Big Fiji Explorer, Escape to Fiji, and Pacific Adrenaline Programs. Save is also an exceptional carpenter and jack-of-all-trades and can frequently be found building bicycles at our Eco-Lodge Base House.
Poonam’s bright smile and always positive attitude make her a great support to our students. She is directly responsible for taking care of our student accommodation at the Eco-Lodge Base House and always creates a wonderful home for those passing through. Living just down the road from the Eco-Lodge, Poonam can often be found spending free time with her husband and young daughter.
Originally from Fiji’s remote Lau group, Leba was raised in Suva and is a graduate of the University of the South Pacific with a degree in Marine Biology. Before joining the Rustic Pathways Fiji team, she served as a marine biologist for several of Fiji’s environmental NGOs and resorts. Her background in both the tourist and environmental service fields has made her a perfect fit for our Marine Programs. Leba is fearless in the water and has a great love for sharks!