Henry (age 14) and Anna (age 12) Myers have been running a Sailing Outreach programme at Vuda Marina, Fiji. This occurs along side the familys Orthopaedic Outreach volunteer Hand Surgery trips. Stuart (hand surgeon) and Emilie (physiotherapist) started volunteer work with Orthopaedic Outreach at Lautoka Hospital in 2005.To date, they have done 23 visits to support Hand surgery, Physiotherapy, nursing, anaesthetics, and ultrasonography teaching, training, and local treatment. Henry and Anna have joined our 16+ strong volunteer teams from birth.
As soon as they both children starting sailing in Sydney, I contacted Fiji Sailing to see how they could volunteer to help get Fijian children sailing.
I was put in touch with Lisa Philp, who with her husband Adam Wade, own and run Vuda Marina. They also provide free sailing lessons in Optimists for local Fijian children from Viseisei village. We immediately connected, and Henry and Anna have been keen sailing and art coaches ever since.
Over the years we have had generous Australian patients assist us with getting donations to Fiji. In 2018, Woollahra sailing Club donated 4 Pacers, 1 radial Laser, 2 Optis which were shipped to Vuda Marina.
Lisa had organised for Uto ni Yalo to also be a part of the Opti learn to sail, Race, Art & Ocean awareness programme.
. As children in Fiji learn to sail, their current pathway onwards is via Lasers. These are the only craft they have to sail. Windsurfing may have a resurgence over the next year as Fiji Sailing plans to purchase several One Design (OD) for the local clubs.
. Fijian people once had a strong sailing culture with the Drua being their primary mode of transport or thousands of years. We hope the Uto ni Yalo project can continue to teach the local history of sailing, it was a highlight this trip to be able to take a sunset sail on it. The elders in the sea villages recall their childhoods when Drua filled the horizon. Currently there are only motor boats, and with the increased cost of living, especially fuel sea faring is becoming very expensive.
Donations needed include: Opti sails & rigs, Laser sails, Opti parts & hulls & Pacer parts.
We feel very privileged to have been welcome by the Fijian sailing community and we look forward to decades supporting them in the future. The project would not happen without the organisation and generosity of Lisa Philp, who is also on the board of Fiji Sailing, and Adam Wade.