Geoff and his family (Kim, Dillon, and Jackson) arrived back in Fiji on 16th July, 2020. This was following a tumultuous few months hiding out in New Zealand from this worldwide pandemic.
While in NZ, Kim continued working for Community Waikato who delivered an essential service as part of a Waikato food hub, ensuring food got to people who needed it. During the height of Level 4 lock-down, they were responsible for producing and delivering up to 9000 meals a week to people throughout the Waikato who were in need. Geoff continued to work from home (working out of a caravan) on SARUP2.
Geoff and the family stayed with Kims sister in a small two bedroom house. It was a bit of a squeeze including Rascal the Fiji puppy who managed to fly back with us. Rascal had stayed in NZ with Kims parents, and is currently loving being a New Zealand farm dog, chasing rabbits each day, and now supports the All Blacks!
Travelling internationally is of course much more difficult now. Fiji opened its borders to work permit holders at the end of June, 2020 and we began preparing to return. We had to pass a COVID test before we travelled, we also needed to get Ministry of Health (MoH) and Immigration Fiji permission to enter the country. We also had to commit to a 14 day quarantine on arrival, and another COVID test on day 12 of quarantine. Being non-Fijian citizens, the cost of quarantine in Fiji falls on us (which we expected and agree is fair).
The welcoming committee in Fiji was fantastic. As soon as we got off the plane we were met by the Military who held our names up on a piece of paper. They smiled when they saw us, and welcomed us back home! It felt so good to be greeted so warmly. Jackson said he felt very safe with all the Military and Police there.
We were the very first people in Fiji to be approved for home quarantine, and so the Military escorted us all the way from the airport, 2 and half hours to Pacific Harbour. The Military set up a tent outside our home, and stayed there for the whole 14 days to ensure we stick to the quarantine rules. We are also met daily by a Ministry of Health team who checked our health. We were model quarantinees!
Both the Military and the Health team were amazing. They took their jobs seriously, and were very careful, but at the same time have been friendly and welcoming. Their processes have assured us that Fiji is in very good hands, and have handled this pandemic as well as any country in the World can – and better than most. The Health team had to go from handling a measles outbreak, straight into managing a corona virus pandemic, and they are front-line heroes. We are very, very thankful and proud of the effort Fiji has made.
Author: Geoff Cable