A new chapter in my life is about to begin. I am off to the Kiribati Islands to Volunteer as an Urban Planning Advisor for a year. I thought I would write about my journey when I am there but then realised that my journey has already begun. This anticipation, preparation, anxiety, emotional changes, thoughts, feelings and the generosity of  people is all a part of my journey.

I have less than 8 weeks left before I will be on that little plane on my way to a place known as South Tarawa.

A dear friend of mine tells me that my hair is going to get infested with lice and that I’ll have to shave my beautiful hair!! comforting thoughts. ha ha

I’ve got a running list of things I might need to take with me and it seems to be getting longer by the day…ebooks, movies, research papers, wet wipes, water purification tablet…insect repellent. This process has definitely mademe realise how much we just take for granted.

On a very positive note, I managed to raise  1,475 dollar and my efforts have only just started.

At work, things are interesting. I got to work last week to find this email from my manager which was sent to the entire office:


As you probably know, Shifani will be leaving us at the end of August.  She has been with the NZTA for just over a year and has been invaluable asset in introducing the Planning Team with a non-stressful way of working and organising many culinary cultural experiences.

Shifani will be leaving us to begin volunteering Abroad (VSA) in Kiribati.  For those who are geographically challenged, Kiribati comprises of a group of small atolls in the middle of the pacific ocean about as far away from civilisation as possible.  She will be based on an atoll that is about 1km wide, 28km long and 3m high (at its highest).  The closest place is Fiji – a 4 hour flight.


Clearly Shifani has felt compelled to go to extreme lengths to get away.  However she assures me it’s because of the love of adventure and the next planning challenge.  I even offered to match the salary (a year’s supply of free coconuts and fish) to stay, but was turned down.  I can only think it’s because of my baking!

I wish Shifani the best for the future and good luck – particularly with the accommodation.





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