Floating Foundation 2017 expedition
Ricoh staffer Craig Pollok was one of the volunteers who went to Tonga with Floating Foundation to school the inhabitants of some of the outer islands in basic first aid. This is his story.
What an epic experience. Landing on the 120-foot vessel with 13 other unknown people to learn and deliver medical training to the villagers was the experience of a lifetime.
We arrived on day one and got thrown head first into induction training, which included learning how to tie a rope, the safest position on a dinghy and got shown around the vessel.
The first few days were spent transitioning from life on land to living on the boat and getting used to the constant rocking to and fro. During this time we got given chores to do around the boat and we went diving and exploring the islands.
By day four, we started preparing to deliver the medical training, which turned out to be an intense experience due to our particular village finding it hard to understand English. Due to the language barrier, we had to get creative, using acting and stories, as well as a few key Tongan words, to portray the medical lesson we wanted to get across.
By the last day of training, we had developed a relationship with particular villagers which made it difficult saying goodbye. On our last night, the village held a feast for us and we presented the medics with their certificates for completing the training. It was at that moment that I realised just how much of an impact we had had upon the village, with the medics beaming proudly at the certificates they had earned.
I definitely recommend the Floating Foundation experience for anyone who is considering it for 2018.