A team of six Rotary Rotorua Sunrise members had an amazing time last month as they helped with projects on a little island in Fiji which is still rebuilding after a cyclone.
The group spent 18 days working in Fiji and returned on June 18. Taveuni is a little island, about a one and a half hour flight from Nadi.
Prior to departure, the plan was for them to paint two new teacher's houses at Niusawa School.
However, due to building delays, they were diverted to cleaning, sanding and painting the inside and outside of a large three bedroom house attached to the Taveuni Hospital.
This house will be used to accommodate visiting doctors.
Once this was completed, they were able to move onto one of the teacher's houses that had its building completed.
Taveuni is one of the international projects Rotary Rotorua Sunrise supports.
Member Michele Weston says for her it was certainly a tropical holiday with a difference.
"It was amazing to be part of something that is bigger than you."
She says the Rotary Rotorua Sunrise members worked alongside the Taveuni Rotary Club for the projects - "We just became part of the bigger team".
Michele says another highlight of the trip was that they not only saw changes in regards to the buildings, but also in the community.
She says they went to see one of the local schools and the preschools, and they were able to deliver bags, books, pencils and crayons to the students at Niusawa School.
They got a day and a half off to drive around the island and saw other schools too, which have not been rebuilt since a cyclone hit 18 months ago, she says.
There are still some Unicef tents up as temporary classrooms.
Michele says a challenge for her personally was the fact she has never done that kind of work before, and she came away from the trip with new skills.
A challenge for the group was that the house connected to Taveuni Hospital had a rodent infestation, so they had to set up traps and bait each night, and spray and clean everything before sanding and painting.
She says she would absolutely do a trip like this again - "no doubt about it".