North Coast Tri Club Member Debra Kirkham dares to make a difference for the Fiji Triathlon Community! Please read what Debra is up to with her coming trip back to the island nation, and any support would be much appreciated.
Some of you may recall that I posted on the NCTC fb page a while ago about an event I witnessed when officiated at the ITU World Championships in Auckland this time last year – for the people that haven’t heard about it, I will re-cap briefly here.
All the juniors were lining up to have their bikes weighed pre-race – they had to be 6.8 or 7kgs I think. There were some pretty speccy carbon whizz-bang top of the range bikes there – some of the kids even had to attach coins to their posts to meet the minimum weight requirement. This young boy from Fiji came up and had his bike weighed.
It was an old steely, and weighed 14kgs.
I know it’s not about the bike – but it kinda is if you know what I mean….
I was raised in Fiji – had the best childhood, as we lived on the airport compound and were relatively well cared for by the NZ Government. But poverty was all around us. Fijians still lived in bures (huts) in villages, with a communal water supply and no toilets facilities. Cooking was done in the open air on gas primus stoves. Everyone was happy – that’s just the way they lived.
Don’t get me wrong – this kid would’ve been stoked just to be at the Champs but I can only imagine what sacrifices were made to get the team over to NZ, and it absolutely broke my heart that he couldn’t compete on a level playing field. If I had the funds, I would’ve taken him by the hand and bought him a new bike then and there.
And it got me thinking. Thinking about all the bits and pieces I buy – half of which I never wear or use – because they’re too big, or too small (okay, mostly too small!!!!), or I don’t like them any more…or see something I like better. As a result I have a heap of new and/or near new clothes and equipment that just sit in a drawer. I’m off to Fiji for Christmas this year with my whole family, and I’m taking this gear with me. I have made contact with the President of the Triathlon Association in Fiji and he has indicated they would be happy to receive donations. So if you, like me, have gear that you won’t use, that could do with a new and very appreciative home, please consider donating. I will be at every aquathlon between now and Christmas, so you can give it to me there, or contact me on 0416 110 930 and I will collect. HUGE shout out to the MacNeils who have already given me a ton of stuff.
Oh, and one more thing. Just for interests sake, I googled the minimum wage in Fiji. Good news is they are proposing an increase. Bad news is it is recommended to be set at FJ$2.32 an hour.
That’s around AU$1.35 an hour, and $a weekly wage of just $50 – which is about my weekly coffee bill.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?