As my placement in Kiribati will come to a close, I would like to reflect on my time as a volunteer. I-Kiribati people are warm, welcoming and friendly. I have been touched by their simple lifestyle and their generosity. I have enjoyed my time and I shall carry many vivid memories in my heart forever.
I had to work hard, as the Diocesan Office was in a real muddle. I worked as the bursar for the first 18 months, balancing tax, wages, petty cash, provident fund (super), reconciling bank statements, etc. The office staff have been supportive and caring and keen to adopt processes to maintain efficient and effective systems.
I set myself the task of writing projects to improve the bank balance and ultimately the capacity of the diocese to undertake more ambitious development projects. This proved very successful; hence, the Diocese Office will be healthier when I leave in May 2012 and with the training provided there is every hope that this health will be sustained into the future. Thanks must be extended to the many countries of the world who offer such assistance.
My heart yearned for many years to be a volunteer, and I was not disappointed. As Kiribati is a Christian country, I loved the religious and prayer-life here. I also have been touched by many young professional volunteers who have worked hard for Kiribati.
I have been rewarded with many social engagements with the church, government, private people and at the Australian, New Zealand and Taiwan High Commissioners’ residences. I have also cherished the opportunity to visit some of the outer islands. Thank God I have had good health and it will be a very sad day when I leave Kiribati in May 2012.
We would like to extend our congratulations to Sisters Margaret Sullivan, Eileen Kennedy and Aileen Crowe on their Order of Australia Medals for services to the people of Kiribati. Many Palms volunteers and returnees have benefitted from their generosity and wisdom over the years.
We would also like to express our sadness the recent passing of Sr Tiura Kaiuea. As previous director of the Catholic Education Office, Sr Tiura was a close friend and colleague of Palms Australia and our many Kiribati volunteers.