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July 29, 2019

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) - 40th Year
The volunteer who decided to stay on -Development to JOCV Solomon Islands (the 40th Anniversary of JOCV in SI)

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) celebrates this year the 40th anniversary of the dispatching of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) to the Solomon Islands.

As part of the celebration, some stories of past JOCVs will be shared in this paper. Mr. Naoyuki Fujiyama is the sixth JOCV interviewed.


"The volunteer who decided to stay on"

Author Profile No.6
Naoyuki Fujiyama

Fujiyama has worked at Avu Avu Provincial Secondary School and Ruavatu Provincial Secondary School teaching Physical Education from 1990 to 1994 as a JOCV. He has lived in the Solomon Islands for 29 years. He continues voluntary work to teach sports to children and youth while working as a coordinator and consultant of various programs.

Introduction: It has been 29 years since I arrived in Honiara for the first time. I remember that I was so surprised. "Is it really an International Airport (which is a current domestic terminal)?" However, I immediately realized that the Solomon Islands was a calm and peaceful country filled with smiling people walking on the streets.

Life at boarding schools with students: For a few months, I had been struggling to get used to different languages and the different culture. However, it was fortunate that many students came to me to teach me local languages and also assisted me in cooking and washing. Since we all lived at the boarding school, it was like living as one big family. Through the life at boarding school with students, I encountered various and memorable situations every single day. One day, I found a student smoking and I punished him. On another day we spent almost the whole night talking stories of "black magic". I also experienced at midnight travelled a 60km drive on a school 3ton truck from Ruavatu taking my colleague's wife to a hospital to deliver her baby. They named their baby after me. I have so many numerous memories, too many to mention and all of those experiences are still my treasures.

As a Physical Education teacher, I have been trying to teach students how wonderful it is when we are making every effort to win a game and what teamwork is through playing sports and joining sports games. Softball was one of the most favorite sports for students and they were looking forward to softball games every weekend. Moreover, organizing an Inter-Secondary School Sports carnival was also a particularly impressive experience. I clearly remember that I kept working with colleagues on planning and making every effort to secure funds for the smooth running of the carnival. I was so grateful to work with active and dedicated staff from the Curriculum Development Center and the sports masters from each school. It still feels like it was yesterday.

After working as JOCV: I did not expect to live in the Solomon Islands for 29 years when I first arrived here. However, bright smiles of children and youth playing sports with determination encourage me to continue to be with them using my skills and professions. I would like to contribute to youth development in this country under the cooperation with other stakeholders, not only in the area of sports, but also in various areas.

Conclusion: I have spent half of my life in the Solomon Islands. I have met many people here and have learnt a lot from them. I sincerely appreciate all the people who have assisted me and who have taught me in various aspects of living life in the Solomon Islands. Thank you so much for all your contributions to me in my personal developments. I am looking forward to meeting more new people in this country and also reuniting with former students.






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