Joanne Rymell – Country Manager Fiji
What’s your background, and how did you end up at Lattitude?
I’m originally from the North East of England, where I grew up and went to school. Born in 1971, I have a business studies degree specialising in Production Management. Most of my working career in England was spent in Food & Beverage Production Management.
However, I left this in 1997 to go on a working holiday to Australia. I travelled throughout South East Asia taking in countries such as Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Hong Kong and China, before arriving into Australia. I stayed in Australia for one year, mainly in Melbourne, but I did manage to travel around the whole country.
Returning to England in mid 1999, I promptly packed my bags to emigrate to New Zealand. On my way out to NZ I stopped off in a number of countries in the South Pacific, before meeting my now husband in Fiji.
I continued on to NZ and then finally moved to Fiji in 2002, marrying and starting a family. Before becoming Country Manager my family acted as a host family for Lattitude volunteers in Lovoni, Ovalau.
What is your role at Lattitude?
I am currently Country Manager for the Lattitude Fiji program. Along with our very capable team of Local Representatives we look after volunteers on the main island of Viti Levu and the smaller islands of Ovalau and Motoriki, with approximately 95 volunteers annually.
What are your top tips for Fiji?
Don’t over pack. Even though Fiji is a developing country, most things can still be bought here.
Enjoy the hospitality of the friendliest people in the world!
What do you love about your job?
I love meeting young volunteers upon arrival into Fiji and seeing them leave as independent adults. It’s also great to witness the difference that Lattitude volunteers are making to the next generation of Fijians.