Staying safe is paramount to all expats and travellers alike. Luckily for us Fiji is one of the safest countries to live in as an expat. Having said that, there are some simple precautions we would recommend. Find Your Feet can help you feel safe and secure in your new home country.
Is Fiji safe?
Health in Fiji
Living in a tropical environment like Fiji means that everything grows easily. Unfortunately that also goes for fungi and bacteria. Currently there is a meningococcal outbreak. You can read the latest update here: April 19 2018 update.
In a nutshell (and I am not a doctor) you can catch Meningococcal through respiratory and throat secretions, think coughing and kissing. Here is a fact sheet from Meningococcal Australia. To translate it into a Fiji environment, the common practice of “taki” means that there is a single glass/coconut-shell being refilled from a common source from which everyone drinks. It happens in nightclubs and at home around the kava bowl. I would recommend having your own glass and not sharing while this outbreak is happening.
Skin infections are common and often occur after a scratched mosquito bite becomes infected. The best way is to avoid being bitten (also for Dengue & Zika avoidance). I find tea tree oil very effective as a repellent and for after a scratch or bite to keep it clean. There are also other natural products that are deet-free for little ones.
Personal Safety in Fiji
Normal precautions when walking around town are recommended. Petty crime like pickpockets and bag snatchers are not unheard of. I have advised recent clients to lock your car doors when driving down-town. I know that is “normal” in many countries, but it is fairly new to Fiji. After dark catch a taxi to or from your engagements and walking alone is not recommended in unlit or uncrowded places. Taxi are really cheap so there is no reason not to err on the side of caution.
Accommodation: House break-ins do occur. Ensure any housing you are considering has good security bars and locks on the doors. Many expats (and locals) have a dog for security purposes. Outsides of houses should be well-lit. Compounds usually are fenced and most expat housing has an alarm with a monitored patrol vehicle.
On a lighter note – enjoy Fiji
This post has been much more depressing than I started out to write, but part of Finding Your Feet is knowing what to expect and how to handle it.
To finish I’d like you to enjoy one of the best aspects of Fiji – it’s marching bands! Often seen when just casually strolling around town, they pop up when you might not expect it – last time for me was when I was posting a letter downtown. Every year we are woken up by the band marching past our house on the way to the Prime Minister’s house before dawn to wish him a happy birthday!