This cultural exchange wasn’t a one way streak. Duncan stressed the importance of spreading his culture to the Fijian youth: “The kids there would never be able to see someone from the United States in their everyday lives… and it's really valuable to the kids because they get to learn about American culture.” In a forever increasingly global world, the importance of spreading cultures becomes all the more important. As more cultural exchanges occur, it helps humanity understand each other's differences, which promotes a more unified world.
Duncan’s first-hand encounter with a country that many Americans think nothing more of than the producers of overpriced bottled water is a small step in the direction of global awareness and cultural understanding.
Going into the trip, Duncan worried about the difficulties of connecting with the local Fijian children. However, he was pleasantly surprised saying, “I found myself being able to relate to these kids more than I could possibly relate to some teenager in America… Their sense of humor was really relatable and they weren't stuck up or anything like that they, also they were really welcoming.”
Duncan was shocked to find that aspects of American culture had already reached the corners of the modern world. He learned that “even in the most remote parts, they know how to whip.” Another cultural similarity Duncan found was that many Fijians used Facebook, which made it really easy for the group to connect with them and keep up after the trip.
“Fijian and Americans, although they live halfway across the world, aren't that different.”
Even though the cultural exchange had the largest impact on Duncan, the service aspect was also very rewarding. The group built water tanks in Momi, worked in a school cafeteria, built toilets, and constructed stone paths. When they weren’t doing manual labor, they taught children in their village, primarily doing arts and crafts. Duncan described the trip as both a service and cultural success, and he felt fulfilled “going back knowing that I made a difference in their lives and that they wouldn't forget us coming,” while also being satisfied to know that they improved their daily quality of life by bettering their facilities.