RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — For the last three weeks, Dr Campbell has been living on a remote island called Batiki—off the coast of Fiji—providing medical care to the people who live there.
1. Tell us about your time on Batiki—what was the island and is people like?
The people of Batiki are some of the most kind and loving people that I have met anywhere in the world—we can learn a lot from them. They focus on family and community and support one another. They have very limited resources—no electricity other than solar, no indoor plumbing and very modest living quarters—but they make the most out of everything they have.
They are resourceful and live off the land and the sea. The island itself is absolutely gorgeous. It has unending beaches, friendly ocean breezes and amazing sunsets. The beauty of Batiki is unparalleled.
RELATED: Dr. Campbell’s Batiki Blog
2. What types of medical problems did you see there?
The most common things that I saw were diabetes and high blood pressure.
The people are very active—they play rugby and volleyball and farm and fish—but their diets are heavy in carbohydrates and sugars (lots of rice and cassava), which leads to obesity.
I did see a few more rare diseases and I also helped treat a dangerous coral infection in a volunteer’s foot. My team and I worked in a modest clinic with the island nurse (who was absolutely amazing) and we worked to educate the villagers about improving their diet—including more proteins and veggies in each meal.
3. What did you learn from your time living in a Fijian village? What do they need most?
More than anything, my time has taught me to appreciate the little things in life—and to live in the moment.
The people there place value on community, friendship and family rather than on possessions. They have no real source of income and they are now working on producing coconut oil (each made by a single family).
A philanthropist from the United Kingdom—Callum Drummond—has created Bula Batiki—a nonprofit organization to help them sell their coconut oil in order to improve the conditions on the island for each villager.
I will be returning next year to lead another medical team back to the village to see my new friends and family again.