Frequently asked questions...

Bridge the Gap

What is Bridge the Gap?


Bridge the Gap (BTG) is a small, U.S.-based company that works with the Mali tribe to identify sustainable ways to diversify their livelihood. We facilitate immersive and educational travel experiences for individuals, groups, and students on Vorovoro Island. Through this mutually beneficial partnership, the Mali tribe is supported in reaching their community development goals and Bridge the Gap is able to give travelers the once-in-a-lifetime experience of living with Fijians on their island home.




What makes Bridge the Gap special?


Bridge the Gap is special because it is based on a friendship. Our founder, Jenny Cahill, has formed a decade long friendship with the Chief of Mali and the Mali tribe. This relationship eventually led to discussions on how working together could be beneficial to both parties. It made sense for the Mali tribe because fishing, the main source of income, was becoming less fruitful, so they wanted a means to diversify their livelihood. It made sense for Jenny who wished to share her Fijian home with others so that they could live and laugh with the Fijians from whom she had learned so much. Eventually an official partnership was created in the form of Bridge the Gap. Bridge the Gap is only working on Vorovoro because the Mali tribe specifically invite partnership year after year. This emphasis on relationship separates Bridge The Gap from most other travel and development organizations.




Who is Bridge the Gap?


Bridge the Gap was founded in 2012 by Jenny Cahill to help the Mali Community reach their development goals for their community. She is assisted by an amazing team of people located all around the globe, all of whom have one important thing in common: their shared experience of Vorovoro and a passionate desire to help this community achieve their goals of diversifying their income, without having to compromise the integrity of their land or culture.




How can I help?


Bridge the Gap is a collaborative effort, and we welcome help from others who are also passionate about sustainable community development and using travel as a means to do good, meaningful work in the world. From behind the scenes work to helping to secure our next ethical partnerships, there are ways that you can get involved. Contact us for more information.




I'm with a school that would like to study on Vorovoro. How do we do this?


Great! We are currently ready to add our next study abroad partnership to our program and we would love to talk to you! Contact director Jenny Cahill to arrange a chat!




How long has Bridge the Gap been operating?


Bridge that Gap has been operating since 2012. Our founder and director, Jenny Cahill, has been working with the Vorovoro community on shared goals since 2009.




What qualifications do the Bridge the Gap staff have?


Every person on the Bridge the Gap team has been to the island before. Each of us came to the island to have an experience like the one you are interested in. After spending time on the island with the Fijians, we fell in love with Vorovoro and aim to continue to provide this opportunity to people while helping the Fijians sustain their livelihoods. BTG staff have been carefully chosen to help “bridge the gap” between you and the Fijian culture because they understand and respect the ethos of the relationship that BTG has with Vorovoro and Mali. Additionally, each BTG staff member is CPR certified.




How can I learn more information?


You can look at the rest of our website, look at our social media, sign up for our newsletter, or contact us if you have any questions! We are happy to chat with you by phone at 317-296-4883, email, Skype - whatever works for you!





Vorovoro Island

Where is Vorovoro?


Vorovoro is located off the northern coast of Vanua Levu, the second largest of the 333 islands that make up Fiji. Vorovoro sits on the Cakaulevu Reef, the third longest reef in the world. Vorovoro is one of two islands inhabited by the Mali people. The other island, Mali Island, is located less than 1,000 feet to the east of Vorovoro and is home to three of the four villages of the Mali Tribe. There is another village located on the mainland of Vanua Levu.




What is Vorovoro like?


Vorovoro is a small remote island (1 mile by around 600 feet) located off the northern coast of Vanua Levu in Fiji. Vorovoro is a 40 minute boat ride from the town of Labasa on the mainland. The island is covered in beautiful tropical flora and fauna and is located on the third largest reef in the world, the Cakaulevu Reef. It has to be seen to be believed - come and visit! Breathtakingly beautiful and located far off the beaten path, Vorovoro Island is home to Tui Mali, Chief of the Mali tribe, his brother Poasa, and their extended families. As the “chiefly island” of the Mali people, Vorovoro is often the gathering place for important tribal and governmental ceremonies and meetings. Culture, tradition and heritage are an important way of life on Vorovoro. Accomodation on Vorovoro is rustic by Western standards; there is no water source beyond rainwater and no electricity beyond small amounts of solar power. Vorovoro has also become the host site for visitors who desire a unique cultural immersion eco-tourism experience. Although this has recently been limited to group travel, the Chief of Mali has decided to open up his home to ALL interested visitors for the summer of 2018. Thus, YOU are invited to his island home as a guest during the summer of 2018. Interested?




Why should I go to Vorovoro?


You should go to Vorovoro because those that spend money on experiences are happier than those who spend money on things. You should go because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become immersed in an ancient culture that is just as vibrant today as it has ever been. You should go because you get to live on a tropical South Pacific Island, just yards from the sea. Not convinced? Contact us to chat with someone who was initially hesitant about their decision to go to Vorovoro, but now couldn’t dream of ever thinking about passing up on the opportunity.




I don't know much about Fiji. Help!


Fiji is a small island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It lies almost directly north of New Zealand and is not too far from the equator. Fiji is a volcanically formed archipelago of 333 island, of which only 110 are permanently inhabited. The biggest sources of income in Fiji are sugar cane exports and tourism. However, much of the money from tourism goes to foreign investors to spur international economies instead of the local Fijian economy. Less than one million people live in Fiji. Fiji is made up of about 57% indigenous Fijians and 38% Indo-Fijians (Fijian citizens of Indian descent). English is one the three official languages of Fiji and is the language used in government, city life, and schools. However, almost everybody in Fiji speaks their native language at home. For the indigenous population this is a dialect of “Fijian” and for the Indo-Fijians this is “Fiji Hindi”. Fiji has been inhabited since the second millennium BC. Fiji became a British colony from 1874 until 1970. During this time, indentured servants from India were brought over to work in the sugar industry and Christianity and English became widespread. Since 1970, a couple of government changes have led to Fiji today being a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic.




I have to get some work done while in Fiij. Is this possible?


Vorovoro is fairly remote tropical island and if possible we encourage you to unplug your devices to get the most out of your experience. However, it is not too far from the town of Labasa, so cell service CAN be found on Vorovoro and connection is getting better all the time. We recommend bringing with you an unlocked cell phone - then you can easily and inexpensively get a SIM card and pay as you go internet time. We have a simple jungle office space set up on the side of the island that has the best internet connection. The connection there is good for email, social media, and simple browsing. Uploading and downloading large files may require a trip to town. Town trips are planned twice a week for those who need to go to an internet café or otherwise go into town. Contact us to get more information.




How do we get clean water on a tropical island surrounded by saltwater?


On the island we have rainwater catchment systems. A portion of this water is filtered for drinking water. We use the rest for showering, washing dishes, and whatever else is needed.




Is there cell phone reception on the island?


Depending on your carrier and international plan (if you choose to get one before your stay), you may have service to send texts or make calls on the island. However, we encourage you to stay off your phone and spend your time experiencing the Fijian culture and life on the island.




What is expected of me on the island?


You are expected to respect the culture, the land, and the people around you. We encourage you to fully immerse yourself in the Fijian lifestyle. And of course, have a fantastic time - this is YOUR Vorovoro experience. You can gain as much as you put in on the island.




What work do I have to do on the island?


On the island, you can do as much or as little as you want to do. Each day, there are duties that we ask our volunteers to do- collecting firewood or coconuts, fetching seawater, etc. Additionally, there is usually a larger project going on (e.g. building a new structure) that you have the opportunity to work on. In Fiji, work is very social. While on the island, work serves as a fantastic opportunity to get to know the Fijians better through collaboration, teamwork, and laughter. Helping and asking for help is an important part of tribal life.




What amenities are on the island? Electricity? Running water?


We have a solar panel on the island for charging cameras, phones, laptops, etc. There are solar lights in the kitchen and around the dining areas as well as solar string lights in each of the accommodations. However you’ll find you need a flashlight (we recommend a headlamp) to move around in the dark, unless you are lucky enough to be on the island during a full moon. (The lack of light means you can see the most amazing stars - it’s truly indescribable!) The rainwater catchment system allows us to have filtered drinking water along with taps for getting water to shower and wash dishes. Of course we have an abundance of salt water too!




Where do I go to the bathroom?


There are composting toilets located on the island for using the restroom. After several months, the mixture of composted waste and wood shavings (added in between each use) is used as a fertilizer around the fruit trees on the island. The added wood shavings help to keep the smells to a minimum.




How do we wash our clothes?


If you are staying on the island for longer than a week, you are sure to need to do some laundry. Every Wednesday, we send our laundry to a village on the mainland where they have access to more water. The ladies there will wash our clothes for $5 USD per person. It will come back to you in a couple of days clean, fresh and folded.




What should I wear on the island?


The Fijians have a very modest dress code. To be respectful to their culture, we dress accordingly. Around the chief, men and ladies wear t-shirts that cover our shoulders and chests, as well as sulus (long wraps/sarongs) around our waist. When the chief isn’t around, you can wear long pants or knee length shorts or skirts. Many of us, however, just get used to wearing our sulus most of the time. T-shirts are always appropriate for ladies; skimpy shirts or tank tops are not. In front of the village and in communal areas, ladies swim in shorts and a rashguard or t-shirt. But if you want some time in your usual swimsuit, you can just take a short stroll down to “secret beach” and show some skin.




Do I get to shower?


Of course! We shower with clean and fresh rainwater collected from our rainwater catchment systems. Our showers are outdoors, private, and simple - a gravity fed design utilizing a bucket with a shower head attached. It is essential to use water sparingly on the island, as water conservation is of huge importance to the Mali tribe and Vorovoro. There is no ground water source on Vorovoro - all of our water comes from what we collect as it falls from the sky, so we each need to do our part to be smart about our water use. If it rains, the best shower of all is a small waterfall, located just a short walk down the beach.




Where do I sleep while on the island?


We have a variety of sleeping options on Vorovoro to accommodate single travelers, couples, families, or groups. Check them out here. Come with a camping mentality and you’ll love staying in our Fijian village.




What is the alcohol/drug policy on the island?


All alcohol and illicit drugs are strictly prohibited on the island. This is not so much a Bridge the Gap policy as it is a Vorovoro Mali Tribe policy. Breaking this rule would be an insult to the hospitality that the Chief of Mali has offered us. If you wish to drink while in Fiji, do it while off the island either before or after your stay on Vorovoro.




What is the tobacco policy on the island?


Tobacco is allowed on the island. The locals smoke "suki" which is locally grown dried tobacco leaves, crumbled and rolled in a specific dried leaf found on the island. Cigarettes can be found in town. However, we ask you to be respectful of others, especially children, and to only smoke in outdoor spaces and take care of your butts.




Can I contact people who have been to Vorovoro before to learn more about it?


Yes! All BTG staff have been to the island and would love to answer any questions you have. Additionally, our Facebook page has plenty of people who have been to the island before. You can also ask questions there.




How can I go to Vorovoro?


You can go to Vorovoro through the Open Island 2018. You can also contact BTG to arrange other ways to visit - we host study abroad groups, educational groups, corporate groups, private groups, development retreats, and more. Reach out to see how we can work together to get you to Vorovoro!





Plan Your Trip

Do I need a passport, a visa, or any other documentation to come to Fiji?


Yes. You will need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry into Fiji. Additionally, you will need to show proof that you have purchased a return/outbound plane ticket out of Fiji - a hard or digital copy of the ticket or booking confirmation will work. As for a visa, that depends on your passport, but by and large tourist visas are not required for stays of fewer than four months. More information on visas is here.




Do I need any vaccinations?


Although no vaccinations are usually required to travel to Fiji, some ARE recommended, so we recommend checking with your primary care provider to make sure they have no concerns. More information on Fiji and vaccines can be found here.




What will Bridge the Gap do to prepare me for my trip to Vorovoro?


Bridge the Gap wants to make sure the only surprise you have when you arrive on Vorovoro is how beautiful the island is and how hospitable our Fijian hosts are. Bridge the Gap will supply all information needed for your travels and will provide an overview on cultural traditions and practices that you will need to know. If you ever have any questions, just contact by email or call us at 317-296-4883.




Do I need travel insurance?


Travel insurance is not required but always a good idea when travelling! A simple Google search can turn up a variety of options that will surely suit your needs.




What should I pack for Vorovoro?


A full recommended packing list can be found here.




Should I bring technology? (cell phone, laptop etc.)


For most guests, Vorovoro is an escape from the business and complexity of our lives back home. We recommend that you disengage from technology (save a camera) as much as possible. However if you really need to keep in touch there is (limited) service on the island. We can show you where the best signal can be found on the island. Bring an unlocked phone if you want to get a local SIM and purchase inexpensive pay as you go internet, or check with your local carrier about their international plans. Guests have had good service on the island with both AT&T and Sprint.




What am I not allowed to bring?


There are just a few items that are not allowed on Vorovoro; alcohol, illicit drugs, and fireworks. All of these items are banned out of sensitivity to the local culture and out of respect for other guests. To reiterate, these are VERY strict bans. There are plenty of opportunties in Fiji for a cocktail, and we can show you where you can get a beer in Labasa town, but we don't allow them on Vorovoro. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.




How much extra spending money do I need?


We recommend guests have between $50-150 USD of extra spending money on hand. You might want to purchase:

  • Meals or treats while you are in town
  • Local handicrafts and/or coconut oil made on Vorovoro
  • Laundry
    • For $5 USD, you can send a bag (we provide the bag) of clothing into town to be washed.
  • Town trip
    • $10 USD. Twice a week we go to Labasa town for supplies or to pick up/drop off guests. Each time, we will have a few spaces in the boat for those who want to spend a day in Labasa town.
  • Optional activities
    • Once on Vorovoro, guests can pay for off-island activities (unless you pre-paid for them when you booked your stay). These weekly activities include:
      • a snorkeling reef trip for $15 USD
      • a primary school and village visit for $10 USD
      • a night fishing trip for $10 USD
      • a church visit for $15 USD (includes tithes)
      • an opportunity to weave mats with the local ladies for a price of $15 USD (for supplies)




How do I get Fijian money?


There are ATMs in Nadi airport and in the town of Labasa if you would like to withdraw money. Alternatively, you can exchange your home currency for Fijian dollars at any money exchange business in the Nadi airport or in Labasa. There will be time in Labasa before coming to Vorovoro to use an ATM or make an exchange. Make sure to call your banks to let them know of your international travel if you plan to use a debit/credit card or to withdraw money.




What flights do I need to purchase?


  • To get to Vorovoro you will first need to fly to Nadi International airport. We find that cheapoair.com usually has the best fares, but things are always changing so it's best if you shop around. As a rule, the earllier you book your ticket, the better the fare will be.
  • Once you arrive in Nadi, you will need to get to Labasa Airport. Most people opt to fly. It's a short 45 minute flight, so it's by far the quickest and easiest option.
    • Depending on the international airline you book with, you may have an option to book all the way to Labasa when you book your international ticket. This is usually the cheapest way, and it allows you more luggage allowance on the Nadi to Labasa flight. It's worth checking into.
    • Alternatively, book your domestic flight from Nadi to Labasa on www.fijiairways.com
  • If you are looking for a cheaper and more adventurous option, consider traveling like a local by taking a ferry. Please allow 24 hours for this option - you won't be traveling the whole time but the entire process is time consuming. You will need to purchase your ferry ticket once you arrive to Fiji, and ferry schedules are not posted online so you will need to figure it out once you get to Fiji. If you are interested, contact us and we will try to help you.




Do you have hotel or hostel recommendations?


Depending on the time of your flights, you may or may not be able to come straight to Vorovoro when you arrive in Fiji. If you decide to stay in Nadi, there are hundreds of places to stay. Here are some examples of the different types of accommodation: Airport Adjacent (these two hotels are literally across the road from the airport. You can walk there, or if the heat is a bit much, keep an eye out for their free shuttle)

Backpackers (if you want affordable options, where you can meet other travelers, you might like these places) Five Star Lodging (Denarau island, just 20 minutes from Nadi airport, is full of five star hotels and offers a sharp contrast to Vorovoro. Here are two of many possibilities)




Any tips to for traveling to Vorovoro with children?


Vorovoro is very child friendly - just bring with you anything you would normally bring for a holiday with your child. Bring plenty of clothes that dry easily and can get dirty - Vorovoro is full of adventures for children. If you are bringing young children to Vorovoro and want to hire any baby stuff while in Fiji, check out these guys: www.fijibabies.com





Health and Safety

What do we do in case of an emergency on the island?


There is cell phone reception on Vorovoro to make emergency calls. BTG staff are CPR certified. There is a stocked first aid kit in case of minor injuries. There is always a boat and a boat captain ready to take us off island at a moment's notice. For more serious medical or health issues, the town of Labasa has a hospital and private medical centres which guests can go to for very reasonable rates.




What if I get sick?


If you get seriously sick, there is a hospital and medical centres in the town of Labasa about 40 minutes away. Short of that, there is a stocked first aid kit. Please make sure to travel with a supply of any over the counter or prescription medications that you might require. Additionally, there are many traditional medicinal practices which visitors can try, if interested.




Is there 24/7 emergency contact?


Yes. There is always a Bridge the Gap emergency phone on the island. If you need to contact a loved one on Vorovoro who does not have their own means of communication, call 317-296-4883. This is our USA number. We will help you get in touch with Vorovoro ASAP.




How do I contact home in case of an emergency?


Bridge the Gap will always have at least one charged cell phone to be able to contact home or make an emergency call.




Is Fiji politically stable? Is Fiji safe for visitors?


Yes. One of Fiji’s main sources of income is tourism. Fiji is safe for locals and visitors alike. However, like with any foreign country, try to have a buddy and remain cautious and alert in public places, especially at night. Rural areas are safer than urban areas.




How do prescription medications work?


Bring with you any medications that you will need during your stay. If you have special conditions with your medication that might require our help, let us know when you arrive. If you require an epipen, please bring one with you and let us know where it is in the case of an emergency.




What if I have physical or medical conditions?


Contact us at 317-296-4883 or by email in order to discuss any specific issues and we’ll do our best to find a solution.




What dangers are there on the island?


Honestly, the largest danger on the island may be getting hit by a falling coconut. They are heavy and fall fast. Do not sit underneath heavily laden coconut trees! Besides that, Vorovoro, even as a rugged island, is pretty safe. While there are no animals on the island that bite or sting (beyond mosquitos and sand fleas), there are bugs and critters that you will come into contact with. You have to be okay with that. There are some beautiful white and black snakes on the island, but they are extremely docile; leave them in peace and they’ll leave you in peace. Be sensible in the ocean. Never swim alone and be aware of changing tides.





Island Life

Where do I sleep while on the island?


We have a variety of sleeping options on Vorovoro to accommodate single travelers, couples, families, or groups. Check them out here. Come with a camping mentality and you’ll love staying in our Fijian village.




How many people will be on the island with me?


Guest space is limited; the maximum number of guests on Vorovoro at any given time is 35. On average, the number of guests on island at any given time is around 15-20.




Do I get to spend time with Fijians?


Yes! Unfortunately, there is often a line splitting natives and tourists in many tourism experiences. However, Tui Mali, the chief of the Mali tribe, has a vision to erase this line. In his own words, he wantsto have “1+1=1”. We find that this is easy to do on Vorovoro. The local Fijians will be with us every day on the island. We encourage you to get to know them all!




Do I get to meet the Chief?


Yes, you do! Just about every night on the island, we gather together and drink kava (a traditional root) with the chief and other Fijians. During your first night on the island, you will present kava to chief Tui Mali through a Sevusevu ceremony to thank him for welcoming you to the island. During this ceremony, you will introduce yourself to him. Tui Mali enjoys getting to know the people who come to experience Vorovoro, so don’t be shy. There are some cultural protocols to abide by, but we will help you with that once you are on the island.




What local traditions do I get to engage in?


You’ll get to experience plenty of local traditions during your stay. There will be a Sevusevu ceremony on your first night on the island. During this ceremony, you will present kava to the chief, thanking him for welcoming you to the island. On your last night on the island, there will be a Tatau. For this, you will present kava to the chief again to thank him for the experience you had on the island. Most nights on the island we will drink kava with the chief and/or other Fijians in the Mali tribe. This is a time to get to know the Fijians, share stories, and sing songs. You will also have the opportunity to learn the meke on the island. The meke is a traditional dance that tells the story of the Mali tribe. And of course, there are countless smaller traditions that are scattered throughout whilst living in Fiji; we will help you navigate it and you will feel at home in no time.




Will I get any instructions on the local culture and how to navigate it once I arrive?


Yes of course! We will brief you about the culture once you arrive. We will go over traditional dress, Fijian terms, how to be respectful in a new culture and anything else that comes up. We will also have workshops about different aspects of the culture throughout your stay. There is so much to learn and really getting to grips with local culture is one of the things that makes staying on Vorovoro such a unique experience.




Who will be on the island with us besides the locals?


Aside from yourself and the Fijians, there will be other visitors and the Bridge the Gap team. The Bridge the Gap team is there to help bridge the gap between the visitors and the Fijians. If you have any questions or would like to talk about your experience, we are here to help!




What is there to do on a remote Fijian island?


  • Adventure Activities
    • There are plenty of adventure activities to do on the island! You can go scuba diving (or get scuba certified if you do not have a certification), snorkeling, fishing, try spear fishing, climb coconut trees, do the Four Peaks hike (a hike the length of the island), or hike to Sunset Peak (a short hike to a breathtaking sunset view) and much more!
  • Cultural Activities
    • On the island, there are tons of activities to help you become immersed in Fijian culture. You can learn the meke, a traditional Fijians dance that tells the story of the Mali tribe. You can also learn grog mat etiquette (how to be culturally respectful during kava night), learn how to weave mats and baskets, learn how to harvest coconuts and make coconut oil and much more!
  • Knowledge Activities
    • There are also tons of ways to broaden your knowledge while on the island. You can learn about the medicinal plants on the island and how they are used, Fijian language, history of the island, history of the reef, reef conservation efforts, the effect of climate change on village life and much more!




What is this "kava" I have heard about in Fiji?


Kava is a root that is very important and symbolic in Fijian culture. The root is pounded and mixed with water and served as a drink in coconut shells. It is known for its medicinal qualities. Most nights, you can have kava (if you would like to) with the chief, other Fijians, and visitors on the island. You may also hear it referred to as “grog”. Sitting around the grog mat at night is what Fijians do - this is where stories are shared, connections are made, and problems are solved. It’s at the core of Fijian life and culture.




What if I do not want to do an activity?


Activities on the island are encouraged, but not required. This is YOUR Vorovoro experience; if you want to relax, please do!




I want to Scuba dive. Is that possible?


Yes, it is. Mali Island native and certified dive instructor Leone Vokai of Great Sea Reef Divers can come to the island and certify you as a PADI Open Water diver. If you already are certified, Leone can take you on a thrilling private dive on Cakaulevu Reef, the third longest reef in the world. It’s stunning and 95% unexplored.




Will there be any time to relax while on Vorovoro?


Yes, you can spend part (or all!) of your day relaxing in a hammock, taking a swim, exploring, or laying out on the secret beach. There are plenty of great ways to relax on Vorovoro.




What does a typical day look like on the island?


On a typical day on the island, we have breakfast at 8. After breakfast, we have a community meeting with everyone on the island and the chief. During this meeting we ask for volunteers for tasks (collecting coconuts, firewood, seawater, etc.) and discuss our plans for the day. There will usually be an activity (cultural workshop, visit to the school, medicinal plant tour - something like that) in the morning; check the notice board to see what is on the agenda for the day. Then, we have a snack/tea break mid-morning before coming together for lunch at 12. Lunch is followed by another activity, and then we have a second snack/tea break after that (in the heat, breaks are important!). There is usually a community volleyball game at the end of the workday, around 5 pm. At 6, we eat dinner and then it's up to you - usually you can join in the nightly kava drinking session, have a campfire, join in games, read a book, or maybe relax in a hammock and stargaze until you are ready go to sleep. Our daily activities might include visiting Mali island, snorkeling on the reef, climbing coconut trees, relaxing in hammocks, weaving mats, hiking to sunset peak…. The list goes on!




Can I leave the island whenever I want to to go into town or explore another part of Fiji?


No. Part of Vorovoro’s charm is that it is a little island out in the middle of the sea. There is no public transport. We will run boats to and from the island every Wednesday and Saturday so you’ll need to plan your journey around that. But, trust us, you won’t want to leave! (Of course, if there is an emergency we can get you back to the mainland and up to the hospital, any day of the week or time of day).




Are there any planned trips away from the island?


Yes. Each week we take off-island trips like visiting Mali School, going snorkeling on the reef, attending a church service, and night fishing. There is a small additional charge for these activities to pay for expenses, including donations/tithes on your behalf to the local community. Please see the list of extra activities here.




Will I ever be able to get some alone time on the island?


Yes, whenever you would like to spend some time by yourself, do it! Take a walk, find a hammock, read a book... it’s your Vorovoro experience - make it what you want it to be!




What should I wear on the island?


The Fijians have a very modest dress code. To be respectful to their culture, we dress accordingly. Around the chief, men and ladies wear t-shirts that cover our shoulders and chests, as well as sulus (long wraps/sarongs) around our waist. When the chief isn’t around, you can wear long pants or knee length shorts or skirts. Many of us, however, just get used to wearing our sulus most of the time. T-shirts are always appropriate for ladies; skimpy shirts or tank tops are not. In front of the village and in communal areas, ladies swim in shorts and a rashguard or t-shirt. But if you want some time in your usual swimsuit, you can just take a short stroll down to “secret beach” and show some skin.





The Basics

How do I shower?


We shower with clean and fresh rainwater collected from our rainwater catchment systems. Our showers are outdoors, private, and simple - a gravity fed design utilizing a bucket with an attached shower head. It is essential to use water sparingly on the island, as water conservation is of huge importance to the Mali tribe and Vorovoro. There is no ground water source on Vorovoro - all of our water comes from what we collect as it falls from the sky, so we each need to do our part to be smart about our water use. If it rains, the best shower of all is a small waterfall, located just a short walk down the beach.




How do we wash our clothes?


If you are staying on the island for longer than a week, you are sure to need to do some laundry. Every Wednesday, we send our laundry to a village on the mainland where they have access to more water. The ladies there will wash our clothes for $5 USD per person. It will come back to you in a couple of days clean, fresh and folded.




Where do I go to the bathroom?


There are composting toilets located on the island for using the restroom. After several months, the mixture of composted waste and wood shavings (added in between each use) is used as a fertilizer around the fruit trees on the island. The added wood shavings help to keep the smells to a minimum.




Can I contact home?


It is best to warn your loved ones that you’ll be a little out of contact while on Vorovoro. While there is some phone signal, it can sometimes be unreliable, so it’s more fun to leave phones turned off. However, if there is an emergency of any kind, it is of course possible to get in touch with home. Off island, Labasa has internet cafes so there is always the option of going online when you are in town.




What do I eat while on Vorovoro?


About 99% of food on the island is sourced locally. The majority of the food we eat is grown on the island or comes from the market on the mainland. The only exceptions are things we can’t live without but aren’t made locally, like coffee!

The cuisine, much like the culture, in Fiji and on Vorovoro is made up of an eclectic mix of western, Fijian, and Indian traditions. On Vorovoro we eat a lot of curry, chutney, dahl, and other Indian inspired cuisine along with the Fijian favorites of freshly caught fish, papaya curry and assorted root crops. And of course, there are exciting fusion foods where the cooks combine the highlights of the Indian, Fijian and western cuisines. Additionally, there are plenty of fresh fruits to compliment the treats, such as homemade cake, that are served. The food is delicious and without fail, guests say that the food is a highlight of their stay on Vorovoro!




What if I have dietary restrictions or food preferences?


We are happy to accommodate any dietary restrictions or food preferences on the island. Don’t hesitate to speak up about any allergies or restrictions you have.




Can I help cook?


Yes, please do! Anything you would like to help out with on the island—like cooking—you can do! Just ask. Semisi, the head chef on the island, is happy to teach you how to make some tasty Fijian meals and is always interested in learning about food from overseas.




How do we cook?


We cook using a gas stove top and wood-fired oven that was made on the island.




What should I wear on the island?


The Fijians have a very modest dress code. To be respectful to their culture, we dress accordingly. Around the chief, men and ladies wear t-shirts that cover our shoulders and chests, as well as sulus (long wraps/sarongs) around our waist. When the chief isn’t around, you can wear long pants or knee length shorts or skirts. Many of us, however, just get used to wearing our sulus most of the time. T-shirts are always appropriate for ladies; skimpy shirts or tank tops are not. In front of the village and in communal areas, ladies swim in shorts and a rashguard or t-shirt. But if you want some time in your usual swimsuit, you can just take a short stroll down to “secret beach” and show some skin.





More Questions

Is my trip really going to help the locals?


Yes! First and foremost, Bridge the Gap is on Vorovoro because the Chief of Mali requests us to be there year after year. If they wanted us to leave because our presence was not supporting their community development efforts any longer, we would pack up and leave. Each year we give supplies, time and knowledge to help the community reach their goals. Visit Our Impact to find out more about the good we help bring to Vorovoro and the Mali Community.




What makes my trip "sustainable"?


This trip is categorized as sustainable because of the relatively low environmental impact we have while living on the island. Unlike the expensive resorts where the sheets are washed daily and the Jacuzzis never stop, on Vorovoro we live with the environment. Our feet are dirty and are smiles wide. All food is either bought at the local market or caught right off the shores of Vorovoro. Showers are less frequent and without hot water. We believe that air conditioning feels best when it is the South Pacific breeze. Additionally, proceeds are pumped back into the community instead of into the hands of foreign investors. Of course, any sort of airline travel is harmful to the environment. Although we did not want to force these offset costs onto guests, we do recommend learning more about your airline footprint and how to offset it by using resources such as climatecare.org.




Can I bring my family with me to Vorovoro?


Most definitely! Children are cherished on Vorovoro - Fijian culture is centered around children and family. Vorovoro really is heaven to children and parents alike - children love the adventure and freedom that island life affords them that they seldom get to experience in their “regular” lives. And parents find they have to look after the children far less than they expect - allowing them plenty of time to relax, have conversations, read a book, nap, etc. If you would like to hire an extra hand to help look after the kids or take them on island adventures, we can help you do that too! Just let us know. And there are even significant discounts for families/groups of certain sizes to help encourage you to bring your family and friends.




What can I expect as a visitor to Vorovoro?


As a visitor to Vorovoro, you can expect to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. While the trip is hard to describe with words, some phrases such as eco-tourism, responsible travel, voluntourism, cultural immersion, and adventure travel may help paint a picture. It’s the vision of the local community to erase the line in the sand between visitors and Fijians that exists in typical tourist destinations - so once you arrive in Vorovoro, you aren’t just a guest, you are family. A trip to Vorovoro can be whatever you want it to be; an action packed adventure, a chance to relax and get rid of your day to day stresses, an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, or a chance to really get your hands dirty and help with meaningful community projects. You will be living on a rugged, yet amazingly beautiful, island in the South Pacific with members of the Mali Tribe of Fiji. You will learn their ways of singing, dancing, laughing, fishing, coconut working, cooking and more. You will be freed from many of the stressors that pull us in any which way while at home. Your time on the island is usually split between activities and down time (which is some of the best time to get to know our Fijian hosts). All this happens while supporting the local economy, investing in job training, and diversifying the livelihood of the Mali Tribe. Remember as well that if there is anything else you have your heart set on doing while in Fiji, we’d love to hear about it and might well be able to make it happen.




What amenities are on the island? Electricity? Running water?


We have a solar panel on the island for charging cameras, phones, laptops, etc. There are solar lights in the kitchen and around the dining areas as well as solar string lights in each of the accommodations. However you’ll find you need a flashlight (we recommend a headlamp) to move around in the dark, unless you are lucky enough to be on the island during a full moon. (The lack of light means you can see the most amazing stars - it’s truly indescribable!) The rainwater catchment system allows us to have filtered drinking water, and taps for getting water to shower and wash dishes. Of course we have an abundance of salt water too!




What is the tobacco policy on the island?


Tobacco is allowed on the island. The locals smoke "suki", which is locally-grown dried tobacco leaves, crumbled and rolled in a specific dried leaf found on the island. Cigarettes can be found in town. However, we ask you to be respectful of others, especially children, and to only smoke in outdoor spaces and take care of your butts.




What is the alcohol/drug policy on the island?


All alcohol and illicit drugs are strictly prohibited on the island. This is not so much a Bridge the Gap policy as it is a Vorovoro Mali Tribe policy. Breaking this rule would be an insult to the hospitality that the Chief of Mali has offered us. If you wish to drink while in Fiji, do it while off the island either before or after your stay on Vorovoro.




How do you handle payments?


We accept credit and debit cards using Stripe, an internationally trusted and secure company for payment transactions. This will be done after we have been in touch with you to confirm all your booking details. We also accept Paypal. Additionally, we are happy to arrange a payment plan.




How much extra spending money do I need?


We recommend guests have between $50-150 USD of extra spending money on hand. You might want to purchase:

  • Meals or treats while you are in town
  • Local handicrafts and/or coconut oil made on Vorovoro
  • Laundry
    • For $5 USD, you can send a bag (we provide the bag) of clothing into town to be washed.
  • Town trip
    • $10 USD. Twice a week we go to Labasa town for supplies or to pick up/drop off guests. Each time, we will have a few spaces in the boat for those who want to spend a day in Labasa town.
  • Optional activities
    • Once on Vorovoro, guests can pay for off-island activities (unless you pre-paid for them when you booked your stay). These weekly activities include:
      • a snorkeling reef trip for $15 USD
      • a primary school and village visit for $10 USD
      • a night fishing trip for $10 USD
      • a church visit for $15 USD (includes tithes)
      • an opportunity to weave mats with the local ladies for a price of $15 USD (for supplies)




What is your privacy policy?


When you arrive, you will be asked to sign a consent form which essentially giving BTG and Vorovoro permission to use photo/videos of you from during your stay in our efforts to share what we are doing on Vorovoro through social media, advertisments, promotional materials, etc. If you would prefer not to give consent, just indicate that to a BTG staff person and we will honor your request.




What is your cancellation policy?


Our cancellation policy is 100% returned if cancelled 90 days or more from date of expected arrival, 75% returned if cancelled 60 days or more from date of expected arrival, and 50% if cancelled 30 days or more before from date of expected arrival. Bookings are non-refundable if cancelled less than 30 days from unexpected arrival. Bookings are transferrable.





STUDY ABROAD ● SCHOOL GROUPS ● DIVE ENTHUSIASTS ● PRIVATE GROUPS ● RETREATS/EVENTS

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