Posted on 3 June, 2015

Every trip with Open Heart International usually has at least one new volunteer. This year, I am told, I am one of at least fifteen volunteers travelling with Open Heart International for the first time.

Hi I am Rebecca Karraz, and ICU nurse from Sydney. They say Fiji is the place where you don’t find happiness because it will find you first! And so far I don’t disagree.


It’s been four full days, and we’ve worked through 23 cases so far. Today is a new day with more challenges thrown our way. This project has totally challenged me, and also built up my passion for nursing.

On the flight from Sydney, I sat next two nurses also volunteering for the first time. We sat with no expectations of what it would looks like or how it would be. Nervous and excited we buckled up and we were ready.

On Sunday we set up the ICU. A newly renovated ward next door to the operating theatres, and from team members who had been previously, the renovations are certainly an impressive improvement. Each shift we are privileged to work with Fijian nurses. Each one having a different nursing background. The idea is that will work beside us and learn from us. Often I feel like I am learning from them.

That afternoon we had our first two children and an adult come out of surgery and into our hands. I’ll never forget the smiles on their faces when they woke up. Parents, the minute saw their little boy or girl wake up and smile, were just beaming with pride and thankfullness.

As a paediatric nurse it has been an incredible journey watching kids with heart conditions compensate with it for many many years. I never realised that when I applied for Open Heart International, and when I felt I was ready to give of my time and skills, that I would actually be getting something much more valuable back.

Meanwhile the ward is over flowing with over 25 patients. The rooms have changed from tears and crying to laughter and squeals of joy as patients run around after their operations. We are hoping to discharge approximately four today if all goes to plan

My heart is so warm and full of love for Fiji and the people of Fiji!


Tags:  Fiji,