Connect : Connect November 2011
15 Top left: Christine with Kiji Vukikomoala from the Fiji Environmental Law Association Top right above: Christine facilitates a Fiji compliance and enforcement training course Top right below: Christine and Emma Wangi in the ICUN offce Immediately above: Emma Wangi and Christine during a courtroom exercise for the compliance course excepting as required by the Chief Justice for annual reports and keeping the Attorney-General informed regarding the Court. I now have a line manager. Initially I found it mildly irritating to have to report weekly to him as I was not used to that kind of reporting or supervision. In more recent times I have been included in discussions as a senior member of the offce team and enjoy being able to make a contribution at that level. The expectation here is that all staff will fll out a time sheet showing the time spent on projects. Having left that behind when I left legal practice for the bench, I found it onerous and diffcult to comply with, and admit to not transitioning well in this regard. When we arrived in Fiji it was the wet season, with temperatures in the low 30s and very high humidity. I came to the conclusion that living in a fat without air-conditioning is not conducive to serious intellectual output in the evenings. I was uncomfortable. My legs and feet swelled. I wondered how I was going to survive the year. Volunteers cannot afford to run a car, so we don't have one. This has meant a lot of adjustment, especially for exercise and shopping. We live about 4.5 kilometres from the offce (50 minutes’ walk – and yes, I have walked it a couple of times, but required a shower when I arrived), so usually catch a taxi, instead of a bus as that would mean taking one bus into town, then another. In the case of exercise, I have not adjusted well – I don’t do enough. We can't just jump into the car and go to the gym, pool, shop, library or work, or for a walk in the hills which I loved to do. I now realise how much we spend on cars just for the convenience of having them sitting in the garage ready to take us where we want, when we want. I work with some wonderful people, both in our 'room' at 15 Ma’afu Street - Kiji and Jerry in the FELA Offce (Maria-Goreti has moved on) and Emma in the environmental law team – and in the IUCN Offce generally. The transition to the life of a volunteer has not been without its frustrations, but the experiences and insights, including into one's own values and priorities, have meant that the year so far has been personally and professionally rewarding. I also suspect it will prove to be a valuable transition between judicial life and actual semi-retirement, not the least because I will have refected on life! "I am enjoying the opportunities to mentor young lawyers and to broaden my knowledge, both in relation to the environment and cultures of the Pacifc region and environmental law, while being of service to governments and NGOs and contributing to the work of IUCN."
Connect March 2012