From Matthew Gallagher and Oliver Ruse – Year 12 Duke of Edinburgh Participants
During the winter holidays we travelled to Samoa for two weeks to complete the Residential Project component of our Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. It was particularly terrifying prior to departure as we were the first Waverley students to complete this component as well as independently travelling to a foreign country, knowing that the way of life of the Samoans is completely different to ours.
We were fortunate to stay with an incredibly welcoming family in a small village named FasitooTai. Yese, Sifu and Taele were the names of the father, mother and 14-year-old son who taught us much about their lifestyle. Our main project consisted of refurbishing and repainting the computer room down at the local primary school – Fasitoo-tai Primary. This was a really enjoyable project as the school’s principal allowed us to plan and paint whatever we felt would become an engaging environment for the students to learn in. During our project we were accompanied by many eyes peering through the windows of the classroom. We were never bored either as the children at the school were always around to give us a break from the project whether it be to play a bit of sport outside, talk and interact or just do our job for us.
The entire village made us feel like we were a part of it by providing delicious, fresh Samoan meals, playing with us in the village pool or on the sporting field and teaching us about how their culture was built on respect and honesty. We weren’t just working on the project the whole time, our supervisor took us all over both of the islands so that we could truly see the stunning natural formations Samoa had to offer such as the beautifully clear beaches to the tremendous rainforests. Samoa was an amazing environment to volunteer in. From it’s marvellous natural features to the kind-hearted people, it was an incredible experience that we will never forget and hope many of you consider in the future.
This nation could definitely use your support, with many families being unable to afford the annual $50 AUD to send their children to school. On our travels, we noticed that the schools are in need of books – any books. So we will be hosting a book drive, where you can donate any old books that others may need more than you.
Date: Week 4 Monday – Friday
Location: Please drop them into the Wellbeing Centre
Donate: Any old books in good condition, suitable for children aged 0-12
For any further information please contact us or Ms Brown.
Thank you in advance for your generosity. We know the children of FasitooTai will benefit immensely from the donations we provide them.