Samoa Cultural Trip - a great success

During the last week of term and the first week of the recent school holidays 21 members of the Chanel College Cultural Group visited Samoa on a Cultural exchange. We left on Thursday July 7th and returned on Friday the 15th of July.

The trip to Samoa was a great success. Olivia Geange, teacher in charge of our cultural group, is to be congratulated for her organisation and hard work in preparing for this trip. The students, staff and their families put a lot of time and effort into fundraising to make the trip affordable for as many students as possible.  Thank you also to the 4 staff who accompanied group, Mrs Bunny, Mrs Coley, Mr Holder and Mr Miles.

The opportunity for the students to gain an appreciation of Samoan culture first hand through visiting schools, visiting local tourist spots and attending Mass in Samoan all contributed to a wonderful experience.  We were privileged to be hosted by and share lunch with the family of Melnissa Fauinui and Levonia Afele which was a unique and very special experience and a definite highlight.  The cultural exchanges with Safata College and Chanel College, and the visit by the staff of St Joseph’s College, were great and will live on in the memory of the students for a long time. These visits will allow the development of an on-going relationship with each of them as part of our College Social Justice programme.

The following are reflections of the trip made by our Assistant Principal – Mrs Myra Coley

“Our overarching value for the year is ‘Living Our Values Everyday’ and we recently got to see this in action when we visited Samoa and met not only a people, but a culture and a country who truly do live their values every day.

Everywhere we went and in everyone we met, we saw clearly the evidence of a people whose values are steeped in tradition, family and faith.  Values of hospitality, simplicity, hard work, education and joy.

Joy which we saw on the faces of Timothy and his mother who were reunited after 8 years. Joy in the laughter of school children who found our haka quite amusing.

Hospitality in the schools who, at a days’ notice, stopped everything to welcome us into their classrooms because they valued the opportunity to share our cultures. Hospitality in Angela’s beautiful Aunty Pele who on the last day of our trip, arrived to present us with traditional Samoa outfits, custom made for the staff to wear on our flights home, simply as a thank you for taking the students to Samoa.

Hospitality in the village and home of Vania and her family who prepared a feast for all 26 of us and welcomed as the very first guests into their newly built, yet to be completed fale. The privilege and honour that were given to us by these people could not be ignored.

In meeting these beautiful people, we came to understand our Samoan students more than ever before.”

During our time in Samoa we also swam with the turtles, attend a jazz concert, visited the markets, travelled to the region which was devastated in the 2009 tsunami, swam in the Sua Ocean trench, had lunch in a resort, experienced an inter-island ferry, made the local newspaper and local tv news, plus many other experiences for which we and our students are all the richer.

See some trip highlights here: