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The Cagliero Project: Sharing of one year missionary volunteer experience in Samoa

By Ms. Stefanie Azzopardi


Alafua, Samoa, 4 December 2017 -- In February 2017 I arrived in Samoa excited to spend my year volunteering at Divine Mercy School, Malololelei. And now in what feels like a blink of an eye I will be leaving beautiful Samoa and returning back home to Australia. While I am looking forward to returning home and seeing my friends and family, I will definitely miss this beautiful country, the people and of course all my gorgeous but cheeky students!


During my time in Samoa I have been teaching reading classes, oral hygiene and assisting in the preschool and organising afternoon school classes as well as being involved in some of the youth activities. It has been a real blessing getting to know my students and to journey with them throughout the year. I have enjoyed their energy, their sense of humour, their smiles and hugs.


And while they definitely keep you on your toes as they are the cheekiest are the cheekiest students I have met, their beautiful hearts and warm hugs won’t keep you mad for long! I was recently away from the school for a couple of days to spend some time with another community and I was overwhelmed by the excitement of the children when they saw that me again. This is something I will miss!


During my time in Samoa I have also been fortunate to spend time with some families in the village. I have loved these experiences as it has been a great way to learn about the Samoan culture and way of life. Samoans in general are very hard working where many families have their own plantations where they grow their own food to support and feed their families. They often use natural resources and what the land has to provide in their everyday life.


While Samoans are very hard working, they also love to have fun, especially sing and dance! And they are truly talented! One of the highlights of my school year was our “Cultural Day” where the students performed Samoan dances and dramas. It was a lot of fun learning the Samoan style of dance. While I could never match their grace and poise, it was a great day!


One aspect of the Samoan way of life that I will miss is the sense of community. When walking or driving through the village, everyone will greet each other by either saying “Hello” or “Bye” regardless if they know the person or not. This sense of connection and community is beautiful and something I have enjoyed!


While my journey in Samoa is coming to an end, it is one that I won’t forget.


Tofa Soifua!




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