Samoa: It was good to once again welcome Eleitino Paddy Walker back to Samoa after her successful June 2003 visit, to continue the momentum already established of reaching out and capturing the minds and attention of our children with her inspirational peace message.
Unfortunately, the timing of Paddy's visit coincided with a 2 week school break, 01 to 12 September, but in spite of this PPSEAWA Samoa was able to arrange a very successful programme for Paddy.
It also proved an opportune timing, as there had been a spate of well publicised inter-school conflicts, some resulting in physical violence. Paddy's peace message was welcomed by most schools that were approached with the exception of St Joseph's College, whose students it seems were still "hurting" from the violent incidences.
The Young Peace Programme kicked off on Monday 25 August with a visit to the Faculty of Education students of the National University of Samoa. This was attended by approximately 100 students and set the pace for the rest of the programme.
Tuesday 26 August saw our Peace Team at Samoa College, Vaivase-uta, where some 600 enthusiastic students responded to Paddy's message.
To our disappointment on Wednesday 27 August, St Joseph's College, Alafua, cancelled out at the last minute, leaving us no time to make alternative arrangements. Later attempts to re-schedule a visit were unsuccessful.
Thursday 28 August saw the team once again at the National University of Samoa, this time to meet with the University Preparatory Year *UPY) students. A most receptive and attentive group of some 100 students listened and hopefully learnt some valuable lessons from Paddy's messages of Peace. In the evening Paddy attended a dinner meeting with the Soroptomist International of Samoa ladies at the Le Moana Cafe. As a result of Paddy's inspirational presentation, Soroptimist and PPSEAWA combined in a joint message to the parents and teachers of Samoa to observe the World Day of Peace on 18th September.
A PPSEAWA meeting was held shortly after Paddy's arrival, with others following to finalise her programme, which was well covered by the media, radio, television and newspapers. Arrangements were made to transport Paddy to and from her many appointments.
The Young Peace Programme resumed on Monday 15 September with a visit to the Avele College, Avele. The outdoor setting was a refreshing change, and seemed to enhance the enthusiasm of the 150 or so students in attendance.
On Tuesday 16 September a well received session was held at St Mary's College, Vaimoso followed by lunch with the nuns. Role playing enhanced Paddy's message, though it was not possible to do these at all the visits due to time constraints.
The visit to Don Bosco College on Wednesday 17 September was possibly the most enjoyable of the programme. The students had arranged a special performance for their visitors, with singing and dancing, in which all participated with gusto. The role plays indicated a healthy grasp of Paddy's message.
On her final day, Thursday 18 September, saw Paddy and her team at the Chanel College, Moamoa. This was well attended with approximately 250 students participating.
The week 15-20 September also saw many activities organised jointly by PPSEAWA and Soroptomist International of Samoa as mentioned above to commemorate Interantional Peace Week and World Day of Peace, which enjoyed some excellent media coverage. This saw a fitting finale to another successful visit by our PPSEAWA Peace Ambassador, Eleitino Paddy Walker, who left Samoa in the early hours of 19 September.
We congratulate Paddy on her gallant efforts to promote peace among the youth of Samoa. We look forward to many more visits from Paddy in the future.