Samoan excursion helps broaden student horizons

GIVING BACK: Scheider Auva’a, Lachlan Reid and Denzel Urale from St Edmund’s College. Lachlan will be heading off to Samoa later this month with donated medical supplies.
GIVING BACK: Scheider Auva’a, Lachlan Reid and Denzel Urale from St Edmund’s College. Lachlan will be heading off to Samoa later this month with donated medical supplies. Claudia Baxter

A SAMOAN hospital and schools will benefit from the goodwill of Ipswich school students as they venture to the pacific island nation over the school holidays.

Ten students from St Edmund's College will make the trip to Samoa, delivering medical supplies and stationary donated by the Ipswich community.

It is the second time the school is making the journey after the students brought stationary and medical supplies, with a total value of more than $100,000.

The trip was organised as a helping hand to communities hit by the 2009 tsunami.

The boys visit a hospital in Poutasi, located in the island's north and Poutasi in the south.

Assistant principal Keith Halpin said the students are in grade 11 and 12, with each having to apply for a position on the trip.

They leave on the 10-day tour on June 26.

The majority of the inventory is first aid supplies and foetal heart rate monitors and stationary donated to school kids.

Mr Halpin said medical supplies helped nurses visiting remote villages.

The students give the school kids the stationary and, while visiting the village, the boys help in the classroom by acting as teacher aids.

Mr Halpin said the living conditions the students witness during their trip gives them a different perspective.

"It is a culture shock when we go over there. We disconnect from all the i-Pods and computers to reconnect with ourselves over there," he said.

"The trip has a profound impact on them and regardless of what they do in the future."

The trip follows the Christian Brothers ethos of walling in solidarity with the poor and building a relationship that is on going.

Before leaving the students do three weeks of Polynesian studies to get a grasp of Samoan culture.

It follows St Edmund's recent tradition of letting students experience different cultures through trips to East Timor, India and regional Australia.

St Edmund's students have to build a school in East Timor.

Topics:  foreign aid, samoa, st edmund's college



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