Samoa is the place where dreams come true.
For Yuka Oyama, from Miyazaki, Japan, Samoa is more than that.
Her dreams of always helping people in a foreign country has a reality in Samoa, and in the process is finding out more and more about herself and what she truly loves.
There is little not to like about her home for now. She loves the environment, the people and Samoa’s tourist attractions.
She came to Samoa as a representative of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (J.O.C.V.), and now works with the Kidney Foundation at Moto’otua.
According to her, treating local patients who need dialysis in hospital has been a great experience.
“Since I started learning medical care in school, my goal was to work overseas and to join the J.O.C.V. programme. So I’m on my long-cherished dream now,” she said.
Yuka has been in Samoa for more than six months and she will stay here until 2019.
She rents a room in Apia, like other Japanese volunteers do and so far has enjoyed her stay.
Yuka mentioned her admiration of the unique Samoan culture and respect shown towards each other.
But her most interesting experience was spending time with her host family in Falelatai where she got first hand experience of island life in her first week in Samoa.
Yuka commended her host mum who was an interesting and helpful person.
“My host mom is always smiling, active, and interesting. I have never seen such a positive person ever,” she said.
Yuka plans to carry out medical activities outside of the hospital.
“To decrease the number of kidney patients, it is important to not only work in the hospital, but also in schools or communities.
“One of the main causes of kidney failures is lifestyle-related diseases. And it is also important to find it earlier before the disease gets worse.”
Yuka visits schools once a month to give students self-health care lessons in the local language by using presentation.
She visited Aufaga Village last week.
“The participants told me it is a good event and it was hard to go to Apia to get health checks, so they want us to come here every year. I feel this is a challenging job for me and I want to continue this work until I leave here.”
Somehow, her experience of Samoa has made her realise her strengths in teaching healthcare and she wants to change her career when she returns to Japan.
So for Yuka, Samoa is the place that gave her a glimpse of her future.