Samoa is home away from home for Alyssa Marrara.
She describes the love and kindness shown to her by her host family, which has made her feel a lot closer to home.
“I am so grateful to be staying with a Samoan family that has treated me nothing less but their own and for that I am unbelievably blessed,” she said.
“But the best place in Samoa is my house. I love my host family because they treat me as one of their own.”
Alyssa is from Niagara Falls in Canada and she arrived in Samoa in January this year.
It’s her first time in Samoa.
Alyssa is part of a project that focuses on primary school children in Samoa and that’s why she’s here.
“I’m volunteering at Manumalo Baptist School and I have created a literacy programme for second grade children,” she said.
“It has been so nice to see the progression of each child and I too have learned so much from volunteering there.
“It has also been a pleasure being able to work in collaboration with the principals and teachers at Manumalo to aid in the children’s reading.”
Alyssa admires the Samoan culture, and the kindness and love shown towards her has made her feel at home.
“I admire how relaxed the atmosphere that Samoan people have created and it is really a nice change from the hustle and bustle of Canada.
“Everyone has been so friendly to me and is always so concerned making sure that I am okay.”
Her best memory of Samoa so far would have to be visiting Namu’a Island at Aleipata.
“I went there by boat to stay for one night. Their ocean view was amazing and I was really able to enjoy the stars. I even got to see some turtles. I have never been to such a peaceful place. I was happy to visit there.”
She leaves the islands in May, but promises to see more of Samoa before that.