Volunteer returns favour for help during his nation’s hour of need

By Ulimasao Fata ,

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Masato Tsuchyia

The hardest part of leaving is saying goodbye.

Yesterday, Football Federation Samoa bid farewell to one of their friends and work colleague, Masato Tsuchyia, who is returning to Saitama, Japan.

Tsuchyia came to Samoa under the Japanese Government Project through J.I.C.A. and has been a volunteer at the Football Federation Samoa over the past two years.  

“I came to Samoa under the Japanese Government Programme and J.I.C.A. brought me here as an international co-operation volunteer.”  

The touching story of the world supporting Japan after they suffered the 2011 earthquake interested Tsuchyia to carry out voluntary work in various parts of the world.

“When Japan suffered the earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 10,000 Japanese people, we received mounts of support and assistance from countries all over the world.

“The world supported Japan after the disaster because they believed Japan has helped them in so many ways and this is their time to help Japan.

“So that led to my resignation from my previous job as a salesman. I applied for the International Project Programme to acknowledge the help of the world towards my country.

“The Japanese Government then employed me as a football coach because of my football background as a player and as a coach and they dispatched me here in Samoa two years ago.”

He says he had enjoyed every moment of his working experience in Samoa, especially with the Football Federation Samoa as a coach for the U-17 that toured New Zealand and Tahiti for the Oceania tournaments. 

“I have visited all the primary schools on Upolu, distributing soccer balls and conducting three complimentary school programmes of fun football. 

“I am going to miss Samoa so much because I have enjoyed everything I have engaged with during my two-year period here.

Masato Tsuchyia posing for the last time at the Football Federation Samoa grounds. Photo/Misiona Simo
Masato Tsuchyia posing for the last time at the Football Federation Samoa grounds. Photo/Misiona Simo

Tsuchyia was also fortunate to work with the Nobesity programme where he joins them every Monday afternoon. 

“I have made ties with the people there and their programme and I have also assisted them with few sports programme in promoting exercises to avoid obesity in Samoa.   

Tsuchyia also shared that he has learned a lot from the Samoan people.

“The most impressive thing I have learnt so far here in Samoa is the hospitality of the people and their communication with other people.

“Samoan people are really friendly and fun people to hang out with. I was also impressed with how strong family ties are here in Samoa, relationship among family members and village communities.

“In my country, unfortunately family ties and relationships are weak. For example, I haven’t talked to my cousins for ages and I haven’t met any of my aunties or uncles, but here you see one family living together and helping each other.”

Tsuchyia added the thing he will miss the most is the people and he would love to revisit in the future.

He plans to further his studies in Liverpool so he can be able to contribute to Football Samoa in the near future. 

 “I am planning to go to U.K to study football business there so that I can work in the football business worl after my studies and try to find a way to work with Samoa Football in the business side.

Tsuchyia added the highlight of his stay was playing international competition for the first representing Samoa through the Lupe Ole Soaga Football Club earlier this year.

He shared that he has learned so much from his work experience in Samoa. 

“I have improved my communication skills since I came to Samoa, especially my English.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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