Thank you so much, Samoa!

By Haruki Ume 24 March 2018, 12:00AM

It has been four weeks already!

As I type this, memories of the great time I had in Samoa started to flash across my mind. 

I swear I could almost get teary and weep like a child because it breaks my heart to leave Samoa - a place I called home for a month. 

On February 24, I left Japan, my homeland, for Samoa –an island I’ve heard about but never set foot on. On 25 February, I finally made it. It was also my first time in the Pacific region and for Samoa to be the first island; I would not have it any other way. 

When my trip to Samoa was approved by Project Abroad, I couldn’t wait to experience a new destination and something different. And now with less than several hours left before I depart, I would just like to say Faafetai Samoa. 

You have been a great host. Your people have been so kind and I enjoyed everything about your island. The food, the scenery, culture, ocean and the sea, they are memories that not even my photographs could describe for they are worth more than a thousand words. 

My life in Samoa was like a marathon. I study international cooperation in Japan and my spring break was spent at Samoa’s award winning newspaper company – Samoa Observer. Joining the Samoa Observer on February 26 was the best experience ever. As a 22-year-old, I swear I could have grown white hair much earlier if I had spent another month there, but I have learned a lot and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. I got to develop my knowledge on international cooperation by meeting people who are actively involved in international diplomacy and I just admire them. 

I have to say thank you to my work colleagues too. For a young person like me, it is a blessing to work together with skilled reporters. Without your advice and help, I wouldn’t have written any good articles. The staff members are cheerful and helpful as well.It helps to decrease the level of stress.

To my friends at the Samoa Observer, I hope I have done you all proud. Every day I was happy to see your faces at the office and the same with my edited articles. Fa’afetai Samoa Observer, you have been a great part of my journey. Thank you from your crazy, young and bubbly Japanese brother.

When I mention about my Samoan experience, I can’t skip talking about the contribution of my host family. After work, they always welcomed me home and enjoyed talking, playing rugby, card games and even dancing together. Actually I never felt lonely in Samoa.

I never felt bored also. I learned Samoan traditional family love and culture from them. It was a worrying point for me if Samoan food is suitable for me or not, but it became just needless worries. I love Samoan food which Yvonne makes. Thank you so much to the Malaki family from your I will miss you. 

And I can’t forget my Samoan friends who I always go out and enjoy Samoa’s nature with. To Sua Ocean Trench is the best diving place in the world, I think. I went there with two funny guys and I enjoyed it a lot. The Papaseea Sliding Rock is the most attractive site ever.

I went there with little kids and enjoyed playing with them. Palolo Deep is the best snorkelling beach. I went there with a cute couple and enjoyed swimming. I got to also experience Savai’i and it was the best trip ever. I spent a wonderful time with my friends who are my host family’s cousins. I think all these interesting experiences are given by fantastic friends. Thank you for that. 

In addition, thank you Project Abroad staff members who allowed me to have this amazing experience. Thank you for your support. Without your cooperation, I wouldn’t have a successful stay in Samoa. Arigato.

There are still many other memories. I love to stay here but now I have to take the next step. My goal is to be a J.I.C.A. worker and contribute to improving people’s lives in developing countries. All these experiences will be a strong weapon for me to go through any trial, so I will try to keep working hard in Japan too. My experiences in Samoa have made me mentally strong and physically big as well. Now I feel I am a person who can overcome any difficulties and challenges in life. 

Faafetai Samoa. I will return if life approves of it.

By Haruki Ume 24 March 2018, 12:00AM

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