“Dylan for Samoa” bears fruits

Students at the Matautu Falelatai Primary School have started the school year, learning in a much better facility thanks to the generosity of a friend in Switzerland.

Yesterday, the school dedicated a $23,000 project where the school building was tiled. But that wasn’t all. 

The students and teachers also welcomed $11,000 worth of school and library books. So how did this all come about?

The story dates back to 2013 when School Principal Salape Eli Ioane and her husband Nanai Pologa Ioane hosted Dylan Rioja from Switzerland. 

He stayed with them for three months where they helped him to learn about life in Samoa as well as English.

“When he left, we never got in contact with him until 2017 when his young brother, flew to Samoa looking for us,” Nanai said.

“He told us the sad news. Dylan got in a car accident and passed away. So today, we grieve the death of a son who became close family to us.”

Dylan’s brother brought a gift from Dylan for the family.

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 “His younger brother also gave us $2,000 Euro as a gift to us for being good people to his brother when he was with us. The money given was Dylan’s last salary.”

The family then decided to use the money to start a project to remember Dylan. With the support of Dylan’s parents, who also visited Samoa in 2017,the  ‘Dylan for Samoa’ project was born.

It was from there the tiles and the books the students and teachers celebrated yesterday came.

Yesterday, Principal Salape said they were extremely grateful.

 “I thank the Rioja family for making this project possible for us, for the continuous support that they have given to us,” Salape said.

“Today we celebrate with hearts of thanksgiving.”

Salape added that Dylan’s family has also helped them in other ways.

“I am so excited because this is one of the projects we have been looking forward.

“Today is just a dream come true for all of us especially our school. It is our prayer that the Lord will continue to bless those who contributed to the completion of our project.”

The Rev. Elder Senara Tautiaga officiated the dedication ceremony.

The Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II was present.

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