Quiet day for Samoa Red Cross at national celebration

The Samoa Red Cross Society had a relatively uneventful Independence Day with just two cases of fainting by noon.

Red Cross Health Manager, Goretti Wulf, said it looked like people were taking good care of themselves, staying hydrated and in the shade on what is typically an accident prone day.

The proceedings starting early may have contributed to the lack of accidents too, she said.

“We had just two cases in the morning, both of exhaustion.

“One was a young girl, who had slight dehydration. She was dizzy, collapsed and vomited, but she is fine,” Ms Wulf said.

The other was a New Zealander who had come to Samoa especially for Independence Day, she said. He may not have been used to the weather.

Samoa Red Cross deployed 40 first responders across the grounds at Mulinuu in the morning, and 30 in the afternoon to send some to the Rugby Super 9 competitions.

One of those first responders is American volunteer Matthew Nguyen. He is known in Samoa as Mataio Vailea, and has been volunteering with the Red Cross for two months.

He said his first Independence Day celebrations were fun, and he even attended to his first Red Cross emergency at the celebrations.

“Red Cross has taught me how to work in a group. Everybody here, we all love each other, we are all family,” he said.

“When we are out there, we put our mind to it, let’s work as a team.”

Mr Nguyen is from San Jose, California, but he considers Samoa home now. In just 11 months of living in Samoa he has learned to speak the language fluently, and wants to eventually return to live.

“Since I have been here I have learned a lot about the culture, the way of life,” he said.

“I just enjoyed the dancing today, I love watching the young kids dancing and showing the culture to everybody around, and not being afraid to show bravery. 

“I think that is a really important thing for Samoan people. They are not afraid to show their compassion, their talents, they are never shy and they are generous people.”

As well as the people, he has fallen in love with palusami, chopsuey and oka. 

There are many Samoan people back home in San Jose, Mr Nguyen said, and he is excited to get back and share his new knowledge and language with them.

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