Team Tonga show their appreciation

The Pacific Games is not just about sports and medals.

It's about bonding for the different Pacific Island Nations and strengthening ties. 

Which is precisely what Team Tonga and Vailele Primary School did on Thursday.

Students, staff members and families of Vailele Primary School welcomed Tongan athletes to their compound.

Vailele Primary had adopted Tonga as their country during the Games.

"We consider ourselves lucky today," said the Deputy Principal.

"We are being given attention by the beautiful faces of Tongan athletes and seeing so the smiles on the students' faces is just amazing.

"Not only us but also thanks to the proud support of the Parents Teachers Association (P.T.A) for being our right hand in everything we've been doing so it's also a great joy for them too."

Team Tonga expressed their heartfelt thanks to Vailele for the welcome they received. They also presented gifts and a monetary donation of $2,000.

One of the athletes, Seni Lafoou, said their team really appreciated the support from the school, even turning up to their games to cheer them on.

"Seeing the students and so much support has made us feel at home and that is exactly what we needed. Although we had Tongans supporting us on the field, but we were looking forward for local support so thank you Vailele."

Tonga's Chef de Mission, Netina Latu, who is also Samoan with roots in Savai'i,  was super proud.

She was accompanied by her brother, Matafeo George Latu.

"We saw a little snippet on our way here on social media of what the kids were preparing in welcoming us to Samoa so we're very grateful and thankful to Vailele for preparing," she said.

"Knowing the hours it took to rehearse their dances and the decorations has been really inspiring.

"For us we feel right at home in Samoa and as the Games tagline, One in Spirit and we feel one in spirit because of everything including this moment. So thank you Samoa for being a wonderful host."

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