Samoa taught me “real richness of the mind”

By Haruki Ume 16 March 2018, 12:00AM

Samoa is not only rich in natural resources but culture and respect as well. 

Such is the thought expressed by Kuniyoshi Watanabe (Kuni) to the Dear Tourist team. 

Mr. Watanabe is from Japan and he’s been in Samoa since 2016. 

He is here as part of the J.I.C.A. volunteer programme and has been teaching mathematics and science at Afega Primary School. 

Being a volunteer in a totally different country at first was strange for Mr. Watanabe, especially coming from a metropolitan country to an island smacked in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where skyscrapers are things in the pipeline.  

This didn’t matter at all to him because he grew accustomed to the island vibe. 

“At first I picked Samoa because I love island countries. But it didn’t take a long time to realise that my choice was great because the Samoan people and culture has taught me a lot about being strong and positive,” Mr. Watanabe shared. 

“When I first saw my students started chopping pigs in the traditional cultural class, I was so surprised because not any Japanese could do that. I felt Samoan children have a strong vitality. I also think it was a good form of education, especially to know where our food is coming from.” 

He also has a favorite spot. 

“I visited Uafato, a place known for Tanoa production. I went to there with local children. We climbed the mountain and we could see the big water fall. That was so beautiful.” 

Mr. Watanabe wishes for Samoans to maintain their traditional cultures and nationalities. 

“I appreciate Samoan people so much. I’m staying here for about four years now and people always teach me their beautiful sense of value. Although part of their lives is not modern like other countries, they are so rich in respect and kindness.” 

Mr. Watanabe is working at the Embassy of Japan in Samoa and he hopes to work for a revitalisation field in Japan so he can utilise the experience and skills he got from here.

By Haruki Ume 16 March 2018, 12:00AM

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