Samaritan Tourist help farmers with boots drive

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 17 April 2018, 12:00AM

Planning her 15th trip to Samoa in just three years, prolific tourist, Jo Mikarna, won’t be returning empty handed in June. 

The Australian has been on a mission to collect boots for farmers in Samoa through her networks in the Police Force around Victoria, Australia. 

So far she has collected 170 pairs of boots that have been donated by her colleagues and the tally continues to climb as more of them come onboard.

The idea came to her when a friend from Samoa requested work boots from Jo to equip him for a new job in landscaping. Knowing that good quality heavy duty boots are expensive in any part of the world, Jo looked around her work environment and saw an abundance of used boots that were waiting to be shredded.

“In Australia, boots cost around AUD$149 (T$292.62), then I was looking around and realised everyone was wearing boots at work and I said hang on a second, because I know I have boots that I’m finished with, because we’ve got a new lot of boots coming in, so I asked one of the boys at work and he gave me his boots for my friend. Then I realised we can do this on a much bigger scale.”

Jo’s reasoning was that her office alone donated 30 pairs so she did the math and decided to go big by reaching out to the whole Police Force who have a staff of about 17,000.

She received a great response and has even started to receive tactical pants that are suitable for firefighters which she plans to add to the shipment when she arrives in June. 

“We’re increasing the awareness in my workforce. Everyone now is collecting them and putting them in their bins. People are starting to send them even from the country town. They send them to the office. The boots are starting to be collected on a mass scale; we are looking across Victoria wide.”   

Further to that, Jo added her awareness campaign has unintentionally promoted Samoa as a holiday destination to her work community. 

“Since I’ve been promoting the collection of boots, the staff is now asking more questions about where Samoa is and now I know three-four people booking trips to Samoa. 

“One of my sergeants is coming in August with her husband and I’ve given all the tips and recommendations of what to do and where to go so they are very excited.” 

Jo is currently in Samoa for a week to do some filming,

“We are making a film or short clips of what the conditions of the plantations are like in the farms over here so people can understand. Now I’ve been lucky that the warehouse of the Victoria Police have come onboard and have made it possible to also include the donation of tactical pants as well, which will be great for the firefighters.”

Jo first came to Samoa almost four years ago at a time when she was looking to escape the stresses of life. 

What she found instead was a second home and a place she wanted to share with her friends back in Australia.

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 17 April 2018, 12:00AM

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