Day 8 – The perfect ending…

Our host family cooked breakfast again this morning and we all tried a traditional coconut meal that was delicious. Today was supposed to be a relaxed day of shopping and visiting museums to wind everything up. In true Samoan style, everything changed and as we were driving to Apia to visit the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum we finally heard back from the Archbishop’s office and he was keen to meet us at 11.30. As we were all in very casual clothes it meant a quick visit to the markets first was needed. We kitted ourselves out and spent our lasting tala on gifts for back home.We then made our way to the local Cathedral built in 2014 which is an amazing structure funded by the local families. Archbishop Alapati Lui Mataeliga then greeted us in a conference room next door and thanked us for the work and service we had provided to Samoa. The students explained to him what we had achieved this trip and he was once again grateful as he acknowledged and remembered our past contributions. He then confirmed that our involvement with the two schools was vital and that Paul VI College was making good progress as they aim to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the Pope’s visit in 2020.

It was an absolute honour that he took the time to meet us and he invited us back as his own special guests next time as long as we made time for a longer chat over a coffee. We agreed and shared a prayer where we were blessed on our journey and away we went. The museum was the next stop and it was impressive to say the least. The author of titles such as ‘The Strange Tales of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Kidnapped’ truly had created a treasure on this island for all to see. The museum is mostly replica now of the original homestead and our tour guide retold the story of the man himself. Very educational and worth the wait to see it this trip. The temperature started to soar again and a long week was taking its toll so we headed home to clean and pack. We shared our last meal together cooked by Ennie and his family and gave thanks to all their help. We left them with gifts for their families and especially Julie and Ennie with their 6 children. Sita ended the night by thanking God for bringing us together and announced that we are all now family. This was a perfect time to break into song and Teneeka did not disappoint to the delight of our hosts. Walking back to our rooms for an early night, a car came up to us and the driver spoke our names. “It is Father Niko” he softly spoke but was not recognisable with his new full white beard. It was the old Principal of Paul VI from our 2017 visit who had just flown into the country from Australia and wanted to say hello before we left. It simply topped off a great final day. Tomorrow we rise at 2.30am to drive to the airport for our final day. We are coming home and I could not be prouder of the efforts of this team. They deserve a lot more than kind words but I will save that for my final reflection tomorrow. I’m sure I speak for us all when I say we have loved this experience which has been completely unique, life changing and priceless. I can also say we are looking forward to home sweet home. See you all soon.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *