The new volunteers were welcomed at an Ava Ceremony at the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture Samoa fale by the Peace Corps Country Director Gini Wilderson, the CEO of MESC Dr. Karoline Afamasaga-Fuatai and the U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Tony Greubel.
The group will work under a partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture to promote teaching and learning capacities in English Literacy.
The new volunteers, who range in age from their early 20s to their 50s, will spend two years living and working in Samoan villages serving as English Resource Teachers in government primary schools.
“It is an honor to welcome to Samoa a fresh contingent of Peace Corps volunteers,” U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Tony Greubel said. “The Peace Corps celebrates 52 years in Samoa this year, having formed a deep, enduring partnership with the people of Samoa since 1967. Peace Corps volunteers over the years have formed countless relationships with Samoan families, and I have no doubt that this new group will be just as warmly welcomed by the Samoan people as their predecessors have been.”
Volunteers choose to serve in Samoa for a variety of reasons. Some want to make a difference in students’ lives.
As one volunteer said, “As an educator I believe that literacy is the key to the world. My primary aspiration is to get my students excited about reading and writing.” Another added, “I realize how important education is in the hopes of accomplishing dreams and goals in life”.
Other volunteers are eager to learn about Samoa and building lasting bonds within their communities. “I hope to become as much a part of my community as possible, attending church, spending time with my host family and students, forming bonds with the people around me, coupling respect with friendship and hopefully [one day] earning my place as a community member myself,” articulated one.
The new group of volunteers, the 91st group to have lived and worked in Samoa, will spend their first 10 weeks in a Pre-Service Training Programme, which will include learning the Samoan language and culture along with technical training.
The first week of the training will take place in Apia, followed by 9 weeks in a village setting. In mid-December, the Volunteers will travel to their new sites in villages throughout Samoa to spend time getting to know their communities over the Christmas holidays.
These volunteers will live and work in Samoa throughout the 2020 and 2021 school years.
The Government first requested the assistance of the Peace Corps in 1967. Since then, more than 2000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Samoa providing small-scale technical assistance and building cross-cultural ties.