Work, work, work, rest!

Here we are again!

Work has progressed despite an inordinate level of rainfall over the past week. We are keeping flood-stricken Queensland in mind and it's not hard...

We are half-way through assembling the playground, with concrete being poured today, and we aim to be putting the roof on the toilet and shower block today. The slab was poured a few days ago and the walls have gone up, with window and door frames assembled.

We have been lucky that quite a few locals are helping out with the project. However, foremen Jamie, Isaac and Bede have been leading their teams well. There is quite a rivalry between them, making it a challenge to see who can finish first.

After the first week of work, we headed out on Saturday afternoon to Nu'usafe'e Island, to do some snorkeling and to stay the night. We were quite lucky with the weather but couldn't avoid the rain, so some had a sleepless night by the campfire while others stayed under the tarpaulin set up by our trusty friend Sefu.

The island is covered in hermit crabs, which made a few of us a little apprehensive before bedding down in the sand for the night...

On Sunday we had a big parish Mass with the new parish priest for the Catholic church in Poutasi, and then we drove down the coast past the areas of Saleapaga and Lalomanu to see the tsunami damage. While many houses have been rebuilt and whole villages such as Saleapaga have relocated on higher ground, there are still many fales that have been abandoned on the coast.

We had a snorkel in the beautiful waters and could see the first signs of new life with the discoloured coral showing bright blue tips. We are grateful to Sili Apelu and the staff of Taufua Beach Fales for looking after us on Sunday. The group had a good rest and we have returned to Poutasi for a big week of work!

We are looking forward to some interesting get togethers this week, with a ukulele and guitar night tonight with Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale, who will also come to talk to the group about Poutasi and the tsunami.

Stay tuned - all of us are in good health and good spirits. We are eating local and traditional Samoan cuisine - lots of fruit and vegetables such as taro. Lots of locally-caught fish and the good old pancakes for dessert!


Samoa Service Project Team