A Gift from California
I don’t know exactly where this woman came from, or how I got to be so lucky, but I had the most wonderful person come to visit my school. Because of it, I now feel like I have another Samoan sister in California. It all started a few months ago, when a woman who said she read my blog said she wanted to come visit my school. Being as proud of my school as I am I jumped at the opportunity for someone to visit to see this wonderful place I live. We kept corresponding, and she had arranged with several of her friends to sponsor one of the classes in my school. She was going to bring bags full of presents with school supplies for them.
Our school has been so preoccupied with the plans for our new school building, that they did not have time to prepare much for her visit (which was probably nice, so they could see what the school looks like normally). I was having lunch with Paratina, our youngest teacher who I have come to love, when the students began shouting, “Lili, a Palagi is here to see you!!! Lili sao i’i!” I left my lunch and hurried to the car, where I met with a hug by one of the sweetest Samoans in the world-Ilovea .
She was not kidding when she said she wanted to bring things for a class in the school, the rental car was packed with boxes of things for the students. It was incredible!! I was amazed at how thoughtful people can be, especially towards children they have never met before.
After organizing, we went to the year 5 classroom, where we were greeted by so many wonderful children anxious of who this stranger was and excited to see her generosity. They sat around the room at their desks doing their writing assignment that I had given them while Ilovea gave the gigantic bags full of everything. There were shoes, tooth brushes, toothpaste, flashcards, markers, pens, pencils, crayons, games, dictionaries, paint, candy, books, scissors, pencil sharpeners, and so much more. I honestly think it was the biggest present the children had ever received.
When we finished in that classroom, she was still in the giving mood, so we travelled to the year 6 classroom. Smaller bags of school supplies, which were still quite large, were handed out. I didn’t think we could top the joy that we saw in our first classroom, but I think we surpassed it in that room. They thanked the visitor by singing, “She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain”, which was amazing. My year 6 classroom is full of really wonderful and compassionate girls that felt very attached to Ilovea. Seeing their hugs goodbye, and watching them whisper little messages into her ear, I was so touched that it brought tears to my eyes.
Even though the bell had rung to go home, we weren’t done yet. Ilovea had purchased little presents for additional kids in the school, and handed them to the year 4 classroom and then the year 8 classroom.
The day had been so magical. I really feel like an angel visited our school. Ilovea was full of so much love and kindness that I feel as if I just adopted myself into her family. My students felt the same way too, and you can see it by the look in their eyes. They had found their role models.
How did this all happen?
Ilovea I have learned is a very proactive person. She organized with her friends to each sponsor a child in a classroom. Apparently word spread in California and people she had never met were delivering school supplies for my students. Carefully, the bags were put together to make sure they were as equal as can be, and had each child’s name on them. It was so amazing how someone could take the time to organize this. Ilovea, you are an angel!
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of those wonderful people in California who donated so much to my students. The smiles and joy you gave these children and their families are images that I probably will never forget. The students are carrying around the pictures of the families or letter that were sent from those of you that donated. Parents keep stopping me on the road to ask how they can get a hold of all of you to send a thank you as you all provided so many things, things that are not even available in Samoa, and others things that are completely out of the family budget. I don’t think I can thank all of you enough for everything. I heard some of you are interested in visiting, and you are more than welcome to come. Gaga’emalae is here with open arms and you are a part of our family here.
**I know this is my third time reposting this blog, I think this time it will be up for good!**