The Start of a Beautiful Friendship
Main Image: Willie Liebenberg, Samuel Proudlove, Bridie Shooter, Grace McCarthy and David Proudlove
Mr David Proudlove
Head of Senior School
During the last week of Term 3, a small but intrepid group of SCOTS PGC students, staff and our resident expert and parent, Kerry McCarthy, ventured to Malaita Province in the Solomon Islands to spend time in Baesango village.
The trip was a fantastic opportunity for our students and the local children to immerse in a cultural exchange through the sharing of daily tasks and by participating in school, social, sporting and musical activities.
The experience was made possible thanks to the incredible bond Kerry and her husband Simon have developed with the people of Baesango, through their involvement with the Australian Government’s Seasonal Workers program.
Together, with the community of Clifton where their farm is situated, they have welcomed more than a dozen hard-working men and women from the Pacific Islands in recent years for seasonal work.
They’ve also made the journey across to the village – a journey in itself – with two flights, a two hour bus ride over rough terrain and an hour or so boat trip (or depending on water levels a very long walk), required to reach the remote location.
Seeing the value their own children gained from this trip, Kerry and Simon suggested the experience may be of wider benefit to other students at the school.
Since that time, we’ve run a number of small fundraisers to support the village’s local school – known as ‘One One Primary School’ – donating uniforms and other items. The school supports children from across the province from as young as four through to 14. Many travel significant distances to attend and for some, the school is their only access to education.
When first arriving at the school, our party of six was welcomed in grand style with garlands of orchids and palm leaves and necklaces made from seashells, a traditional form of currency in the Malaita Province. The genuine warmth of this welcome, coupled with the sheer joy of meeting new people who had travelled so far to spend time with them, made us all quite emotional.
These types of experiences are truly transformational and our intention is to have more students, parents and members from the SCOTS PGC community involved next year as we continue to strengthen our relationship with the village.
One One’s School Captain, Samson, prepared a beautiful speech for us (shared below) and delivered it flawlessly in front of the entire school community, around 250 children, all squashed into a classroom with no floorboards or windows. Reading his words only reinforces our desire to build a strong friendship with these lovely people.
From Samson –
On behalf of One One Primary School, I am privileged with much honour to present my short speech.
This school occasion is very special and unique. One of its kind to be experienced by the school.
Due to the remoteness of our small and humble school, we do not familiarise ourselves in having friends and partnerships with people from other parts of the world.
Hence this morning we are very fortunate to have you friends from SCOTS PGC College with us on this occasion.
Our visiting friends, you present us in our school with the first ever moment in history to receive a helping hand from friends from another country in one way or the other.
Because of the remoteness of our poor school we lack in access to things to help us go forward.
This morning I am very honoured and pleased to share our difficulties in learning with you.
Firstly, with regards to resources, we often find them to be few in number.
Secondly, our classrooms and furniture may be found to be unsuitable for activities.
Lastly, most years we always have fewer teachers in school than we should, also they are untrained, due to the location of the school.
Finally, we find it difficult to cope with the new technology as there is no access to useful resources such as computers and laptops.
Once again, thank you one and all.
Samson, Year 6