Success demonstrates community spirit in Samoa

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Sarah West (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): Apia, Samoa

Topic(s): HMAS Success (OR 304), Indo-Pacific Endeavour

Members of the ship's company of HMAS Success lend a hand cleaning a youth centre during a visit to Apia, Samoa as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
Members of the ship's company of HMAS Success lend a hand cleaning a youth centre during a visit to Apia, Samoa as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018.

The team onboard HMAS Success have demonstrated the ship’s philanthropic culture while in Samoa for Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018

Having already pitched in to help with several community projects in Vanuatu a week earlier, as well as delivering Australian Aid stores to Luganville, the ship’s company again rolled up its sleeves to help their friends in the Pacific. 

First, ‘Team Success’ got their hands dirty at the Samoa Family Health Association Youth Drop-in Centre, which is undergoing a major expansion funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Non-Government Organisation provides sexual and reproductive health, family planning and education services to more than 50 patients a day, and is the only centre of its kind in Samoa.

The sailors removed substantial amounts of rubbish from the construction site and assisted with gardening work.

Australian Acting High Commissioner to Samoa, Her Excellency Amanda Jewell said the ship’s company got the job done in a fittingly Samoan way.

“Community is really important here in Samoa,” she said.

“It has been very positive for our bilateral relationship that our Samoan partners have been able to see Australians come in and work in way that demonstrates a similar sense of community.”

The Director of the Samoa Family Health Association Youth Drop-in Centre, Ms Liai Iosefa-Silitia said the work completed by the ship’s company in just one day was incredibly significant. 

“Today has been a very fantastic day for our association.

“We only have a handful of staff and a few volunteers, so we are limited in what we are able to do.

“We are so very thankful and grateful to the boys and girls of the Australian Navy, because we have wanted to do this work for a long time, but didn’t know how we could get it done, or when.

“But now it is done, in a very short time. These beautiful people have done a lot for us,” Ms Iosefa-Silitia said.

The following day in sweltering humidity, volunteers from ship’s company again formed a work party to paint the roof awning at the Mapuifagalele Haven for Elders, the only aged care facility in Samoa. 

Working to the sound of residents chanting the rosary, the sailors and officers worked until the awning looked brand new.

Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, who was visiting Samoa for key leadership engagement as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour, also picked up a paint brush and pitched in.

Many hands made light work and the job was done in four hours, led by Success’ resident painting expert, Able Seaman Communications and Information Systems sailor Leo Ransom and Project Manager, Chaplain Andrew Thornburn.