Hope from the Ashes of Conflict

 

22 November 2013 | General Interest

Hope from the Ashes of Conflict

 

Punaoa Technical School and Don Bosco Technical Centre joined together for a day of fun, friendship and reconciliation. The combined gathering of staff and students from the two schools was held at Don Bosco and designed to foster closer collaboration between the two schools and greater friendship between students. The Reconciliation Day, a joint initiative of the two principals, Reverend Uale of Punaoa and Father Chris of Don Bosco, was in response to conflict between groups from the two schools at the bus exchange earlier this year.

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The day commenced with a prayer service led by Third Year Students from Don Bosco. A traditional “kava ceremony” welcoming the guests followed, including exchanges of greetings and the drinking of kava. Each of the Principals addressed the combined gathering, emphasising that it was God’s will that all people should live in peace. In keeping with Samoan custom, each group presented a number of songs and dances to entertain the gathering.

After a short break the fun began with a series of games including musical chairs, three legged races, balloon relays and other fun games. Rather than Punaoa and Don Bosco competing against each other, students from both schools formed together in four teams. It was very much a case of working together rather than against each other. Another Samoan tradition followed after the games: food – a shared meal to consolidate the sharing of prayer, entertainment, games, fun and friendship. The success of the day was obvious on the smiling faces of all, and the unanimous appeal of all for the gathering to be repeated.

From the ashes of conflict the seed of reconciliation was planted and it has flowered into hope, with all convinced that love and friendship are a better alternative to conflict and division.

The Lamua o Punaoa is a Methodist technical school located in Faleula, very close to their flagship Wesley College. The two-year coeducational programmes at Punaoa include wood, metal, food technology and dress-making.
 

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