The small committee set up to plan activities for the Peace Week met weekly for several weeks to ensure a memorable event. Soroptomists International of Samoa asked to link up with PPSEAWA in a joint venture.
Lead up activities included media coverage of the essay and poster competitions with advertisements over radio and newspapers and flyers to as many schools as could be reached in the limited time available. Poster competition targeted 5-12 year olds and the essay competition the 13-18 age group. Closing date for entries was 17 September to allow judges sufficient time to come up winners in time for International Peace Day, 21 September.
Septmeber 15. A media release kick started Peace Week. Announcements over radio and newspapers continued throughout the week, culminating in the publication of the PPSEAWA Peace statement on International Peace Day.
September 18. A Walk for Peace from the Apia Yacht Club to Aggie Grey’s Hotel started in the cool of the morning and proceeded along the seawall led by a smartly and appropriately-clad, “Pied Piper” playing the Scottish pipes. It was a touching sight to see young and old, some in wheelchairs, chatting happily together, waving brightly coloured balloons and blue buckets to gather the monetary donations from onlookers lining the streets. Many wore blue T-shirts printed with “I Walk for Peace.” on the back. On the return journey some marchers hit the shops and raised quite generous amounts from shopkeepers, and from a few folks who were enjoying a peaceful breakfast! A blue-painted wheelbarrow carrying the cutest little baby smiling sweetly and waving its chubby little arms attracted much attention – and donations! At the halfway mark, thirsty marchers were treated to fresh, cold coconuts and at journey’s end a sausage sizzle!
September 19. Combined churches service was held at the Bahai Temple at Tiapapapata. Several of the PPSEAWA members joined in the many readings of peace messages as is the Bahai tradition. A peaceful and surreal experience indeed.
September 20. Interviews were held with the winners of the 3 best essays for a final decision. Miss Dora Tuiletufuga from Leifiifi College was the chosen winner and along with that the prestigious title of PPSEAWA Samoa, Youth Peace Ambassador and the honour of having her school fees paid for the rest of her schooling, courtesy of PPSEAWA USA.
September 21. International Day of Peace and the highlight of the week! Some local newspapers carried the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan’s, Peace Message as well as PPSEAWA’s.
A cocktail function was held in the evening at the Hotel Millenia at Sogi. Those attending included the Chief Justice Patu Sapolu and Mrs. Sapolu; Ms Edna Tait, Regional Head of Mission, UNESCO; and the Minister of Education, Fiame Naomi Mataafa.
Viopapa Annandale, President of PPSEAWA International and of Samoa, presented the PPSEAWA Peace Statement to Fiame Naomi who received it on behalf of the Government. A particularly moving feature of the evening that captured many an imagination was the candle- burning ritual. A table was beautifully set up, covered in white and festooned with flowers, incense and burning oils to create a peaceful atmosphere and guests invited to burn a candle for peace – most of them did just that! Another highlight of the evening was the announcement of the new Youth Peace Ambassador, who proudly read out her winning essay. The Peace songs composed by former PPSEAWA Peace Ambassador, Eleitino Paddy Walker was played throughout the evening.
September 28. Following the judging of the poster competition, 5 posters were chosen for prizes; the top three and 2 for highly commended effort. A prize-giving ceremony was held at the Nelson Memorial Library, in central Apia, where all the posters were displayed. President, Viopapa, was joined by Mr Mali Voi of UNESCO (which made a monetary donation towards our initiatives) in handing out the monetary prizes. The smiling faces of the children and their proud parents was a heart-warming sight. And the media did us proud with the resulting coverage of this successful event. A stunning photograph of the winners graced the front page of the Samoa Observer the following day! All the posters will eventually be mounted and displayed at prominent public venues.
All in all a very successful International Peace Week for PPSEAWA Samoa. Malo lava le galulue faatasi to all those who worked hard to make that a reality!