Samoan children thrilled by Navy visit

2 May 2024

The crew of HMAS Stuart recently gave joy and much-needed maintenance to a Samoan preschool while on a Pacific regional presence deployment.

When the ship arrived in Apia for the final international port visit of its deployment, a contingent of crew members volunteered to engage with the local community to assist where they could and strengthen international relations between Australia and Samoa.

The detachment visited the Missionary Infant Preschool to spend time with the children and provide maintenance support.  

Stuart’s crew improved school safety by fixing gutters, clearing away vegetation and by disposing of rubbish and old building materials. The crew also applied fresh paint to a wall that had deteriorated due to blocked drains.

The preschool provides a secure and exciting environment for 117 children aged between two-and-a-half and five years to learn and grow.

The visit by Stuart’s crew was welcomed by staff and students, including vice principal Sister Julia Leapai, who said the children were happy and excited about the visit.  

As well as the maintenance work, Stuart’s crew spent time with the children, playing games and sports with their newly donated sporting equipment. School staff, students and Stuart’s crew passed balls, played games, sang songs and danced together.

Seaman Shoshana Olson was among those who attended and helped on the day.

“The visit to the school was one of the highlights of my deployment. I really enjoyed the opportunity to come out, help around the school and meet and spend time playing with the children,” Seaman Olson said.

Sister Leapai said the children and teachers were appreciative of the visit as it allowed the children to experience something different outside their normal school day routine.

The children were excited when they saw the crew of Stuart arrive and hoped it would not be the last visit by the ADF.

The visit to the Missionary Infant Preschool was just one of the many activities undertaken with the Samoan community while Stuart was alongside in the port of Apia, Samoa.

Stuart has since returned to Australia following its Pacific deployment, passing through Fleet Base East as a logistical and respite visit prior to its final leg of deployment to return to its home port of Fleet Base West.



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