“Samoa, We On!” The rallying cry from the Pacific Games 2019 Organising Committee has pulled together the entire country to do what the Committee calls “the unimaginable - organising the 16th Pacific Games in 14 months.”

With an expected 5000 delegates representing 24 countries in 27 sports, it was a huge ask for Samoa to take on hosting after Tonga, the original host, withdrew in early 2017 due to the cost.

VSA recruited and sent six volunteers in record time to work with the Office of the Pacific Games. They’re supporting the Office for seven months, having started in February, then seeing the Games through July 7-20.

Rachel Milroy, who’s volunteering as Games Office Transport Coordinator, says a big part of the volunteers’ work will be ensuring that the experience of organising the Games is captured: “There are lots of people with the knowledge, but it’s in their head,” she says. “I’m trying to get all this on paper and leave a reference guide for transport so for future events in Samoa there’ll already be plans in place.”

Not content with putting on a great Games, the Committee has also committed to “greening the Games”, looking at alternatives to single-use plastic at events and using it as an opportunity to get schools involved. Schools have “adopted” competing countries in order to learn about different Pacific cultures and the environment. New Zealand’s adoptive guardians, the students at Sala’ilua Primary School on the big island, Savai’i, are recycling plastic containers as planters to green their school and community. Principal Tapuai Filipo told the Games’ news team that “You take care of the environment, it will take care of you. It’s become one of the core aspects we are trying to develop in families.”

Our volunteers are relishing the challenge: Rachel says “The job description could’ve been written with me in mind - I really want to share my knowledge and help in any way I can on an event that is very significant to the people of Samoa.”

NETBALL WORKER A2

Sopolemalama Tuitama Alsop, Samoan athlete prepares for the games. Photo credit: Benjamin Bowies

The article was part of VSA's free magazine Vista 2019. If you'd like to receive a free print copy of Vista, click here: http://bit.ly/Vista2019