Posted by Tina Dalliston & Peter Smith
on 27 November 2019
We are very grateful to have to participated in the twinning program with PNG 2019.
We were part of a group of four teachers (including Ranita Spencer and Fusi Puleiku) who travelled from New Zealand to Papua New Guinea during the New Zealand school term break. This was Tina's first visit to PNG and Peter's fourth. We spent our time at La Salle Technical College in Hohola, a co-ed school of around 750 students aged between 16 and 28.
The school continues to flourish. At the time of our visit Br Garry Coyte was acting Principal and the deputies were Alice Kalama and Penina Alesa. The students were just as welcoming and delightful as previous visits.
Peter taught Maths to grade 9 and 11 students and some computing to grade 11, and Tina taught English to grades 9 and 11. Tina also spent some time with the hospitality students and teachers. The class numbers are large by comparison to NZ class numbers, sometimes 40 per class. The students are really keen and eager to learn. We really enjoyed our classes; the students have such a happy and positive disposition and we had a lot of fun, and for some classes, Peter had time to teach some Maori waiata.
As well as teaching in the classroom, we were able to support some individual students who sought out extra help as they prepared for exams. Thanks to the generosity of many people back in New Zealand we were able to gift a huge supply of basic stationery items to individual students.
We also saw first hand and were able to help with the great work being done by the Lasallian volunteers in running the "breakfast club". The breakfast club provides over 120 meals for students who otherwise would have very little to eat. The meals are basic and funds limited, but again owing to the generosity of donors in New Zealand, we were able to supply a week's worth of breakfast ingredients.
Tina says that the highlights for her were living in community with the brothers, and teaching girls (our school, Francis Douglas is all boys). She loved seeing the ownership that all students felt for their school, and their active involvement in maintaining high standards, both in appearance of the school grounds and how the students presented themselves, as well as their behaviour.
For Peter the highlights included the awesome students and their beautiful singing. They love music. To hear the natural harmonizing and graceful tones during the Patron class assemblies and around the school was fantastic. I just had to stop and listen.
To live in community with and to work alongside a dedicated group of Brothers, is an inspiring and uplifting experience. They clearly make a real difference in the lives of the students in so many ways. To have the opportunity to join them in their work makes us proud to be part of the Lasallian family. It feels like home though a bit hotter and more humid.
We're ready to go back tomorrow! For us, being at La Salle Tech, was an experience which we will always cherish.
This opportunity would not have occurred had it not been with the help of others. Many thanks to the NZMAC, Br Sir Pat Lynch, Kane Raukura and our Principal Martin Chamberlain for enabling and supporting the program once again. Many thanks too, to the Brothers community in PNG, for being superb hosts, welcoming us into the community and going out of their way to help when needed.
Live Jesus in our hearts
Peter Smith, Tina Dalliston.