U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Pays Visit To Samoa

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Crew members provide community service work

By Siala Lova

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, August 7, 2014) – Crew members from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Rush paid a visit to the Samoa Victim Support Group’s House of Hope on Thursday morning to build them a new vegetable garden.

In partnership with Soil Health Pacific, the crew members were able to nearly double the size of the existing garden. The team built a new pig fence with durable steel posts, and stocked the garden with cabbage, egg plants, cucumbers, capsicum, tomatoes, and beans CGC Rush Commanding Officer Dante Vinciguerra said it was a privilege for him and his crew to help out at the House of Hope.

"Community service projects like this are just as beneficial and enriching to us as it is to the recipients," he said.

The garden will now be a regular source of fresh vegetables for the 50-plus children who live at the shelter. It will also be a place of learning for the older children at the shelter, as they will be responsible for care and maintenance of the garden.

As part of their visit, the Coast Guard also donated fifteen boxes of hygiene supplies to the shelter, filled with much needed items such as mouthwash, soap, baby wipes and wash, panty liners, dental floss, and band aids.

The U.S. Embassy was also on hand to donate a box of children’s books to the shelter on behalf of the Samoa Passage research scientists, known as the Wave Chasers, who visited Samoa earlier this year and spent time with the SVSG children.

The new Apia Harbor beachfront was packed Wednesday afternoon with the usual crowd of local youth playing on the beach and outrigger canoe paddlers doing their daily training, but the evening had a few more palagis on the waterfront than normal.

Yesterday, the Crew members tried out paddling with local outrigger canoe club Nafanua in Apia Harbor.

"It was great to be able to mix it up with a local club. For all of us, this was our first time in a six-man outrigger canoe. It’s quite a workout," Officer Storebeck said.

For Nafanua, this was great exposure as they prepare for their annual Alo Paopao Festival, which is a week full of canoe races and festivities the week of September 15th. Over a dozen international teams will be in Samoa that week to compete in this sport that has its roots in traditional Polynesian voyaging and fishing expeditions.

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