The canoes are done!
Sixteen beautiful hand-carved works of art.
Now all the kids of the village can get to school in Falese’ela across Lefaga Bay, and the parents can paddle across to the bus stop if they need to go to Apia for work or for supplies.
Once the canoes were carved and finished it was pretty quick work to attach the outriggers and paint them.
Check out Tuilagi’s shirt and then guess who chose the colors for the boats.
The MicroAid stencil was made using old X-rays. Tuilagi’s brother-in-law, Filaniko, knows a doctor at the hospital in Apia, so he was able to get them for free.
The MicroAid fleet in dry dock. Some of the numbers might not be quite right. (I kinda like it better that way.)
The dedication celebration was a big day for the village.
High chiefs, honored guests, and all the village came out for the ribbon cutting by Aga, Rev. Fepai’s wife.
The christening with a coconut by the retired Rev. Amiga.
Tuilagui made a beautiful speech thanking us—the MicroAid donors—and everyone who worked so tirelessly on the project… so did I, but, alas, I didn’t hand my camera to anyone to photograph it..
After the formalities, all the kids piled into the canoes for a patriotic test drive across the bay and a race back to the village.
As the party wound down, families paddled home in their new vehicles. You could tell the pride of ownership and see them reveling in that new-canoe smell.
One downside: there will now be rush-hour traffic as everyone tries to get to school and work on time. The good news is that all the families will qualify for the canoe-pool lane.
To see a photo recap of the canoe-building process, please go to “Completed Projects.”
Thanks for all the support.