It has been an amazing week in Samoa. I have spent a good five days in Poutasi Village watching the students learn deeply about themselves, employability skill development and being challenged by diverse relationships while they get to know the locals and each other. This has all occurred while being in constant awe of the surrounding nature and Poutasi’s ocean views.
There is a lot of emphasis on the environment, social enterprise, alternative energy, regarding the projects that students are being involved in. For example, Poutasi Village has an alternative way of making gas, which uses water and compost.
This is often difficult for our students when their disciplines are Psychology for example. However, the group are very adaptable and flexible, taking in the new learning as a journey and unique experience. There is a very important need for Psychology services to be made available for all Samoans. Mental Health and well being isn’t a common topic but one where going deeper into community members’ lives and stories reveals a need for this type of service. I am challenged by my Western point of view and I am now discovering alternative ways to look at the same issue and that my way is not necessarily the right way but one way. A strong community, friendly smiles, a welcoming way and being connected to nature are just some of the constant positive Psychology I have noticed in Poutasi.
Written by Dr Rachael Hains-Wesson