American Samoa: Gov. Togiola receives books and supplies for tsunami-affected schools from DOI employees
Interior Field Representative in American Samoa, Lydia Faleafine-Nomura, on behalf of Secretary Ken Salazar and Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs Tony Babauta, presented to Governor Togiola a thousand pounds of books and school supplies for distribution to the students of the schools that were damaged by the September 29, 2009 tsunami.
"Two days after the tsunami, Assistant Secretary Anthony Babauta and Office of Insular Affairs Director Nikolao Pula visited the Territory and personally witnessed the devastation. Assistant Secretary Babauta expressed grave concern with the extensive damages to some of the Territory's schools and the state of education for the children of these schools," said Mrs. Faleafine Nomura. "Upon his return to D.C., he personally relayed to Secretary Salazar the state of affairs for American Samoa and his desire to do something for the children. He felt the best way to help was to provide the school children with the books and school supplies they needed to continue their education."
In her presentation, Mrs. Faleafine-Nomura said with DOI Secretary Salazar's consent, a memorandum was issued to all employees of the Department of the Interior to donate to the book and school supply project.
"So, Governor Togiola, the culmination of that book drive and the efforts of the staff of DOI and the Office of Insular Affairs at the Department of the Interior has resulted in this gift of books and school supplies for the children in American Samoa,' said Mrs. Faleafine-Nomura."Assistant Secretary Babauta has asked me to personally present the boxes to you, Governor Togiola, for distribution to the schools. This donation is made with love from the Office of Insular Affairs and the employees of the entire Department of the Interior."
Governor Togiola was delighted in accepting the gift of 26 boxes of books and school supplies, which included 700 storybooks, 150 notebooks, 3000 pencils, 500 pens, 100 packets of line paper, 50 reams of paper, 70 folders, 75 binders, 20 backpacks plus crayons and pencil cases.
"I wish to express the sincere gratitude of the people and government of American Samoa to Interior Secretary Salazar, Assistant Secretary Babauta, Office of Insular Affairs Director Nikolao Pula, and the wonderful employees of the Department of the Interior, for the show of love and support for our students and our schools who continue their recovery efforts from that tragic day in 2009," said Governor Togiola. "This marvelous, meaningful and generous gift is welcome assistance in rebuilding the resources of our schools that was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami, and these books will be accessible to our young students as we continue to teach the joys and adventures of reading."
Governor Togiola also offered special thanks for the school supplies that were included in the boxes of books, which are all necessities in the classroom.
"Thank you for the school supplies for the children. We are very happy that the employees at DOI did this for the kids, it makes us very glad that you have helped out in a very big way, and we applaud you all for your compassion," said Governor Togiola. "Your gift of love -the books and school supplies- will greatly benefit our students and our schools and I am happy to pass it on to our Department of Education to distribute it evenly to our eight tsunami-affected elementary schools. Fa'afetai tele."
Governor Togiola said the schools are Taputapu (Poloa), Alataua Lua (Se'etaga), Le'atele (Fagasa), Mauga o Alava (Vatia), Matatula (Tula), Olomoana (Aoa), Afono and Masefau.
Also attending the presentation was DOI Field Office staffer Tapuitea McMullin, U.S. National Park Service (NPS) Superintendent Mike Reynolds and his staff. NPS is a bureau of DOI.