Wednesday, 28 November 2007 9:33 AM

Solomons Youth Group Bring Traditions to GBR

Residents of RAMSI base, GBR, were treated to a variety of Solomon Islands traditions and cultures during a visit from local theatre group Dance with the Devil.

Even the showery conditions did not deter the 100 or so members of the Participating Police Force, along with Tongan and Australian Military personnel, attending the concert held at the GBR Police Base last night.

Dance with the Devil is a local theatre group made up of young Solomon Islanders ranging in age from nine years to 25 years. They come from all provinces so were able to showcase traditions and cultures from a whole of country perspective.

The PPF hosted a BBQ for the 25 performers prior to the show.

Group coordinator, Lyn Wagapu, said it was a fantastic opportunity for the children to show the PPF Solomon Islands traditions and cultures first hand and to get to meet the PPF.

"The children were very excited about it, especially the younger ones. I think it was a bit daunting for them, knowing they were going to perform for an audience made up of police officers. But the children found that they were ordinary people who were very keen to see and hear our traditional dancing and chants," Miss Wagapu said.

PPF officers undergo a six weeks training program prior to being deployed to Solomon Islands, a large percentage of the training focuses on cultural awareness to prepare the officers for life in Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands Police Officers travel to Australia and spend up to six weeks with each group to help with the cultural awareness aspects of the training.

Commander PPF, Denis McDermott, said it was a great way to top off the training that the PPF undertake.

"This was a great experience for the PPF, especially those who have just arrived for the first time in Solomon Islands," he said.

"We really appreciate what we are taught in Australia, especially the input from the Solomon Islands Police, but a night such as this where the children actually came out and performed their traditional songs and dance was truly magnificent. I cannot thank the children enough for coming out to GBR and showing the PPF what the traditions and cultures are about in person."

"This sort of activity also goes a long way to forming a strong community bond between the police and the young people of the Solomon Islands," Commander McDermott said after the show.