Could any of the USP-Laucala contributors or students furnish me (my email:email@example.com) with the address of the Laucala SISA president's address? I would like to submit to him/her my 2-cents thoughts for a possible SISA submission to SIG, for the following reasons:
1. I was part of the 2002-2003 SISA advisory group (John Usuramo was also a member) which deliberated on the same matter during the Selina-Daoga regime;
2. I was the person who during Samson Faisi's reign who met with the SIG team headed by Sir George Lepping in December 2003 ( The SISA president left after just about 5 mins into that meeting for a gospel singing tour to the Western province! Not to mention none of his executive are around in Honiara);
3. I was James Iroga's "office boy" during the Oct-Dec 2001 period when SIG thought it cannot afford to send students to USP; and
4. My recent participation in students' issues include been a member of SIG screening committee for JOCV training (2006-2007), and was Foreign Affairs representative (in NTC special committee) on sending our medical students to Cuba.
I don't profess to have the answers to an issue that arguably cannot be eradicated, but confined. However, I would like to think maybe my 2-cents contribution would be of some help at a time SISA need counsel more than anything else.
In reading from comments made so far, there is nothing immaterial on the opinions contributors have contributed so far, although I have concern on the probability that such good views may not be submitted to the right student body: SISA.
Finally current USP students are not alone (and those ahead), it was really tough too during my 2002 - 2004 years at USP (not that my three years [1999-2001] at the USP centre in Honiara are any less tough). At one time, SI students are been provided meals during weekends that some folks are so ashamed to partake. Personally, I need to study with a content stomach and had no problem with such free meals! I remember too there were students who arrived 6 weeks into a second semester. Actually, the option proposed by the SISA president (Mr. Faisi) then and his executive was for students to return home. A view I did not support as I wanted a degree so much. We had a hell of a time too, but the goal ahead and its glories have made a lot of us determined that we will survive.
My weekends living on noodles, tea, tuna and crackers are still clear in my memory. That flight we took back to Honiara without our exam results made known to us is still with me, and will be stories to relay to my children when they attend USP in the years ahead. All the other USP students knew our plight, and we were continually been asked questions that makes one feeling so low. Simply put, I felt bad that my government has defaulted on my education, but I cannot let my pride as a Solomon Islander to be tarnished. I am also aware SIG was going through hard times.
In retrospect, every time I am on a flight for meetings to other countries in the name of SI, I am so grateful to SIG for the USP undergraduate training as there is just no other way my poor father can afford an alternative to such an SIG opportunity. I recalled once I was on my way to India and the sun was rising upon Japan, I looked out the window and this thought came to me: I wouldn't be where I am now if I did not survive USP. I look back now with satisfaction with a lesson learned from my USP years: 'tough times never last, tough people do.'
USP students and I: my 2-cents
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of George Hoa'au and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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