MSB7782_BenniesBuzz_NOV-2014_Single - page 10

Good Sam Schools’ Maintenance Skills in
High Demand in Kiribati
School maintenance staff are often called to be ‘jacks of all trades’, turning their hands
to a diverse range of tasks to keep their school functioning smoothly. Nowhere was this
term more apt than when Good Samaritan Schools recently sent maintenance team
members from two of their Colleges to the third world country, Kiribati, a collection of
33 low lying islands and atolls straddling the equator, half way between Fiji and Hawaii.
John Hody, Maintenance teammember fromMount St
Benedict College and John Bunce, Maintenance Supervisor
from St Patrick’s College, Campbelltown were approached to
form part of an Australian volunteer project team installing
solar panels to power the Good Samaritan Early Childhood
Centre and Convent in Abaokoro, North Tarawa.
The trip stemmed from an initiative of the Business
Managers at Good Samaritan Schools, exploring
opportunities for their College communities to make a
practical skill based contribution to the work of the Good
Samaritan Sisters in Kiribati.
Over the course of their two week stay, both Johns quickly
discovered that their skills were in high demand. In very
hot and humid conditions they worked with the project
team to install forty-two solar panels as well as repairing
down pipes and guttering and installing much needed fans
within the Early Childhood Centre and Convent. In addition
their ‘jack of all trades’ tag extended to fixing push bikes,
outboard motors and carpentry on boat floors for the local
people as word got around of their handy skills.
The challenges of building on a remote island in a third
world country were highlighted with exact supplies and
tools needed for their projects.
“There were no hardware stores nearby, even something
as basic as running out of screws could have meant that
the job could not be finished. We are very used to having
these basic items in ready supply at home or at least
being able to duck down to the local hardware store,”
said John Bunce.
And it was through their work that the two Johns recognised
that the small things in Kiribati have the capacity to make
the biggest impact.
John Bunce noted, “We left all of our tools and items from
our luggage behind giving them to the local people. The power
tools especially will make such a difference to essential tasks
on the islands.”
With this in mind, both men have resolved to put together
some basic toolkits to send over for the Kiribati people
including hand tools like chisels and levels.
John Hody at the Cultural Welcoming Ceremony
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November 2014
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