Paul Steinmetz view on the trip to Guam with the rugby and PPDVP group

Paul Steinmetz view on the trip to Guam:

I could understand how taking 4 professional rugby players to Guam would help develop what is a relatively new sport to the little Island of Guam, but I had some serious reservations about how this would all link into the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Program”.  This was just one of the questions I had as we boarded our flight to Guam via Tokyo.

After the 20 Hrs of travel we finally landed in Guam and were rewarded with just 4hrs of sleep. Our first formal engagement was with the First Lady( Christine Calvo ).She epitomised the people of Guam, friendly and genuinely delighted with the message that we would be bestowing upon the people of Guam. She was an avid rugby fan having played the game herself and was the founder of her own charity with ties to Domestic Violence. She would prove to be our strongest promoter and was never far away during our travels, this in itself just added to the hype and media interest created by our visit.

After the first day it was very clear that the interest created through having professional athletes delivering such a serious message was a stroke of genius.

Mark Reddish and Liaki Moli, both 6’6 and 6’7 respectively, brought with them a sense of awe as soon as we walked into the schools and when they demonstrated with the students what it feels like to take part in a lineout( the volunteer being that of the lifted) they were easily a captivated audience.  We all had our chance to speak and each of us had varying messages.  While some spoke of family and what that meant to them other members of the group spoke of the domestic violence that they had to endure in their own upbringing. To hear these stories being told in such a raw and candid manner was for some too much to handle.

During a University lecture one lady removed herself in tears in order to report a situation where she was scared for her life due to an abusive partner.  Our talk had prompted her into action and as such a plan would be put in place to ensure her safety. This was just the start of what we would understand to be an increase of reporting of domestic violence during our stay.

From youth centres, schools and universities to correctional facilities, radio and TV appearances the reach over the 7-8 days to the people of Guam is somewhat staggering.  Their gratitude was relentless and the New Zealand Police with the New Zealand Rugby Union should be very proud of what they are providing to these Islands under the Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Program

Personally it gives one the chance to reflect on what’s important in life, to look at the importance of family and to get great satisfaction that the efforts made over a very busy week will change the lives of many in Guam.  

Thanks to Kim, Soni and Steve for helping develop such a meaningful and rewarding trip.


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