Service to others a gift to one’s self

October 27, 2015

Cutting a birthday cake with a bunch of new friends at an orphanage in Fiji was just one of the highlights of a school service trip during the holidays for Bingara lad Clayton Southwell.

Clayton Southwell made friends with Esther, Tsulu
and Mohammed while undertaking service work at St Christopher’s
Orphanage, Fiji, during the school holidays.

Clayton, of ‘Valley Heights’ Bingara was one of 12 students from The Armidale School who re-tiled a hallway and stairwell, made dormitory cupboards, dug up and planted a vegetable garden, bought and installed new mattresses at St Christopher’s Orphanage in Suva, run by the Sisters of Mercy.

“We softened and weeded the vegie garden and dug through sawdust, then planted it with vegies.

“The Sisters don’t have the money or the resources to be able to do these jobs,” he said. “It was great fun playing with our little buddies and doing stuff with them.”

Clayton said it was a birthday he would never forget – and what he learnt was something much more meaningful than a message on a birthday card.

“It was great to be able to help the Sisters at the Orphanage, and it taught me to stop focussing on myself and start focussing on other people. The children showed us you don’t have to have much to still be really happy.”

Groups from TAS have been going to Saint Christopher’s for more than a decade and the annual visit is one of several service trips the school undertakes to help students build a sense of service, gratitude, and resilience.