International Bulletin - Fall 1997
Report on Mission to the Samoas and Hawaii
The plan to visit the Samoas and Hawaii was initiated in the hope that being with the chapters in these places would stimulate their interest in the forthcoming conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Also as Vice President responsible for the development of PPSEAWA in the Pacific I felt a responsibility to encourage the Pacific Chapters in their plans and programs.
Before beginning I made many phone calls to the Samoas and Hawaii to assess their interest in my visit and to find the right times for me to be with them. Nevertheless, because I feel deeply about the value of NGO's in general and Pan Pacific in particular I went on my sojourn in the hope that I could "foster understanding and peace" and help find new ways of making the words: "To develop co-operation among women for the development of social, economic and cultural conditions" real (to quote from our constitution). The way ahead was full of challenges!
On the Sunday of my four day visit to American Samoa I was invited to a Mother's Day celebration at the "Fono" organized by the National Council of Women. Though the service was all in Samoan, I was welcomed in English by Mrs. Achica as the International Vice President of PPSEAWA. It was a beautiful service and all the women looked enchanting in white dresses and hats.
We had one meeting in Pago Pago which Repeka Howland had organized. As always she had done this very well. I was introduced to the new officers and this in itself was heartening for it showed Pan Pacific was still alive! There was much discussion about the conference and my contribution was encouragement to attend. The problem of course was finance! In the end it seemed there would be a small delegation. I feel quite strongly that chapters in the Pacific need encouragement and new direction every now and then. This fact became even more clear when I visited Western Samoa.
The first meeting was not well attended and I felt the President needed support and appreciation for the fact she had kept PPSEAWA alive! Once more there was much discussion on the forthcoming conference and who could attend. There was a feeling of appreciation for the extra ticket being supplied to each chapter, for again finance was the challenge.
A few days later an evening function was held at the home of the president, Dr. Vio Annandale and that was an overwhelming success! Many members attended, and that was heartening in view of the fact there was almost no branch when I visited Samoa after the conference in Tonga. Therefore I spoke of the appreciation I felt for the fact that Vio had not only built the chapter from ashes, but had kept it moving well through the seminar in 1996 and now into a forum for young people. There was a great deal of interest shown in the conference in Malaysia and there would be a small delegation from Samoa.
Though being in Honolulu was different to the Samoas and a delegation seemed to be well into the planning stages for the conference there was something each branch had in common: They all needed to be re-vitalized with encouragement and helped "to see with new eyes". An eye opening piece of philosophy from Proust that I used in my paper for the annual general meeting in Honolulu. "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands - but in seeing with new eyes!"
The annual general meeting was held on 24th May and this was a very valuable occasion and became the high light of the venture I was on. I had prepared a paper specially for this function. When my presentation was finished I was deeply touched that their oldest member, Bea Krause, asked that my paper entitled "Hope for: Inspiration for: PPSEAWA" be printed and distributed not only to the Honolulu chapter but to all chapters!*
I felt enriched and rewarded for I did want so much to reach their hearts. The hope was to seek for insights in the words of our constitution and try to determine how Pan Pacific can better empower its members and its branches and ultimately our organization to participate in the changing global process toward PEACE.
The arena of the Pacific and rim lands of Asia will be of great future significance in the evolving global order, but we need to realize that the development of strategies for women quite simply depends on the extent to which we make contact with women at every level of society and their responsiveness to the programs we present. Ultimately we need to realize there is a convergence of common interests in the women of the Pacific and South East Asia. The challenge for us is to bring the women and their interests together, and Pan Pacific can do that.
* Paddy Walker's paper will be distributed as suggested, by mail.
Last Modified: June 05, 2010