Welcoming remarks were presented by Dr. Viopapa Annandale, President of PPSEAWA International, followed by Honorable Fiame Mataafa, Minister of Education of Samoa, who is the daughter of our Fataui Mataafa. The keynote address was delivered by Tuala Tiresa Mialietoa, a patron of PPSEAWA Samoa. There were three US participants: Lillian Jasko, Ann Aurelius and myself.
The Workshop, attended by representatives from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Hawaii, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand Tonga, USA and Samoa, focused on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of the United Nations. The first session focused on generating projects for rural women and empowering women through micro-finance and micro-banking. The next day, we went to several villages and saw the plan in action and its results. It was a most enlightening.
In the village of Poutasi from which Viopapa's family comes, we received a most honored welcome. When the village chiefs learned we were coming they rolled out the red carpet (in Samoa it would be tapa cloth) for us. They honored us with a formal kava welcoming ceremony in the main fale that included formal orations and exchange of traditional gifts. Viopapa, as the leader, received a whole roasted pig and a huge mat, while each of the Council members were given, in a woven basket, a roasted chicken and a variety of fruits. The PPSEAWA flag was raised above the fale.
The Council primarily worked on arrangements for the next PPSEAWA International Conference which will be in Auckland, New Zealand, March 21-27, 2007. Registration fees are NZ$ $400, approximately US$256.00. There will be several options for accommodations. Details are being worked out and registration forms should be ready by the end of summer 2006.