I left Samoa for Hawaii on Sunday while the whole country awaited the opening of the Pacific Games.
I had to admit that I was sad to be apart from my loving husband and family for a while, and missed out on the much anticipated Pacific Games. However, deep inside me, I was nervous, excited, looking forward, you name it; I wanted to see the bigger world out here. And I love what I’ve seen.
I travelled through Auckland then to Honolulu. As part of the sponsorship by the US Embassy Apia, I am staying at the Lincoln Hall at the University of Hawaii Manoa. Yes, here is a nofotanewoman who earns a living from weaving plastic trash into bags, enjoying life of a University student. But who said dreams can’t come true.
Since I arrived on 7thJuly as a participant to the Changing Faces Women’s Leadership Seminarcoordinated by the East-West Centre of the University of Hawaii, I have never studied harder in my whole life.
I am struggling to keep up with the language associated with being a business woman, but hey, I am one of these women now.
I’ve learnt to draw up my own Action Plan; I’ve conquered my fear of public speaking when I did a power point presentation as required for all the participants. I’ve been doing homework every night to build myself up as a leader, a mentor, a business woman. And I am enjoying the experience while smiling my way through it all. Another fellow participant also from Samoa, Mrs. Fiona Ey of the Clarke Ey Koria Lawyers can vouch for that.
I will return to Samoa on Sunday, 20thJuly being a member of the Changing Faces Women’s Leaders program. I know that with the money I’ve earned from selling a variety of woven products, I am able to support my family; but with the knowledge and ideas I’ve learnt from this Seminar, these will go a long way in supporting the sustainability of being a self-employed nofotanewoman.
One take home lesson worth noting is the importance of helping other women along. As such, I am looking forward to working with the Samoa Victim Support Group, the US Embassy in Apia and the Nofotane women, to continue the momentum of the Nofotane Project, which gave us a voice and enabled us to participate in family and community matters.
Look at me now; I am one proud nofotanewoman, a living testimony of a return on investing in women’s economic empowerment. Mahalo nui!