Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Saturday, July 23, 2011

WISE (Women in Sustainable Enterprise)

There has been a banner outside Queen Salote Hall for about a month proclaiming that WISE would be launching there on July 23rd. We also read about it in an email we get called "WOIT: What's on in Tongatapu?" We couldn't seem to grasp what it was really all about and what/who would be there. And did WE want to be there? Today was the day, and since we were going to town to buy a supply of vegetables, we decided to stop there on our way home (It's right on the way.) and see what it was all about.

I'm so glad we did! Around the perimeter of the Hall there were twenty-five to thirty booths. It was all about women and the businesses they have, or are starting. Many had beautiful handicrafts and jewelry (You know my weakness.).  The Talitha Project was represented, which is an NGO trying to meet the needs of women 12-25 "who are in need of empowerment, security, counseling, skill development, support and love." Women were there with businesses in flowers and plants, either to sell or rent for occasions, and there were representatives from the Women in Law Association, just to name a few and to give you an idea of the variety.

In the center of the Hall there were chairs and a stage. The day began with a choir singing, and a pastor offering scripture and prayer, as well as various women extending a welcome. Later the stage was used to introduce the 'Ikale Tahi (Sea Eagles) Rugby Team and the candidates for the Miss Heilala competition for the Heilala Festival.

On the far end, on the built-in stage, a woman-owned preschool provided a play area for children. They were having a great time! There was also the Escape Cafe (owned by the woman who initiated the WISE idea.) which was serving its full menu. Add a raffle.... And, well, a good time was had by all. At least we certainly did!

The entrance to the Hall. Note the tapa cloth on the windows.

Children's play area and the WISE Launch banner.

This bouquet came from thegarden of the woman at this booth, which had nothing to do with flowers.

Meet the 'Ikale Taha Rugby Team and the Miss Heilala contestants.

The 4 Miss Heilala contestants are introduced.

Plants to buy or rent for occasions.

Ok, this isn't from the WISE Launch, but, perhaps, future WISE members? Students from Beulah College selling their product: peanut butter. It was at the Heilala Festival block party the night before. Their motto, "It's tasty.....It's yummy.....It's crunching....." We bought a jar....

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