DUNCAN Seven ladies from Stephens County who traveled to Fiji recently went there to be teachers.
Their goal was to share what they’d learned in lifetimes of sewing with women in a tiny village called Sote, to provide daughters of the village with school uniforms that otherwise would be beyond their means and, ultimately, to help create a brighter future for them.
After their arrival back home recently, the ladies: Barbara Cox, Sandy Pogue, Carol Hall, Linda Heilman, Lois Kramer, Tonie Bess and Vicki Zimmerman, all members of the Sunshine Oklahoma Home Community Education (OHCE) group, were in agreement that they’d succeeded. Doors indeed were opened for heaven only knows how many little girls to get more complete educations. The ripple effects of their extraordinary sewing lessons, no doubt, will continue to positively influence the people of Sote well into the future.
But the teachers also were in agreement that they, too, had learned a great deal thanks to their trip, and that the positive, ripple effects may continue to be felt in their own lives for years to come.
“The trip was fantastic, above and beyond what we even dreamed,” Pogue said.
It started June 11 and ended all-too-soon on June 19.
Upon their arrival in the Fijian capital, Suva, the ladies got their first taste of the hospitality of the people of the nation of more than 300 islands in the South Pacific. As just one example: the niece of a former prime minister and tribal chief presented them all with colorful sulu chambas, traditional skirts and tops. The ladies said people too many to count greeted them with broad smiles and welcoming words. As they went on their way, the older white women from faraway Oklahoma created more than just a little curiosity.