Trailing a truck flying Kiwanis banners, a parade of children lifts up a colorful troupe of handmade puppets. Each child is dressed in a white T-shirt and sporting a wreath of fresh flowers in their hair.
For four years running, the eight Kiwanis clubs on the islands of French Polynesia have hosted a One Day event called La Kiwanienne. It’s a day that encourages creativity, promotes recreation and showcases members’ enthusiasm for Kiwanis and their mission of service. This year on the island of Tahiti, the Hei o Te Ra Tahiti and Oa Oa de Tahiti Kiwanis Clubs organized the celebration, with input from the other area Kiwanis clubs.
A cooperative shining sun lit the scene for an atmosphere of merriment. Surrounded by music and snacks, attendees were charmed by a variety of creative workshops. Children painted and decorated T-shirts, which proclaimed the day’s theme, “Walking as a Family for a Child.” They also wove wreaths of flowers. A favorite activity—for both children and adults—transformed old newspapers, a stick and brightly colored fabric into playful puppets.
“The children took a lot of pleasure in creating the puppets and T-shirts,” reflects François Bourget, president-elect of the Oa Oa de Tahiti Kiwanis Club. “The photos speak for themselves when you see the attention, smiles and joy on everyone’s faces.”
Following a parade through town, a panel of judges reviewed the children’s personalized attire and awarded winners with baskets filled with food and gifts. The day of fun closed with an aparima, a traditional Polynesian dance, executed gracefully by the children of Moorea.
“All of the Kiwanians were truly enchanted by this welcoming, warm day, filled with solidarity and friendship,” says Bourget. “It was an immense pleasure to participate, to better acquaint ourselves with each other’s clubs and the values of Kiwanis. Enthusiasm was unanimously felt by all of us.” —Courtney Meyer
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