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OIWC promotes cultural exchange and friendship

By: David Knickerbocker

Date Posted: 2002-03-08

The Okinawa International Women’s Club is a group aiming to foster better understanding between locals and foreigners on Okinawa. When the group first began over 47 years ago, it was only open to wives of high-ranking officers and government officials, but now women of any nationality and background are welcome to join as long as they share a common desire for cultural exchange. Members of the OIWC vary in age from late 20s to early 90s, so age isn’t a limiting factor, either. The club organizes many activities throughout the year, except during summer break, and those interested in joining can become part of a culture group with about a dozen members who regularly receive each other into their homes for cultural exchange and friendship. The club also has many other monthly activities including tours, cooking classes, charity events, luncheons and festivals.

One of the group’s recent activities that turned out to be a huge success was a cooking class at Butler Officers Club on Feb. 21. Robert Walter, head chef at the O’Club, demonstrated to the OIWC members how to make some of his pasta sauces as well as how to cook pasta correctly. He also showed them his recipe for making good Caesar Salad dressing. About 40 members came to the O’Club to watch this master chef exhibit his talents, but the most impressive thing about the meeting was that Chef Walter divulged some of his secret tips and tricks to the attendees. This was definitely an enlightening event for all who attended.

The OIWC’s biggest event every year is a Christmas Bazaar that features craft sales to raise money for the many charities supported by the club. Members sell their own handicrafts on row after row of tables, with the quality of the items being outstanding. The bazaar also has a bake sale offering delicious holiday snacks and cookies. This Christmas Bazaar has been an annual event for over 23 years and always attracts a great crowd; it has certainly helped many of the charities the OIWC is involved with.

The club has three main themes it focuses on for events: friendship, volunteering and cultural exchange. For instance, the club helps out at orphanages and homes for the disabled. Also, by intermingling women of all nationalities and backgrounds, it promotes cultural exchange and friendship. The OIWC has many events for women of all ages to get involved in. With more than 250 members, including over 70 Americans, the OIWC does an excellent job of sponsoring monthly cross-cultural events and parties. The group meets twice monthly, once as a full group and once for events with some of the members. This is a great chance for all women to share in cultural learning and fun while living on Okinawa. If you are interested in finding out more about the OIWC, call Eve Raftery at 637-3214

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