Monday, January 22, 2018

Japan’s First Lady visits Goodwill Industries


FEELING AT HOME: Japan’s First Lady, Akie Abe excanges gifts with Barbara Alleyne, CEO of Goodwill Industries.

Mark Fraser

Recently, Goodwill Industries Vocational Training played host to one of their most distinguished visitors to date.

Akie Abe, wife of the Japanese Prime Minister on July 27 visited with the board, staff and students at Goodwill Industries Vocational Training in Woodbrook.

Abe, accompanied by Chizuru Tezuka, wife of Japanese ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Yoshimasa Tezuka, was greeted with the playing of her country’s national anthem on the steelpan, by the Goodwill Steel Orchestra.

This so greatly impressed the first lady, that she took the sticks for the tenor pan and asked to be shown how to beat out a melody on the sweet pan.

After a short introduction of Abe to the Goodwill board and invited guests by the chairman Dr Mitra Sinanan and Barbara Alleyne, CEO of Goodwill, the first lady was shown the works of Goodwill’s screen printing lab and glass etching artists, both of which held her genuine interest. She even screen printed The Japanese flag to much delight by all.

Moving easily around the auditorium, Abe interacted with some of the students and their work, taking the time to help with the building of a puzzle with a few of the students.

Not forgetting anyone, the first lady extended her wishes to the parents of the students, some of whom waited patiently for a glimpse of Abe.

At the end of her short but meaningful visit Abe happily sat for photographs with the Goodwill staff and students and members of the board, while the steel orchestra band continued to enthrall both Abe and her entourage, as they tapped their feet and relaxed to the captivating sounds of the Goodwill band.

As the first lady’s visit neared an end, significant gifts were exchanged between herself and Alleyne and the effort put into making Japan’s first lady feel at home and welcomed by all at Goodwill, was clearly evident by the smiles and laughter and hesitation to leave this warm embrace which clearly enveloped all who were called to witness this binding of two cultures.