Tonga

Sio a e tofua’a or in English...See the whales

 

And I did.  From Nakolo, we can see whales while standing on the road.  Granted they are far away, but the spouts and splashes are unmistakable.  I took much pleasure in watching these magnificent creatures, even though I couldn’t make out the whales themselves, just their disturbance of the water.

How long is your skirt?

Just a quick note. Some of my friends find the whole long skirt thing sort of oppressive, like they have lost all their freedom because another culture believes skirts should be longer than in out culture.
Because of this, some women (at times myself included) retaliate by wearing as short of skirts as is acceptable, which is knee length. I just wanted to point out the trials and tribulations of this line of

Airports

So returning to the states for Ben’s wedding involved a lot of airports and planes. After 6 flights 5 airports, layovers both long and short and a total of 34 hours in the air, here are the random things I encountered.

Creature Discomforts

I have just been realizing a couple of things I have just shrugged off. I walked into the bathroom and virtually greeted the rat. I am considering naming her! I can’t kill her that I know for sure and now I just do my best to keep her out of the house, but the bathroom is fair game (be sure to cover the soap, she likes to eat it). As the rat slinks off I approach the toilet. Not terribly common, but by no means unusual there is a 4” spider on the wall right next to it. Oh well when you’ve got to go right?

Class 1

So my friend Katy gave me some alphabet stamps just before she left. So one day I needed some inspiration as to what to do with class 1 (I am not a born first grade teacher) so I made up a lesson with some of the stamps. First each student would get one stamp and stamp it on their paper. Then they would each get one crayon (different colors) and also write their letter on the paper. Next they would trade their papers and write each letter at least once. Not too tough and they will get to use the stamps and write all the letters (well A to F).

Princess

So I have joked several times that I feel like a princess. This is true for many reasons, such as being invited to all the special events, getting a special seat at all the feasts, many people know me, many more than I know by name. Also I feel like a princess because I have obligations, many people expect the PCV to be there, someone will notice if I don’t go, many people watch what I do everywhere I go. So there are good and bad sides to this. Oh well it is just an analogy, right? So a few weeks ago, the Nakolo rugby team voted me as their princess.

It Takes a Village

Here in Tonga “it takes a village” seems to be more true than almost anywhere else I have seen. There is such a strong sense of community and family. I often have a hard time figuring out who lives where because ‘family’ becomes a loose term. This is comfortable for me because it is a lot like my family. We always had ‘extras’ whether a boy/girlfriend, someone who works for dad or a friend who needs a place to stay. These folks always become part of the family being invited to parties and having chores. Same in Tonga!

Trimester Report Time!

These are my journal entries I turned into the peace corps, thought you might enjoy them.

I am integrating more each day. My language has improved greatly since moving to site, but I still use English a lot with a few people. In fact some people refuse to speak Tongan to me because their English is so good. I still have a vast majority of the village to speak Tongan to though.

Garden

Well I did it, I planted my garden. In the end the hardest part was getting a fence. I have an area about 10x22 feet next to my house that is fenced on 2 sides, the third side is my house and the fourth, a 10 foot entrance for the pigs leading to my garden. There are about 5 stands of banana trees offering the shade I need for growing veggies. Funny that here you look for a partially shaded area and back home you seek out the sunny areas. I asked for the fence and was told yes I will do it tomorrow and it only took two weeks from then to get the fence!

Peace Corp Volunteer in Tonga Sick again?

So I went to the sports day in town. It was fun but long and a hot day. I had to wear the team shirt, which was a polo shirt, not the most breathable fabric so I stayed under the tent the whole day. Towards the end of the day I asked how much longer it would be. I was hot, tired, hungry and thirsty so I opted out of the additional hour of sports and then the closing ceremony and awards in favor of taking care of my needs. I walked to the Peace Corps office where I promptly entered the air conditioning and found my bag with a stash of food.