Join our adventure in The Kingdom of Tonga

Archive for January, 2008

The HTC and school

Well sorry it’s been awhile since we have posted, but to be completely honest not much has been going on. Karen has finally started her work, which is working with multiple grades on English skills in the morning and PE in the afternoon. She will also be working with the library to get that into shape and encouraging reading.

I have been working for what will eventually be called the Ha’apai Training Center. It located in a 3 story building here in Ha’apai and has a great view west and on really nice days you can see Tofua and Kao which are two volcanic islands located about 45 miles directly west of Lifuka. We as Peace Corps are no longer allowed to go to these islands because of a past groups misadventures there, but hopefully someday. Maybe we will be issued those balls that you can get inside like in New Zealand and we will just roll around in those all day so nothing can hurt us. That’d be cool.

I am working on getting the lab to specs for a training center with maximum class size of about 10 and then during other hours we are hoping to be able to supplement internet and power costs with an internet cafe. It’s going pretty well. I have gotten all of the faster machines (Pentium 3 1 ghz, ahhhhh!) running Windows XP and some slower machines (double ahhhhh!!) running Red Hat Linux 7. I would love to be able to get 2 Apple G4 dual processors to do some video editing classes so if there is anyone out there who wants to get rid of them let me know!! Please! I like to expose people to as many differing types of Operating Systems as possible and the various benefits of each.

Last week a fellow PCV, Grant, brought me a computer from an outer island to have me look at it. I knew immediately that the hard drive was dead by the hard drive click that is so normal with failed hard drives. What was interesting though was that the computer wanted to go to the CMOS every time you restarted the computer and wouldn’t get past it. So at any rate I took off the side and there were 4 places on the motherboard that dirt dobbers had made nests. Also some of the cables were hooked up wrong and the CMOS battery was dead. So after some 4 hours of cleaning the motherboard with my geology hand lens and pocket knife, taking out the failed hard drive (luckily there was another one in the case), replacing the CMOS battery, and hooking everything up correctly I reinstalled XP and it works great. I never thought that it would. Crazy what you face in the Tonga.

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We hope all is well with everyone!!

Just a little update…

Hi everyone!  I’m sorry that we haven’t written in awhile..  Life has been very slow and quiet in Ha’apai, and we haven’t had internet access for several days!  But we wanted to let everyone know that all is well with us.  Scot has made a full recovery from dengue fever, thank goodness!  We are slowly getting adjusted to our new lives here.  Honestly, there is not much to report as of now.  I start work (teaching at the Government Primary School)  next week.  I am really looking forward to beginning this endeavor.  I am in the process of designing some HIV/Aids education workshops, in conjunction with the Ha’apai Red Cross.  Considering the cultural and religious norms of Tonga, it seems as if it will be quite a challenge.  Also, I have learned that there is no access to HIV/Aids testing in the entire Kingdom of Tonga.  As we learned during Scot’s time in the hospital, health care technology is sadly severely lacking here.

 Ha’apai is beautiful as always, but we are in the midst of cyclone season.  There have not been any major storms as of yet, but the winds and rains have been fierce!  Scot has started his work assignment, which is designing and setting up an internet cafe/computer training center. 

 Last week we met several members of the Tongan royal family, including two princesses.  They provided funding to the Ha’apai Red Cross for food and dried goods to be sent to the elderly living on remote, outer islands.  We helped some with sorting and packing up the goods.

 Other than that, island life is slow and quiet.  For entertainment, we are catching up on “Lost” episodes.  It seems like the perfect show to watch here.  Thank you Geoff:)  More to come later… and we still miss granola bars and magazines:)