Tongablog

Join our adventure in The Kingdom of Tonga

Can you believe it is June?!

I find myself feeling a tad bit guilty every now and then, for not updating the blog more frequently. The truth of the matter is that time seems to move much slower here. Quite often- there is just not that much to say! But the blog is a great way of keeping friends and family aware of our daily lives and challenges— on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is technically winter here, and often the days are cool and rainy. The respite from the sweltering sun is much appreciated, but cold showers now require a slightly longer pep talk! My classes at the primary school are going well. I mostly prefer working with the older students- ages 9 to 12. Their innocence is so refreshing. I had forgotten that there are children who can still be motivated by a high five! Their smiles and silliness keep me motivated, and I am always impressed with their diligence to work and study hard. The computer classes are going incredibly well. The kids love the interactive software, and we are able to teach supplemental English, Math, and Computer Skills three times a week. There was another funeral in our community this past week. Even though we had no idea who had died, it was expected for us to attend. To be honest, the funerals often cause some anxiety on our part. Not to be gross or too graphic, but the body is always in the room and all visitors are expected to kiss it. As you can guess, the bodies are not “prepared” at a funeral parlor. Sometimes the funeral (or putu in Tongan) goes on for days, so that family members living abroad can attend. Hopefully you get the gist of what I am getting at… Anyway, we managed to avoid kissing the body this time. Instead we just sat under a tent (wearing the traditional funeral clothing) with hundreds of folks. The entire process feels old, traditional, and sacred. There is something incredibly humbling about taking part in a traditional ceremony that has existed for centuries. I cannot even fathom how much preparation goes into organizing and implementing a Tongan putu. Everyone in attendance must be fed, so tea, cookies, and bread are constantly served in between meals. It is traditional to give food as a parting gift, and we left with an entire cake and a bag of raw meat (lamb, horse, and pig.) And I should mention that Scot looks fantastic in his tupenu and taovala- essentially a black wrap-around skirt and a large mat woven from coconut frounds! FYI- we changed the address on our blog to the main island in Tongatapu. Make note when you send all of those fantastic letters and care packages:)  Oh, if you are interested, we did upload some new pics from our New Zealand trip.

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