Archive for June, 2009
Our time in Tonga has come to an end. There would be too many people to possibly thank in one blog post. We are so grateful for the kindness and support we received from friends, family, fellow Peace Corps Volunteers, and co-workers during our time in the Kingdom. I was 29 when we went to Tonga; now I am 31. We left during the Bush Administration, and have returned to the Obama era. We are sure to feel incredibly blessed and patriotic this upcoming 4th of July. Right now, we are enjoying the opportunity to reconnect with our families and loved ones. We plan to move to the Denver, Colorado area in mid-July. We have returned to the U.S. with a wider world perspective, countless anecdotes and stories about our time in Polynesia, enhanced Professional skills, and a renewed appreciation for home. Thanks for following our journey!
I wanted to give a few updates from the past few weeks. Two winners of the prestigious “Commonwealth Writers’ Prize” happened to be in Tonga after receiving their awards in New Zealand. The authors, Marina Endicott and Mandla Langa, were only in the Kingdom for a couple of days. I was fortunate enough to set up a book reading at my school. My Form 6 students (High School Seniors in the U.S.) attended the event. It was really such an honor to have the authors at my school, and I was so proud of my students. Although they may not have understood every single word, they listened diligently and actively participated in the question and answer session. Because we had recently studied the apartheid movement in South Africa, the students were especially interested in talking with Mandla Langa. He is a South African poet and novelist, who was honored with the Commonwealth Writers’ Award for his recent novel, “Lost Colours of the Chameleon.” My students asked about racism in South Africa today, as well as the post-apartheid political climate. For more information about these novels, you can click here.
If you get a moment to look at some of our new photos, you will see me– all dressed up in traditional Tongan clothes, mat and all, marching in the opening of the Parliament parade. I’m just going to over generalize here, and say that Tongans love a) marching bands b) parades. I honestly think all of Nuku’alofa came out for the event. The parade, which involved nearly every school in Tongatapu, seemed to be designed to signify the people’s support for both the Royalty and the Parliament. I don’t know if that is always a social/political reality, but like I said… everyone loves marching bands and parades! This was the first year my school had a marching band, due to recently acquired instruments. I have to say… I was impressed and enjoyed myself– despite the heat and the massive crowds. And the outfit:)