14 October 2009

We're in Tonga!

We have arrived! It has been a week of training and travelling, resulting in us sitting at an internet cafe in the Ha'apai islands after having hitched the 20 minute ride to town on the back of a cell phone promotion truck. We are staying in a little community that has maybe 200 people, with a very nice and very patient host family, who has helped us immensely with everything related to the Tongan language. Every day, we walk around to the other trainee's houses, picking them up one by one, until we arrive at our "school" room for language training. Every day has been filled mainly with language training, punctuated by the occasional safety, medical, cultural, or Peace Corps admin training. The first four days were spent in the capital city of Nuku'alofa, and now, for the next 8 weeks, we are in Ha'apai. We were very lucky to be able to stop at this internet cafe, because there are no computers or internet within miles of where any of the trainees are- so, we will be incommunicado for a while after this unless we get lucky again.

Yesterday, there was a big community feast for the elementary school students as a celebration for having finished the exam to get into high school, and our host parents brought us back tasty plates of fish, boiled taro (like sweet potato), chop suey, sweet potato, chicken curry, fried breadfruit with salt that tasted a little like french fries, and our favorite so far, octopus cooked in an underground oven with a spicy coconut milk sauce. We sleep in a little room off of the main house with bright orange and yellow curtains, and wake up every morning to the sound of roosters crowing. Our host dad is the town officer, but also cultivates fields of taro, banana, and other crops to supplement the family's dinners. Typical to almost any rural town, everyone keeps tabs on us, takes care of us, and sends us trainees to school supplied with packages of cookes, water, Fanta soda, and bananas. As we already knew, family can be found everywhere.

3 comments:

  1. Glad you have arrived! Keep the stories coming!

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  2. Great report. We are excited for and proud of you two.

    Don & Linda

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  3. Glad you guys have arrived. I'll imagine what it's like to be there on this gray Portland morning :)

    Allison V.

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