Our Ha'apai (the middle island group) stint is over. Not too long after we posted last, the internet at the only internet cafe in town stopped working, which made it very hard to get online for the rest of our time- so we apologize for the long lack of any word. It is so refreshing to be back with semi-regular internet communication again, such a luxury when the only news we would get regularly in our community was which young person went to play volleyball at the Mormon court in town, or what another Peace Corps volunteer at another house liked or did not like to eat.
The most exciting news we have from the past 8 weeks is that we are going to work in 'Eua for the next two years! 'Eua is a beautiful, mountinous island southeast of the main island of Tongatapu, and is actually geologically and ecologically separate from the entire rest of Tonga. There are species of birds and other animals there that don't exist anywhere else in Tonga, and it is generally several degrees cooler all year round. 'Eua also has the largest national park in Tonga, and has amazing hiking, camping, and cave systems to explore. I (Elena) will be teaching small business management and development at an agricultural college, and Mark will be teaching English and computer classes at a highschool not too far away. We are both very excited about our work, and also excited that since we will be living in a house on the agro school's grounds, we'll get a near constant supply fresh produce, milk, and eggs (theoretically). Also, our house apparently is larger than most, and so we'll have an extra room to host visitors who might want to come, hint hint.
Right now, we are visiting the northern island group, Vava'u, for several days before returning to the capital to get sworn in as official volunteers this coming week. We have to do a final interview, take a language proficiency test, and then there will be much pomp and ceremony as this year's group starts their official 2 years service. Everyone in our training group is excited to move in to their new homes and jobs.
More stories and descriptions to come later, we are still time-restricted right now because of having to use the Peace Corps office computer, and it's time to sign off. More soon!