Our country director interrupted our second-to-last training session today with a full-color weather map of the South Pacific and the surprising news that there's a hurricane on it's way! It might interfere with our official volunteer swearing-in ceremony in two days, but other than that, the whole Peace Corps training group is in just about the best place to be prepared for the wind and rain. We have a very securely constructed PC office here, and if the hurricane indeed comes our way, we will have to do nothing more than consolidate and sit tight for a couple days at the guest house.
Boring Moving-In Shopping Happens Everywhere
The last several days, we've been wrapping up our training with administrative sessions, and in our sparse free time, rushing around to find house supplies. Each volunteer will move into his or her own house at each site, and we're given a small stipend to supply it with kitchen utensils, appliances, cleaning supplies, etc. The stipend is theoretically designed to be enough to cover a similar style of living as our neighbors, so that although it might be enough to buy a fridge and several pots and pans, its definitely not enough to get an oven, microwave, washer/dryer, and cable television, for example, just in case anyone had those expectations when joining the Peace Corps in the first place. We're lucky though, because the house that we'll move in to is the faculty house for visiting New Zealand professors, so we'll already have a fridge and an oven when we move in.
The capital city is definitely the city of plenty, compared to the middle island group where we've been, but still, it's been a puzzle trying to figure out where everything is carried. We've gotten most of our little kitchen supplies at about 3 different places, in stores that might carry building supplies in the front, but then open up ecclectically in the back to large cases of frozen meat. The prevailing logic dictates to walk around the entire city, browsing at most of the four or five big stores in town, and look in the places we'd least expect.
New Address (Permanent for the next 2 years)
If the cyclone doesn't delay plans too much, we're going to have our official swearing in ceremony on Wednesday, and take a 3 hour ferry ride to 'Eua on Thursday at 1pm.
The old address posted on this blog will still work, but our direct address is now:
Mark and Elena Noyes
Peace Corps Office
PO Box 24
Kingdom of Tonga
Mail is slow, but it's much more reliable than the official guide will have you believe, and for the first 6 months (until this July), we pay no import duty on anything sent to us.