22 April 2010

Chasing pigs and making yoghurt

A short blog post in our recent trend of micro-blogging. Usually, the little things that fill up the day are the things that get left out. So here are some of the things that occupied us this week.

Things we did this week. We:
  • walked to the farmland behind the agricultural school and picked 3 cucumbers off the prickly vines
  • cleaned dog puke off our favorite woven floor mat (a mat that can be wrapped around the waist and worn to a Tongan funeral)
  • wrote lesson plans and tests for our classes
  • wrote a 52-page school academic, HR, and financial policy document for the agricultural school so that they can get accredited from the Tongan government (triumph picture shown)


  • made yoghurt from the milk of the cows in our yard
  • practiced with the student and staff choir for performance day for the ag school’s 40th anniversary in June
  • chased a horde of about 40 identical little piglets from their burrowing efforts in our yard (this must be their father pig)
  • removed tenacious viruses from the highschool computers and lamented the fact that in Tonga, a flash drive = Typhoid Mary
  • collected rain water from our gutter spout in front of our front door from rain that was so hard it filled up a pitcher in 4 seconds
  • missed friends in the US as we read letters and enjoyed packages
  • wrote a tentative subject list for management and computer skills workshop sessions that we might lead with school administrators next year
  • watched 4 movies, including the extended Lord of the Rings
  • confirmed the final step in getting a computing network set up in the agricultural schools’ computer lab (outside of the lab is the picture below)
  • watched our quickly-growing little orange cat scuttle sideways across our floor on his tiptoes and pounce on our dog


We tend to talk a lot about cows, because that's what we see out of at least 3 of the 4 sides of our house. But to expound upon the making yoghurt theme, several of our visitors from the mainland have been pretty interested in the dairy at Hango. To get from cow to yoghurt on our cereal, here is the process. Hango has about 70 dairy cows that mill around in one or more of the grass fields around the school and periodically are followed around by their tiny, awkward calves. They yell at night when the dairy manager separates the calves when they get old enough, sounding like a person yelling "AHHHH.... AAAAAH....AAAAAAH." Every morning, four students walk around the field at dawn, whistling and gathering the cows into our roofless milking shed. It used to have a milking machine and a roof, but then a hurricane happened.

The students hand-milk all the cows, and gather the milk in large metal milk jugs about half a person high, and load them onto the school's flatbed truck. They then drive around calling "milk! milk!" and anyone who wants any waves them down and supplies them with money and an empty jug for them to fill up. Once it is in our possession, we pour it into three large jars and put them in a big pot to boil in order to pasteurize it, and then save some for drinking, and some for yoghurt making. In short, we put a couple of spoonfulls of yoghurt into the warm milk, and keep it warm for 8 hours. Then voila, the next morning we have milk for our tea and yoghurt for our cereal.





1 comment:

  1. Elena/Mark,
    Through reading your blog posts, I'm able to enjoy the typical Tongan experiences that made life in Tonga such an "interesting experience" (Rob's terminology), as well as remembering--fondly--the times we spent with both of you (Friday afternoon tea was always such a highlight). Thank you for maintaining the blog, continuing to share and so admirably meeting GOAL THREE!!!

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