Exactly a year and three days ago, 74 people perished when an old and poorly maintained ferry boat, the Princess Ashika, sank in Ha'apai, the middle island group of Tonga. The people responsible for approving the seaworthiness of an obviously faulty craft will be on trial starting September 8th. Although there was no official remembrance of the victims, whose deaths were felt intensely by their families all across Tonga, there was a ceremony on the anniversary day in memory of the Japanese volunteer who was on the sunk boat, and a large memorial today in the afternoon after church.
Two of our fellow volunteers spent the first part of their Peace Corps service on a small island in the same middle island group where the boat sank, and experienced the loss first-hand, being with friends as they discovered who had made it and who hadn't. Their story of the event is posted on Tonga Tangos, another great volunteer blog, and it is a moving account. Read it by clicking here.