28 February 2011

Pulling together medical care, pun intended

Last night at 7, I found myself lying in the Peace Corps medical office, feeling the particular raspy tug of nylon thread being pulled through my numbed knee. This was the first time I've ever had stitches, and maybe the only time I may ever have them on a Sunday night by a jet lagged (but exceedingly competent) doctor in a simple office with borrowed anesthetic and only one type of thick black nylon thread. It was an adventure.

22 February 2011

'Eua, 8 months later

Coming in on the flight to 'Eua
We just got back from a lightning work trip to 'Eua last week. A perk of both of our jobs is the occasional chance to travel to another island group to help a school better develop their computer lab, for Mark, or to help run village trainings and staff trainings, for me. We took the seven-minute flight on Tuesday through thunderclouds and turbulence, and arrived back to the island that still feels a little like home even after all these months.

13 February 2011

8 ways to have fun in Tonga

The back of a truck, loaded for the beach
Early yesterday morning we were awakened by what I thought was someone running up the flight of stairs to our house, an indistinct rumble. Several seconds later, the windows started rattling, our closet swung crazily, and the whole house shook! It was a 6.1 earthquake, originating almost under Nuku'alofa! No one was hurt, and nothing was damaged, so it was little more than a jolt awake and some excitement. We had been sound asleep from a busy, fun weekend. We'd made apple pie with some friends on Friday, gone to the weekend market on Saturday morning, and capped off the day with an exciting game of ultimate frisbee, dinner, and an evening movie night with friends where we watched 12 Angry Men, which everyone loved.Which brings me to a question recently posed: "What do people do for fun in Tonga?"

05 February 2011

Looking backwards isn't backwards: saving Tongan material culture

Princess Pilolevu laughing with Langafonua leadership
 The doors, closed, were guarded by the Royal army, and it was hot. The crowd in the room was slowly melting into their chairs, the women vainly trying to slow the process with the slow flap of woven fans. The only breath of cool air in the room was coming from a solitary electric fan, pointed at the most distinguished guest of honour, the current king's sister, Princess Pilolevu.

We were next door to the handicraft centre where I help out, gathered in the central room of the Langafonua women's association for the official opening of the Royal Art Gallery and Demonstration Village. This was a big day; the collection of royal portraits and the two fine mats displayed in plexiglass cubes are the first and only museum area showcasing Tonga's governmental history in the entire country.
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