Two palangis join the tongan workforce


Having a coffee at cafe escape and whoopee have been able to logon to the net!!!

Monday 25 March
Kotoni’s first day at ‘Ahopanilolo College. (I didn’t realise I needed to put an apostrophe before the A until today… the apostrophe is actually a letter of the 17 letter Tongan alphabet).
He asked if the school could be paid to make him a tupanu (men’s skirt) in school colours (brown) and will see if a parent can make him a ta’ovala (mat). Such commissions help with college fees and infrastructure costs.
I tried to tackle some banking issues to no avail… It won’t happen overnight but it will happen! Patience Muirs patience!!!
I finally got to ride my new shiny bike around town… I definitely stand out like a palangi (westerner) so maybe I will need to throw it in a dirty puddle?!
Had lunch with Kotoni at BillFish bar…everyone goes home or out for lunch at the college from 12 to 1.
Kotoni was paraded in front of the whole school and delivered a little speech in Tongan to them. the Principal Sister Annuncia told them he could understand Tongan so to watch what they said! I don’t think t will take too long before his mastery of their language is put to the test… And they learn the truth!
I then left Kotoni to his profiterole making and headed back into town for shopping. The bike pannier worked well even managing to bring home a small watermelon in it …. bought at the market for about $3AUS.
Later I spied Saane near the two coconut palms at the front gate so I went over to investigate with my Orange friend Sally’s voice echoing in my head: ‘NEVER stand under a coconut palm…’ Those nuts come down with some force and we’d been hearing them drop all weekend. Bravely Saane (who didn’t seem concerned about the peril we could be in) and I filled a wheelbarrow full of big hairy coconuts. She also gathered some fronds and quickly showed me how she’d use these to make a broom. Now that is something useful I could try and learn although today’s heat made me feel languid and I went to lie down and read my kindle instead.
Kotoni arrive home about 3.30 and reported on a good afternoon in the training kitchens. Seems as though stock control and costings is an area where he could add some real value… So he did a little homework while I prepared dinner.
Saane had got me some eggs from a farm… 3 dozen for $13TOP… So great value as would be four times the price at a shop. We had spanish eggs cooked with fresh tomato, capsicum, eggplant and onion. But I am ahead of myself…
One of the other volunteers has offered to run yoga sessions on Monday nights. Sounded good… So Jason (another volunteer doing home stay with Saane), Kotoni and I headed off to where we ‘thought’ they were and one and half hours later returned home after searching in vain for the venue. Street signs are not the norm in Nuku’alofa everything is by landmarks… But do you think we could find the correct church to turn left at??!! Oh well… We did meet two nice locals and learned who lived in which big house down at the waterfront. It seems there is money to be made in the sunday bread trade as the main bakery owners house looks bigger than the kings palace! Maybe I should be trying to get an invite to there for arvo tea?!
To top off a great day… I had an email from my new boss Kate offering me the Community Engagement Leader position I had applied for back in Orange and did an interview the day before we flew out to Tonga. So looks like I will have a great new job to go back to afterall!

Tuesday 26 March
It felt good walking off to ‘Ahopanilolo together this morning… Me in my long black wrap skirt (bought from Byron Bay vinnies years ago) teamed with a Tongan flea market top and Kotoni with his teacher’s backpack filled with a tupanu (man’s skirt), umbrella, icy water and insect repellent. Actually have hardly had a problem with mozzies despite lots of water lying around which has been a pleasant surprise.
After prayers and assembly Kotoni was off to cookery classes to fill yesterday’s profiteroles while I helped the Deputy Principal Tina write a report. Out for lunch to Billfish again to share a toasted sandwich. I helped another teacher Nia do some waiter service role plays… Then home where we both flopped for a siesta after some watermelon. Dinner was lu leaves (bit like spinach) and eggs. The locals don’t seem to eat much in the way of veggies so we are trying to be creative with what we can find.
Found two centipedes tonight on the lounge and floor… Down the loo they went… Hope there are not too many more. Apparently the big fella’s bite is painful… And not something we really wish to experience.
The nights are still hot so we are grateful we have the ceiling fan in the lounge and glad we splurged and bought two portable ones last week.

Categories Tonga

6 thoughts on “Two palangis join the tongan workforce

  1. Just catching up & loving your blog. Congratulations on the job Sonia, woohoo! Enjoy yourselves, looking forward to reading all your adventures…

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  2. Loving the blogs. Congratulations Sonia on your new job. Stay COOL! xx

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  3. Loving all of your news. Sounds so exciting! Congratulations Sonia on your new job. Stay COOL! xx

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  4. Hi Guys, sounds great. Congrats on getting the job, too Sonia. The profiteroles sound yummy

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  5. Vaughan Davies and Helen Snodgrass March 27, 2013 — 8:38 am

    A special congratulations on the job, Sonia!!!!!

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  6. Just loving all this Thanks for keeping us up to date. You are a real whizz. And CONGRATULATIONS WEAAAH HOOOOO yip. Well done miss Sonia. That is the best news.. Big smiles and hugs your way…. and Pleases end your mailing address !!!!!!!! Tracey

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