White sunday for children

Friday 3 May
There is a tinge of blue attempting to puncture the clouds so the
solar hot water is back on track… Although lukewarm showers aren’t
THAT bad!!
Spoke to Mum this morning with our final list of goodies to bring when
she comes on Tuesday…. SO looking forward to showing her around and
catching up on news in-depth!
Well word must have got around the neighbourhood because we had nine
for the second night of the cooking course… or was there nothing on
Anyway the four who had been on Wednesday night were able to report
that they had all tried to cook one or more dishes from the last
lesson and seemed very chuffed with themselves. We reckon this was a
good endorsement that we are pitching it at the right mark.
One lesson down 17 to go!
Wanting to continue the health food theme again tonight so decided on
fish and salad.
Kotoni showed them how to fillet fish and conjured up two fish dishes:
one was panfried fillets and the other a whole baked fish topped with
herbs and their local pele (kinda like spinach). Meanwhile I showed
them how to make a salad look appetising and tasty with an Asian
inspired sweet and sour dressing pulled together from whatever I could
find in the stores (which was not that much!). We also fried some
eggplant and garlic for those who had never eaten it before.
At the end of the lesson a couple of lovely leitis (boy/girl) offered
to help wash up which was so funny. Tarsh was so taken by the salad
she performed a very amusing little soliloquy dramatising her
compliments like being in stage production. We then had a quick bite
in the staff room as Kina, one of the teachers had made a yummy
dinner?! Fried chicken coconut curry (Jenny Craig would have a back
flip!) and potatoes.

Saturday 4 May
I had a quick dash on the bike to the ‘Tongan Bunnings’ to get a
double adaptor… and guess what there was even a sausage sizzle on so
it definitely felt like the big B!
Sally, another volunteer had access to a car so invited us to
chaperone her on a days tour of the east coast with a Tongan friend
With the severe lack of tourism infrastructure having a local ‘tour
guide’ is always an advantage. I am not sure we would have found the
landbridge or stalagmite caves with the underground pool without him.
At the caves we paid $10TOPpp to a local who fired up the generator
allowing some light to find our way along a series of slippery steps
until we reached the pristine pool. It was very weird swimming in the
semi darkness in fresh water. Kotoni held the towels and a few locals
tagged along to jump from great heights bombing into the water. They
also provided Tongan disco music via a mobile phone. Actually they
play music SO loud on their phones we can often hear them at night
walking along our street while we lie in bed.
Eizo had been in the military for 12 years and travelled to a few far
flung places like Mongolia and Iraq. Despite this he was still so very
Tongan but had a wealth of local knowledge which made for a fabulous
outing… and he had a terrific giggle!
Lunch was at a lovely beach with crashing aquamarine waves rather than
the white we are used to. From here we could also see the island of
Eua which is mountainous and a two hour ferry ride from Nuku’alofa
across the second deepest trench in the world.

Sunday 5 May
Happy to leave Tony Jones on the TV and stroll to church this morning
as the politicians were getting up our nose. We had been invited by
Leni – one of the teachers to attend her local as today White Sunday –
a special day for children. They were all dressed in their Sunday best
whites along with garlands made of flowers (both boys and girls). Bow
ties, stilettos, fancy belts, pearls, ribbons and sparkles dominated
the dress code and the cuteness factor was abundant. Children of all
ages also took part in the service speaking to the whole congregation
standing on a box on the pulpit which was delightful.
At church we ran into three NZ volunteers who came back to our house
for a cuppa. Tonga is getting smaller by the minute!

ps don’t get excited about photo here… Still very up and down!!!

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