Tuesday 23 July
Saane our landlady’s son’s wedding feast was tonight. Perhaps feast is not the right word. It was a typical Tongan food FIESTA! OMG the amount of catering was unbelievable.
We made some Romanian windmill pastries to take along and Kotoni had a class at college make a huge heart cake as a wedding gift.
We counted 54 chairs for a sit down dinner inside Saane’s house. Every inch of the tables were filled with little individual packages of food: coleslaw, curry, clams, chicken, beef, noodles, fried rice, semolina, fish (cooked and raw salad) surrounded by whole roasted pigs and plates of wheelbarrow-delivered root vegetables washed down with orange cordial.
Before eating we had the usual prayer and while munching through the dishes we listened to emotionally charged speeches including the Maori mother-in-law singing. We no sooner finished the savouries when out came bowls of ice-cream and fruit salad plus the wedding cake. Everyone was then handed plastic bags to fill with their take home packs – a usual for any Tongan gig.
The whole event was over in 1.5 hours. It is very much about getting together, eating, having a few speeches then taking leftovers home for the family members not there. Very different to how we celebrate but charged with emotion and food made with love.
It was pretty much a family affair so we felt very privileged to be invited and were considered guests of honour. Saane tied an aromatic garland of flowers around the necks of the bridal party and us!
Saw Timm off back to Australia. We really enjoyed his visit very much (an easy guest who went with the flow and kept us laughing and buoyant for days after our robbery). He certainly left a lasting impression on everyone at Áhopanilolo even though he had only been there a couple of days.
Timm is a very generous friend giving so much of his time to the college as well as providing some seeding funds for a future art project. Thank you Mr O’Regan… Tonga is missing you already and hopes you can return one day.