19 Okatopa Tokanaki
It was a beautiful morning, Kotoni decided to stay home while I rode Bas to spend a few hours in heaven aka the Nukuálofa Saturday Fair. I parked him at the Pot Luck restaurant gates at 9.00am and headed for what was to be a very enjoyable three-hour rummage which included bumping into students, palangis and locals. I picked up some great bargains for Kotoni and I so returned to the street laden with bags of goodies.
You can imagine my surprise to find an empty space where I had left Bas. I had become another victim of Tonga crime and walked home feeling a little overwhelmed… but kept thinking. It is only a thing. It is only a thing… especially having woken up this morning to hear about the dreadful news in the Blue Mountains with so many losing their homes. My sister Tania was one of the very few lucky ones not to come home to a pile of rubble. Our thoughts are with so many of less fortunate their neighbours and good friends who saw their memories go up in smoke as I know it will be a rocky road to recovery.
Anyway back to my own little saga… Coming through the front door Kotoni looked up from his computer and immediately said “You’ve got flat tyre?
“No… “I said hesitantly.
“Well where is the… oh… It has been stolen.”
I just stood there and nodded.
We quickly headed to the Police Station having scored a lift from Mo – one of our evening cooking class students who had also been robbed some weeks ago. He kindly dropped us at the station where we completed all the paperwork. We know the routine but felt a bit ill as our volunteer insurance does not cover motorised vehicles of any type.
Never Mind I kept thinking of my mantra: it is only a thing… as I said above, so many people we know have lost so much more or are going through extreme challenges beyond belief.
One of the first questions the officer asked us was what was our church? and what was my father’s name. All obviously important to the case.
As we countersigned the reports, I remembered I’d seen one of the teacher – Larnie had her car in the grounds when I returned to the spot where my bike had been, so I sent her a text in case maybe she had seen someone take the bike.
Well two minutes later Larnie called to say… the bike was safely at Áhopanilolo because Sister Keoma had seen it earlier and asked some students to move it where it would be more safe… but just forgot to tell me!
Larnie kindly came to the Police Station and collect Kotoni and I and took us back to school so we could collect Bas.
We can all laugh about it now and when Sister Keoma called I greeted her with “Hello thief” which resulted in belly laughs all around.
We also told the Tongan Police officer that this should push their stats for crimes solved through the roof… reported and solved within an hour. Surely that must be some sort of Tongan record.
Anyway we are relieved as Bas has become a very handy transport tool for us… such as last night we were able to trottle or is that throttle off to the Alliance Francaise to watch a French documentary ‘Tous au Larzac’ – an amazing story that spans 50 years.
Farmers in the South East of France began protesting about the expansion of a military base in their region in the 1960s. It inspired tens of thousands to attend protests and saw the farmer storm Paris in tractors and on foot. They had many creative ways of getting their voices heard including setting up a farm under the Eiffel Tower which ignited city support for their cause. Eventually, when Francois Mitterrand won power the military base was stopped as part of his suite of election promises. The farmers have continued to tackle civic causes ever since and stayed together as a collective force. Their most recent high-profile action was to dismantle a McDonalds restaurant and they continue to inspire French activism.