18 Novema Monite
We had a staff meeting and graduating students collected references. From today there won’t be any more formal lessons.
Took Sister Kieoma and Sr Anunsia out for dinner to Cottage Breeze restaurant to celebrate. We have so enjoyed our time at ‘Ahopanilolo and continue to feel grateful for our placement there.
19 Novema Tuesite
Beach party with graduating students… done Tongan style… We travelled by bus with Sister Kieoma while the rest got to the coastal rendezvous point by various modes of transport including a larger hired bus.
The Vietonga beach was really lovely if you closed your eyes to the litter. It is really quite distressing that no-one appears to care very much about their beautiful pristine environment. But there you have it. Kotoni and I both did a sweep of the beach surrounds picking up broken glass, cans, plastic objects and ugly detritus.
The students who braved the waters and went in for a dip were pretty much fully clothed with not one in a swimsuit! There were frocks, sarongs tied around bodies, leggings, blouses, hats and long and short sleeved shirts. Quite a colourful sight but also so foreign to us. The beach had lots of little alcoves nestled under the craggy small cliffs so groups sat in their own private areas enjoying the shade (Tongans HATE sun) and perhaps a little too much of the spiked punch!
We dined on chips, tins of peanuts and the typical Tongan Barbecue of tons of marinated chicken, sausages and boiled tapioca… All generously provide, prepared and served by the students to their guests perched on palm fronds, straw mats and towels under the shady trees.
It really was a lovely day… Neither too hot nor cold. Perfect. Many of the students were all melancholy as we departed… Or was it the punch’s punch kicking in?!
As we headed back to town, Kotoni yelled from the front seat of the bus “Sonia, is that your bicycle?” This followed a series of events including a quick step on the brakes and u-turn by Sr Kieoma who easily fell into the role of Assistant Constable to Detective Muir. After interrogating the compliant young army officer who had been quietly cycling home we discovered the bike was identical to mine and had been apparently gifted to him by his uncle. Constable Kieoma tried calling said uncle to verify the story but as no reply, got his address and off we drove to the far west coast to follow up our inquiries. No joy in solving the case I am afraid but Detective Kotoni has documented the investigation and posted it to the authorities. Here’s hoping we get some further leads. As we keep saying it is not about the bike…but where the stolen bike may lead us to.