Vanilla, escargot and teary kids


image3 Fepueli Monite
Orientation week begins with fresh-faced students fronting up for their debut into tertiary education.
My task all week is to run whole of school getting to know you activities (the fun part of the week!). We do these outside under the huge cassia tree where it is cool. Nothing like throwing them all in at the deep end… Day 1 they had to meet and introduce a stranger in front of the entire school (100+) and I must say they all did a terrific job. We all know how daunting this can be but though Tongans are often shy they took the task in their stride.
After the excitement of finally having our new passports actually in our hands we calmed down and remembered we were having Lucy over to our house for dinner tonight.
She runs a vanilla plantation on the islands of Vava’u and we met her when she came along to one of our evening cooking classes. Lucy wanted to throw around ideas with us as she and her husband also run a Botanical Gardens tourist enterprise and they are looking at expanding into accommodation and running a small restaurant. It was a very stimulating evening and the conversation flowed easily. Lucy is highly educated and has numerous degrees having worked for many years within the Tongan public service. Stepping into the world of business was a big leap but she and her husband are very devoted to achieving their dreams.
For dessert we introduced her to afogato (hot espresso over ice-cream minus the liqueur) as a simple way of showcasing their vanilla ice-cream and she LOVED it so I suspect it may be an addition to their menu.

4 Fepueli Tuesite Teary Week
Ahopanilolo is next to a Kindy so since yesterday we have been hearing heart wrenching sobs through the fence… as well as in the staff room as various teacher’s children cling to their mum’s tupenus (skirts) begging not to be sent to school. Young children starting school can be a traumatic experience and Tongan littlies are no different.
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We visited the Kindy today to delivery some much appreciated art goodies our friend Timm had sent over. All dressed in their uniforms the kids are so cute!
My group activity today involved teaching a few words of French which lead to the creation of a huge human escargot (snail in French) spiral. Gradually the shyness is shedding and they are becoming more confident and beginning to know each other. It is already evident amongst the first years who will emerge as a character!

The boys shaking the tava fruit from the tree in our front garden
The boys shaking the tava fruit from the tree in our front garden
Surabi (formerly Cleopatra)
Surabi (formerly Cleopatra)

4 thoughts on “Vanilla, escargot and teary kids

  1. Ha ha! Vanilla affogato is already a reality. I had one last night with some of your vanilla syrup. It was DIVINE.

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  2. Loved your blog as always. You will be sad to leave, but we will be very pleased to see you xxx

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  3. Without a doubt to the end of your life the last twelve months will “stay” close to your heart!!!xx

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  4. Sounds like a fantastic start to your school year and i love the escargo!!!!
    pleased to hear of your inspiration desert,,,,,,,, has my mouth watering and hankering for a cafe/vanilla pick me up!! Aren’t those braids amazing. wow. a wonderful hair do !!! lots of love TT

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