church noise, new volunteers & a rain symphony

Sitting in the lawyer's office with our landlady Saane going over our church noise case
Sitting in the lawyer’s office with our landlady Saane going over our church noise case

5 Fepueli Pulelulu

Saane our landlady came over last night to ask whether we would go with her to the lawyer’s office today to try to move the church noise issue along. This long drawn out legal matter has been going on for over two years and is still not resolved. Saane is worried she will not be able to re-rent our house when we go so we of course agreed to help by spending an hour with her lawyer who drafted an affidavit for Gordon and I to sign outlining the ongoing issue with the very loud amplified noise emanating from the church EVERY weekend. We hope that this will give the police the power to confiscate the amplifier if they breach the court order and we and future Pili dwellers can at last have a little peace and quiet. If they were great singers like the majority of Tongan churches it wouldn’t be a problem… But alas the Pentecostals are not renowned for their choristers and my toes curl when they start screeching in tongues and yelling over the top of each other.

A decorative Ta'ovala close up
A decorative Ta’ovala close up. Malatina, the deputy has loaned these us these for the special mass

We had a busy afternoon as next headed to the fisherman’s club (basically a shipping container made into a bar at the wharf… It has a certain charm!) to say farewell to Wendy – one of the NZ volunteers and then mopeded off to New Italy to devour pizza with the newest Aussie volunteers who arrived earlier this week.

They are a very interesting mixed group of dynamic people including an inspirational young blind woman who seem extremely capable and not phased by Tonga AT ALL! Amongst the cohort is Ricky – a lovely enthusiastic young bloke from Brisbane who will be joining us at ‘Ahopanilolo to help boost their marketing and promotional skills. It is good we shall have a few weeks to help him settle in.

The evening was so mild we swung by the town square to see if the wifi was free and scored the jackpot including a long overdue internet phone call with our friend Anita in London. When technology works here the world shrinks instantly.

We also caught up with a student we are sponsoring to complete his studies this year in commercial cookery. He is supporting himself and his family so works in the evenings at the square’s pop up cafe while studying during the day. He told us having his fees paid was a huge stress off his shoulders so that made us feel very warm and fuzzy.

under the cassia tree

6 Fepueli Tu’apulelulu

Today I ran the election process for prefects after we did a whole school team building activity. We made a sound sculpture to keep within the Catholic school’s 2014 theme – ‘you are a work of art’ (made by God). I like having a theme as it has helped to focus my thinking.

image The ‘Ahopanilolo rain symphony’ was a fun activity that had all students creating the pitter patter of rain through to booms of thunder in groups around the room. I had seen it done before at a conference but this was my first try to I can recommend it as it sounded pretty awesome. We started with gentle finger on palm ‘tappers’ followed by hand ‘clappers’, then thumb and finger ‘clickers’ and finally thunderous floor stamping desk banging ‘rumblers’. The storm brewed quite nicely before subsiding back into a little pitter patter of rain. If you want to try it yourself my tip would be to have the clickers before the clappers as they got a bit drowned out!

Kotoni gave a great presentation at assembly on how to be a discerning researcher while using the internet. He also talked about how to safely use USB sticks when sharing files across computers as this tends to be an ongoing problem causing viral infection we are trying to stamp out. To ensure they will cope when the self-proclaimed IT manager leaves in four weeks, we have made some connections with a couple of local non palangi computer fixit people.

the bishop blessing the badges

7 Fepueli Falaite

Joined all the Catholic schools from across Nuku’alofa for a start of school year mass that went for two hours. All the prefects had their badges blessed and were presented to the congregation. It was a very packed out cathedral.


After the service we joined the prefects for morning tea with the Director of Catholic Education, principals, teachers and the Bishop… who now knows us very well and always makes a point of coming to say hello.

Fans are a must have accessory in church when it is hot hot hot
Fans are a must have accessory in church when it is hot hot hot

Some of the fashion students didn’t make mass… They were asleep in the sewing room having done an all nighter making new Ahopanilolo uniforms ready for the new students. This all nighter scenario is not uncommon… Time management is not a strength among most Tongans and staying up all night to cook for a feast or sew an outfit for an event is common. I am not sure we can change this easily.

The detail on my borrowed ta'ovala

We had a very pleasant evening at Bronya and Greg’s High Commission residence garden for a volunteers poolside barbecue. Hmmmm I could get used to the upmarket expat lifestyle with a cleaner, gardener and security guard tossed in for good measure!

2 thoughts on “church noise, new volunteers & a rain symphony

  1. Wow … I can feel the heat in that cathedral. What a privelidge!


  2. sounds like a busy week. All the best to Saane with her ongoing saga It must be sooooo frustrating for her as wella s for you. Such a continuous bore !! Love the sound sculpture idea. I may even trial … but with my new cohort of Grade 2 students…….. it may just bring the house down
    I’ll let you know if I give it a go !!! XXX TT


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