Saturday, October 24, 2009

Site placement!

Ahhhhh the internet, how I've missed you. Today is Saturday in Tonga which means it is my only chance to hitch hike into Pangai, the big town in Ha'apai and try to use the painfully slow internet. Since the last time I've been here I found out that the Phillies are going to the World Series again!! So awesome! As well as where I will be working for the next two years.

This morning I found out that I will be working as an economics and accounting teacher at Ha'apai high school here in Pangai. It is a new school and gets the best students in Ha'apai. Three of my homestay siblings go to school there and from looking at their work and watching them study I can tell that I will have motivated and intelligent students. Outside of academics I should be able to start a secondary project as an after school teacher or possibly a sports coach.

One of the current volunteers, Grant has been telling me all about my housing and what there is to do in Ha'apai. I will be living on the schools campus in teacher housing. My house sounds pretty big with a good size living room, a large bed room and a complete kitchen. The most exciting part is that I'll have running hot water!!!! Which is a real luxury in Tonga and means I will smell a lot nicer here. In my spare time I will be able to take advantage of everything Ha'apai has to offer. Grant will be teaching me and the other volunteers staying in Ha'apai how to make spear fishing rigs and how to use them. I'll also be able to snorkel on the many coral reefs and scuba dive once I become certified. The other great aspect of my post is that I will be in the biggest town on my island. This means I will be close to the only restaurant on the entire island and close to the seven other volunteers placed here in Ha'apai. I can't wait! If you have a chance, send me an email at I am very out of touch with the news and America and would love to hear about what everyone is up to when I check my internet next week.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Homestay Family

The Peace Corps must have know that I was an only child when they placed me with a homestay with thirteen children. I met my homestay family just a few short days ago but already we are getting along very well. I have two homestay parents, Isiah and Honey and ten of their thirteen children still live in their house. Their ages range from three to twenty-two. Even with all of the other children around the house Honey and Isiah still treat me like their own child and prepare breakfast lunch and dinner for me. I have heard some horror stories from other volunteers about what there families have served. Some have told about fried butter sandwiches three times a day and others have been surviving off of speghetti sandwiches. My family has been serving me all kinds of delicacies and I've already had lobster tail four times. And who said the Peace Corps was so tough?

The last few days I have been a little sick here with a mild chest cold. I ended up missing one event, a beach clean up led by Aussies. The event was attended by over 3000 Tongans and was a big success cleaning up the trash here, which seems to be left everywhere or burnt. My homestay family attended the event. When my homestay mother saw me at home after the even she told me that she had been looking for me at the event and that we she heard that I was home sick she said that she felt sick too because of me.

The internet here is very slow and is a 30 min car ride away from my house but I'll try to post again soon. Photos will be coming when I have faster internet. Hope all is well with everyone reading this and in America!

Monday, October 12, 2009

3rd attempt

This is my third attempt at making a blog post. The internet here is as slow as island life. I have already typed up two blog posts that were deleted when I went to post them. But anyway...

Tonga thus far has been pretty amazing. Tongan's are friendly and go out of their way to make us happy and most importantly, extremely full. Every meal here seems to be a feast. Yesterday was Sunday and we had our first church experience. It was tough to follow since it was all in Tongan but I read the first 22 chapters of Genesis to keep myself busy. After church we had a feast that put American Thanksgiving to shame. Complete with a full roasted pig over an open fire -which I helped turn, multiple fish dishes, yams, other Tongan specialties and ice cream. Sundays are pretty amazing here. You are only allowed to do three things; go to church, feast and sleep. I did all there.

During the week most of our time has been spent training. We have been introduced to most of the Tongan staff, who number about twenty and have gone over a ton of Peace Corps policies. In traditional Tongan fashion, our training is broken up by lost of eating. An hour or so before and after lunch we have "tea time" which includes a table that is completely covered with all sorts of baked goods and fresh fruit. It is amazing, but I hope I don't leave Tongan double the size I came in.

In a few hours we will be leaving the capital island of Tongatapu to head to Ha'apai for the next eight weeks or so. In Ha'apai we will all do a home stay with local families and begin intensive language training. Ha'apai is one of the more remote islands in Tonga. There is only one internet cafe and one working computer at the Peace Corps office. This will probably be my last post for the next two months or so but if I have a chance I will certainly post again. I hope this post actually works!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's Official

I guess this is all really going to happen now. Last night I signed all of my official Peace Corps papers and was given my first travel allowance. Today will be filled with meetings and ice breaks from about 10 am until when we get on the airplane tonight at 11 pm. The next three months of training should be busy and challenging, but I think we're all ready for it. My group is composed of a bunch of really interesting people representing almost every state in the country, and even another Eagles fan. Just a short update for now. The next update will be when I'm in Tonga!!!! and have some pictures.