Saturday, November 20, 2010

September: My Parents Came to Tonga

 The month of September got off to a sad start, because my dog Moli disappeared the first week of the month. I went to visit friends on Friday and left her tied up, and when I came back later that night she was gone. She had slipped out of her collar and it was still attached to the rope. I have no idea what happened to her. I searched some in the next couple of days, but there was no sign of her, and I’ve decided I’m officially done with having pets in Tonga, though several people have offered me replacement dogs. I’m really sad she’s gone, but on the bright side I think that maybe now I’ll travel after C.O.S. since I won’t have a dog to take home anymore.

Goodbye Moli- you were a good dog
I helped a little at Camp GLOW, which was held on Tongatapu. It seemed to go really well. I was disappointed because none of the girls from my school ended up attending. I’ve decided that I’m going to get more involved with it next year and try to get some St. Andrew’s girls over there. Anyway, the rest of the month was pretty busy getting final exams written and trying to cram in the rest of the material before the year ended, and as a result I’ve resolved to plan better for next year.

By far the most exciting part of the month was when my parents came to visit on the 27th. Mo’unga was nice enough to drive me to the airport to pick them up, and then we came back to my house, where surprisingly enough, they wanted to stay. I tried to clean it well before they came and sprayed liberal amounts of Mortein. I taught my classes and they came and introduced themselves to the Form Ones. Mom brought gifts of candy and pencils, which were a big hit. Then went into town by bus and walked around a bit, and unfortunately Mom twisted her ankle at the market so we went back.

On Friday we had a “work-a-thon” at the school and singing practice. I had Mom and Dad come to the morning assembly, where they were recruited to hand out certificates to the form one boys who did the “rubbish patrol.”

That night we went to a feast and culture show at Oholei Beach, on the east side of the island.
At Captain Cook's Landing Place on the way to the show.

Fire dance!

On Saturday we did an island tour with Tai, which was fun. It took all day and went around the entire island. We saw:

The Ancient Tombs at Lapaha...

Captain Cook's Landing Place (picture c/o Tai, haha)...
The "Fishing Pigs"...
The Ha'amonga...
'Anahulu Cave...
Keleti Beach...
The Natural Landbridge..

The Blowholes...
  Liahona, the two-headed coconut tree, and Abel Tasman’s landing place (no pictures, sorry!). Sunday we went to Pangaimotu Island, where we had lunch and lounged around on the beach.

August: Preparing for Finals and School Bazaar

This month was a bit hectic. We finished up the last of the Internal Assessments in my Form 5 class. This turned out to be stressful because just as I was trying to teach my students how to do a persuasive speech, the principal decided to send the students who hadn’t paid their school fees home (which of course was more than half my class). So right when I was trying to teach uncooperative, uninterested fifth formers how to write speeches, (not to mention forcing them to write and perform them) in the span of about two weeks so I could send their marks in, they kept being sent home!

That was really frustrating, and a big part of why I’m asking not to teach Form five next year- it’s just so much pressure! And of course I’m still figuring out each new thing as I go. Also, I realized that the third term is my last chance to teach everything left in the year, because the fourth term is purely finals. I should have known this, but I was thinking for some reason that I had two terms of teaching left, and I was rather shocked when I made that realization.

Near the end of the month, we had two big events. Firstly, Kulaea, who is one of the teachers and Naite’s daughter, left to go to school in China. She got a scholarship from the Chinese government to study computers. She’s super smart and hardworking, so I know she’ll do really well, but it was sad to see her go.

At the same time, we got two new volunteers from New Zealand, Rachel and Simon. They are a retired couple and they both taught music in their careers. They will be here for the next three months, staying in the apartment above the staff room.

The same evening we also had a birthday party for Marie. We held it at Josh’s house and had a Mexican food potluck, which was delicious!

The next weekend, we had our school bazaar, which is a big fundraiser for the school. They sell vegetables, plants, coconuts and firewood from the school ‘uta, furniture made by the Industrial Arts department, artwork by the Fine Arts department, handicrafts made or donated by the students, and of course, food! I donated some chicken legs and banana muffins, which made a few pa’anga for my class. I also bought a fan to decorate my house. There were a lot of people who came, but there were a lot of things left over at the end. I noticed the teachers buying most of it up, which was nice of them.