Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vignettes of Life

A group of PCVs came up to Ha’ano for the weekend, and we went to a beach on the other side of the island for a picnic. As this was a Tongan picnic, the girls brought the root crops to boil, and the guys went spear fishing for some fish to grill. After a delicious, fresh meal, we started back to the village.

We were with a Tongan friend too, and he, like many other Tongans, doesn’t always wear shoes. The tides forced us to walk especially sharp volcanic rocks, and our friend Sila delicately made his way over the stones. At one point, I look over at him, and he’s putting on a shoe he found on the beach.

Did the sandal fit? No. Was it even a whole, working shoe? No. But he was so glad to have that one.

The past couple of weeks have been great whale watching in Tonga. Most tourists go to Vava’u, but I think they should have come to my house a couple of weeks ago. For about a week, I saw at least one whale every day from my porch. Sometimes they were close enough to hear their breathing through the blowholes, and other times they were just sleeping in the sun it seemed. There might be a couple of boats filled with tourists chasing the whales to get a good look, but it was mostly the whales, Tongans, and me.

One day, I went into town with the rugby team to watch their game. Just as we arrived to Pangai, it started to pour. Fortunately, I had my raincoat, so I and the other PCVs just watched from under our hoods. Most Tongans just stood out in the rain, unfazed. One guy, it seems, was a little more concerned. Instead of standing out in the rain like a sucker, he covered up… with a bucket lid. He walked up and down the sidelines following the game with a bucket lid on his head. I can’t say that did much to stop the torrential downpour.

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