Sunday 12 October 2014

Snap Shots of Tonga

What an amazing time we have had visiting our Tongan sister school Takaulai College in Lapaha. Such lovely hospitable people who really looked after us. We were supposed to be helping them out, but I think we learnt more from their open hearted generosity and the gratitude they have for their family lives. 

This lovely lady is Sr Kilistina. She is the super Nun who did the Tonga end of the organising of our trip, looked after us, organised which classes our girls were to help in, smoothed things out when we didn't quite know what the correct cultural way was, drove us everywhere we needed and wanted, took us to the best swimming spots and so much more. We couldn't thank her enough.  

View from the balcony on the day we arrived. I didn't realise what great gardeners the Tongan people are. Every family has a block of land in the country where they grow food for their families and for the market. Having an excellent garden is also a source of great pride.  

The indoor produce market in Nukialofa. Everything was $3 Tongan dollars. It was heavenly.

My lovely host and Tongan Colleague and friend Teisa. Staying with her family was a definite highlight. They made the girls and I so welcome. We were never hungry with all this great traditional Tongan food and they were also such great company to sit and chat with. Teisa sewed my traditional Tongan dress for me so I could be appropriately attired to attend Mass. It was such a special day.

Teisa's nephew cooking the pig the traditional way for Sunday lunch. It was delicious. They clean and baste it throughout the cooking process with coconut water from the green coconuts. 

One cooked piggy. It was delicious.

Some of the Vaka family just prior to Sunday lunch. They told me I had to eat like a Tongan, and it wasn't hard to give it my best shot with all the delicious food on offer. The Tongan kumara - it's purple like a Maori potato - was really tasty, as was the raw fish salad. In Tonga the land is never sold. It passes down the males of the family, so each generation is the caretaker for the future of the family.

My dear friend Sr Monica. Without her the trip would not have gone ahead. She nursed us through all the cultural differences and acted as out go-between with the school we visited. I love this photo because she looks so happy and relaxed to be back in Tonga.

Teisa made these amazing cakes for the Primary School assessors that visit every year to run the assessments that decide which High Schools the students go to. She gave me the recipes to try out, so I hope to blog these in the near future.

A little group of Takaulai College students. Helping, where we can, these beautiful children was the whole reason for our visit, but I think they taught us more than we did for them.

And the last picture goes to Neo. This super little man is the youngest of the Vaka family. He is actually 4, though so tall you would always guess him to be older. We really enjoyed his company in Tonga, and I know he enjoyed the attention of all those visiting Villa girls.

If you ever get offered the opportunity to experience life in a Tongan village, take it with both hands. Malo, Kingdom of Tonga, you have treated us so well.

No comments:

Post a Comment