Sunday, October 10, 2010
It has been a jam-packed first week for PCT (Peace Corps Trainees)! We were greeted by PCV (Peace Corps Volunteers) and PC Staff at the airport on Monday. What a wonderful sight. There are 26 of us in group 76. Language, culture, and safety have been the main topics. We have been served wonderful breakfasts before starting out for the Peace Corps office each morning. The staff is very professional, yet friendly and helpful at all times. The schedule is well laid out and we know we are in excellent hands, all to make us more comfortable in Tonga and able to eventually serve here.
Sunday is day of rest in Tonga. Legally we can walk (stroll), eat, go to church, and rest. It’s a day I really needed. Time to catch up with this new and interesting life. We had an opportunity to attend one of three different churches: Weslyan Church of Tonga, Catholic Church, and Church of Tonga. We went to the Weslyan Church. It was very large with a high (3-story?) ceiling. Doors on the sides open to the outside air. There was singing before church began—a capella and in harmony from the congregation. But that was just the beginning. The brass band and the choir came in, and then the music really soared, filling the church with praise and thanksgiving. So my word of the day is faka oko oka! Beautiful!
We came back to the Peace Corps office for a feast with many traditional foods. There was a whole pig baked in an ‘umu, along with taro leaves stuffed with chicken and other meats. We had salads of all kinds, and fresh coconut milk and coconut scraped out of the shell after we drank the liquid. The kumala (sweet potato) is delicious, too. We walked back to the house and I was really ready for the next Sunday activity—resting!
We finished our day with a stroll to the ocean and around about. We’re starting to get a little familiar with where things are—and how to get back.
It was a faka ofo ofa day!