November 29, 2010
Ha’apai GPS Culture Day
It’s the end of the school year and all the Government Public School (GPS) children gathered at the Wesleyan Hall in Ha’apai. It was supposed to be outside, but we had a lot of rain. People—parents, relatives, friends, school children, and teachers started gathering there over an hour early. My guesstimate was 700-800 people. Music played loudly while we waited for it to start: polkas, Christmas songs, such as Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells, Joy to the World, Feliz Navidad, and The Little Drummer Boy. All were in English except Feliz Navidad. Five schools (I think) were represented. After the opening prayer and welcome, each school performed one or two dances. You could tell the students and teachers had spent a lot of time learning them, and they danced with pride and precision. The costuming was beautiful. The village school where we live with our host family also participated, and it was fun to see the children we knew perform.
I’m so glad that the Peace Corps encouraged us to attend. What a wonderful way to experience another aspect of the culture by seeing the traditional dances. The encouragement, support, and pride of the families for the children was inspiring.
|Arriving at the Hall.|
|Inside the hall and on stage.|
|The children gather and wait in school groups.|
|Host family members.|
|Getting ready to perform.|