Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ping pong anyone?

 Last Sunday we had a special Sunday feast with 3 of last year’s Peace Corps Volunteers who lived in this house and this village. Somehow the large kitchen table was moved to the porch as we all ate together. The table has remained on the porch. Yesterday ping pong paddles and a ball appeared, And the ping pong battles began.

This afternoon I was trimming the fibers for Jim’s kafa (the rope that ties his tu’avala). I had a ringside seat to observe the games. Four males (3 teens and one adult) were playing. The four young children were underneath, or playing/squabbling nearby. The 2 women of the family came in and out as they had time, or when the children needed them. It was great fun with a lot of teasing and laughing. One young man took it all very seriously, and would argue heatedly that he had made the point, or that his competitor hadn’t. The rest were more easy-going about the whole thing. They played for several hours. A great way to spend an afternoon. It rained, but we were covered and protected.

Now it’s evening and I noticed that the table has been moved to the back of the porch again. Will the ping pong games continue? I hope so. Maybe I should start practicing… I used to be pretty good a lifetime ago. Hmmmm….

November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a grand day it was! All 26 of us gathered at the Hall with our food. The village groups had planned the dishes, bought and prepared the food.

But let me back up and explain more about the day…..

Our host family attends the Wesleyan Church, and today was also a feast day for them---Misonale. It’s the day that each family contributes a yearly donation for the work of the church in the coming year. So, the preparations were of epic proportions. Many people were there to help. Five suckling pigs were roasting over an open fire, the umu (underground oven) was packed full, 8 cakes had been baked in the umu last night, the kitchen was full of side dishes, chicken marinating in soy sauce and garlic, and the list goes on and on. Add to that ---it rained all morning. Children played on the porch.

Now here come 4 Peace Corps Trainees with a turkey, ingredients for dressing, and gravy to make. Talk about stretching a kitchen beyond its limits! Well, we had asked to use the electric roaster and we took it to our bedroom to heat. Before they got too involved in the kitchen (7-8 A.M.) we mixed up the dressing and put it in foil packets, put the turkey in the roaster, along with the dressing, and got out of the way. (Oh, and we ran out of salt and had to find some in the pouring rain. But crisis averted, and the salt was added.)  About 11:30 the turkey was done, and we managed to borrow enough utensils to get the gravy made. Hooray!

When we came back, our family was at church and we cleaned up our pans. Then it was relax and enjoy. Some of the older children and teens were here, and they took care of younger ones and played ping pong while the adults were in church. The rain stopped in the late afternoon.

A great, successful day was had by all!

                                                            Getting ready for Misonale.
                                               Peace Corps volunteers gather for Thanksgiving.

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