Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sport Week

April 19, 2011

Sport Week: Track and Field
This morning while at work I could hear cheering and yelling. It’s the beginning of “sport week” and the stadium where all the high school teams and students gather is about a 5 minute walk from here. It will last 3 days, and then there is a 4-day Easter weekend. Of course this looked like the perfect opportunity to see another aspect of Tongan life. Later that morning I enlisted 2 of the JICA volunteers to come with me and we walked to the stadium. I’ll show you the pictures, but you’ll have to imagine the energy, the noise, and the excitement.
There were teams from every high school, and the student bodies of each had a section to sit under tent roofs to cheer them on. They are dressed in their school uniforms. I heard a brass band from one high school, and there may have been more. I saw team uniforms from Vava’u and ‘Eua, too, so I’m guessing Ha’apai also had a team. One of the sponsors of the event gives a cash prize to the school with the most spirit, so the cheers rock the stadium. Both inside and outside the stadium there were vendors selling food and beverages. It had the air of a fair and a time to celebrate and enjoy. Here are the pictures. Just add the sound effects.

A few of the vendors.

Team ready to warm up and compete.

Receiving awards.
 The cheering and bands continued all 3 days. We could even hear it from our house, which is a good 15-minute walk away.

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