Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Agriculture Show, October 14, 2011

A large banner hung outside the Queen Salote Memorial Hall proclaiming an Agriculture Show was being held on October 14 and 15 in 'Atele, which is near Tonga College. That would mean a bus ride, and since I didn't know any more about it, I didn't think we'd attend. Then on Thursday, October 13, our principal announced that we'd only have a half day on Friday so students and families could attend the Agriculture Show. Well, that got me interested. I asked about the show and what it was like. Sounded like a worthwhile trip. When I got home there was a call from Peace Corps saying we had an invitation to attend the program on Friday afternoon, and the Peace Corps driver would bring it to our house so we'd have it. Now it was a given--we were going. It's the Royal Agriculture, Fisheries and Industries Show, 2011, and hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forests and Fisheries.

The long view, across the field. There were 2 rows like this with displays.

Visitors view displays of villages' fruits and vegetables.
As we walked onto the grounds it had the air of a county fair. Long lines of booths showed off vegetables and fruits, all beautifully displayed by the villages. There were informational booths, too, such as showing the fish of Tonga, diseases of plants, healthy eating for people, and an area for the judges to sit to make their decisions. Many of the booths displayed handicrafts to be judged. After the awarding of prizes, the food and handicrafts would be for sale.

Some of Tonga's fish and ocean bounty.

Fruits of Tonga.

A pile of tapa and mats to the right. To be judged and sold.

A beautiful display of handicrafts.

Many root crops, bananas, squash, papaya. All being judged and later sold.

During the program we sat in the shade and listened to speeches, the Police Band played, Queen Salote College students danced, and children from 'Atele GPS performed synchronized aerobics. While the Princess toured the exhibits, we were served refreshments (on china). Afterward she gave out the prizes and the proud recipients lined up for the congratulations. What a great idea to reward the efforts of the farmers and the weavers. It's such a wonderful (and important) part of Tonga!

Dancing by Queen Salote College students.

Synchronized aerobics performed by children from GPS 'Atele. They're lining up and waiting to begin.

The Princess views the displays before handing out the awards.

Monday, October 17, 2011

There are markets, and there are markets....

Buying and selling pandanus at Talamahu Market.

Back in March I wrote about Talamahu Market, located in the heart of Nuku'alofa, and full of fruits, vegetables, handicrafts, and a flea market and clothing, too. Open Monday through Saturday, the main days for selling are Friday and Saturday.

Ocean bounty.

Octopus and eel.

There are other markets, though. The fish market and the flea market down by the waterfront are a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning. At the fish market you see all the gifts of the sea. The astounding shapes, sizes and colors never fail to amaze this mid-western woman. 

 If you keep walking (after coffee at Cafe Fresh, which my feet just can't get past without stopping) you will come to the Flea Market. Here is a garage sale lover's dream. All the world for sale in booth after booth--clothing, toothpaste (if you want Crest or looking for Jif, this is the place to buy it!), shoes, tools, jewelry, housewares, cake mixes--well, you get the picture. There is chicken grilling and other ready-to-eat goodies, and bakery, too.  It has a festival/fair air about it. People watching here is great.
Flea Market booths
People out enjoying the day at the Flea Market.

Can you smell it?

Some markets, are yearly events, like the Wesleyan Bazaar, which is held at the end of September.  It's women's month in their church calendar, a time for rededication and an acknowledgment of God's work in their lives. The bazaar has foods to buy, handicrafts, kava circles, and vegetables. Different Wesleyan schools have booths and sell goods as a fundraiser. As I was leaving the bands were getting warmed up to play.
Baskets of vegetables for sale at the Wesleyan Bazaar.

Root crops. The long root is 'ufi (yams).

Baked goods. Kiekie hanging in the back.

Kava Circle.

There are always roadside stands that someone has set up to sell fruits and vegetables. 

Yes, there are markets, and there are markets!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hilliard: Culture Night

Early in term 3 we began talking about Culture Night in our staff meetings, which would be held at the end of term 3. Now if you're a teacher or have worked with children as a group, you know that programs and presentations with children don't just happen. They take a lot of time and effort. Culture Night was to be a fundraiser for the school. Each class chose a different country in the South Pacific to represent and to show something of the culture of that country.  Three weeks before the night, rehearsals began in earnest.  Sometimes the library was used, and I was an audience to their class performance. Teachers struggled to find information about the culture of the different countries that students could present as well as being entertaining. Presentations got changed and reworked. The PTA president is a businesswoman, and she wanted it to show Hilliard in the very best light, as many who came would not be parents, but from the community. She advertised on radio and tv, and provided tents for the night. As we got to the last few days and the final preparations, everyone was tired and stressed.  Finally, the day came.

Form 1 and Form 2 teachers go over last minute details on the morning of the program.

Class 6 students learn to weave palm leaves. They were used for the set on the stage during their presentation.

Setting up the stage.

There was a market of root crops, cakes, and other food donated by the parents for sale. The PTA president set up her restaurant with foods that were easy to serve, and all the proceeds from that night were donated to the school. The band from Beulah College (Seventh Day Adventist High School) played. The teachers sang a hymn, there was a prayer and welcome, and the program began. As the children performed, parents and others came on stage and gave them money. (The custom is to put it on the person, so the stage was a busy place as the students performed!) We learned about the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, the Maoris of New Zealand, etc.  We heard the national anthems, learned about history and geography, heard songs, and found out about customs. The costumes the children wore made it all come to life. An ambitious idea, having a Culture Night, was a success. Everyone went home tired, but pleased. 
Beulah College band entertains.

Teachers on stage after singing a hymn.

A class 1 group representing Papua New Guinea.
Class 2 showed Tongan culture. This was during the national anthem.

Class 4. Solomon Islands.

Class 5. Samoa.

Form 2 finale. The future of the South Pacific is in the hands of our children.

Two form 1 students ready to perform. Maori, New Zealand.

Class 6. Presenting shark hunting, Tongan style.

Form 1, Maori culture, New Zealand. You can see parents and others on stage, too, bringing their donations during the performance.
Class 6 and Form 1 and 2 students perform the final song, "Farewell."