|Sitting under a mango tree (It's always coolest under a mango tree.) and eating a ripe mango. Doesn't she look happy?|
Starting last week eating mangoes became a national pastime. Last year we had no mangoes on our island of Tongatapu. So many things, I learned, affect the growing of mangoes: wind or a storm when they're flowering, strong winds while they're developing. Everyone has been watching the mango trees--and waiting and hoping.
|A mango tree in bloom. Now the waiting begins.|
|Mangoes almost ready to eat. I'm learning when they're ripe. They still seem hard to me, but, of course, the Tongans are right, and they're ripe when they tell you they are.|
They're ripe and ripening! Everywhere I look people are eating mangoes. They're throwing rocks and sticks at the trees to knock them down. People are sharing them. Everyone is happy eating them. They either have some or they're looking for some. Yesterday a teacher gave me a 2-litre ice cream container full of already skinned mangoes. What a sweetheart! We eat them with cereal. I've made mango salsa. They're delicious with yogurt on pancakes. We have mango banana bread in the freezer. We just eat them. Some Tongans eat them skin and all--well, not the large pit. That you just suck clean. Mangoes that have ripened on the tree are like eating sunshine. It makes you happy all over. The season is short, and when they're gone, they're gone. Eat on!
|Lunch was late for our teachers' workshop, so out came the mangoes as an appetizer. They came out of bags and containers. Everyone was offered one--or more. (We're in the meeting hall of Beulah College, which is a Seventh Day Adventist high school.)|
|People at TIST try to get their mangoes using a pole...|
|and a ladder.|
|The happy look a mango brings.|