Sunday, February 15, 2009

L-O-V-E day

Valentine's day was yesterday. Brett got up early and snuck out on my bike to find me flowers, there are a lot of really pretty local flowers around here. He was picking some pink flowers out of a bush hanging over from someone's yard when he hear a little boy from a tree in the yard yelling "Oua!! Palangi stop it! Stop it palangi!"!!!! He got yelled at by a little boy for picking the flowers! So he quickly biked away and found some more in another spot. It was really nice to get the flowers though.

The rest of the day we spent at matafonua beach on the northern tip of Foa island, an hour bike ride in the hot weather here. Alicia and Sarah joined us later, we hung out until a little before sunset then biked back and Brett and I made tuna patties and rice for dinner. Alicia got bit by her first molokau (large centipede) the other day in her house, it sounds really painful! And another volunteer here might have dengue fever, you get it from mosquito bites and there are a lot of mosquitos around lately. They're small, faster than the mosqutios back home, and really quiet- they don't buzz like back home.

I started helping out a little at the Ha'apai Youth Congress here. They get small business loans to help out unemployed youth to start their own businesses (youth doesn't mean just teenagers, you're basically considered youth until you get married). So I'll help advise some of the local businesses like a DVD store, weaving, and growing vegetables, and help with other basic editing/reporting skills. Next week there's a workshop through the Youth Congress for teaching a new group here how to be peer educators with HIV awareness so I'll attend that. The manager of the Youth Congress is also going to be our language tutor for me and Brett starting next week. We haven't been using Tongan very much so this will help. I'm still waiting to begin at my other primary jobs. The head of MAFF is still sick in Nuku'alofa and the counterpart for the computer center is also sick (possibly) and no one else works there. There's a lot of interest from the community in the computer classes at the center, so hopefully things will work out, but I can't do it on my own without a counterpart. The whole idea of Peace Corps is to create sustainability so I need to train someone here with the skills to carry on the computer center classes.

Brett's school is a pilot school for testing out new English curriculum for classes 3 and 4 so they had workshops last week, and he'll start co-teaching pretty soon. The government here feels that kids are losing their Tongan language because they start English so early, and many kids can't write or read in Tongan. There's a very limited amount of books and materials in the Tongan language. Instead of starting English in class 1 they're going to wait until class 3 now. And later on kids will have a choice to have their classes all in English or Tongan.

I hope everyone's doing well back home, Happy Valentine's Day!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brett and Katie, You both look wonderful. It is obvious you have made a great adjustment and are enjoying your adventure.

We are enjoying warmer weather on the Gulf of Mexico in Orange Beach, Alabama. We left Hawley on January 10 planning to spend a few days in Minneapolis before heading to the coast. However an approaching winter storm front caused us to leave Minneapolis Sunday night at 8pm. We drove to Waterloo,Iowa arriving about midnight. We left there by 7am as the same front was scheduled to arrive there by mid morning. So we got to our destination early but we were able to get into our rented condo right away so it was okay. Will wasn't happy we left early.

Friends from Hawley surprised us and drove to this area. We have a one bedroom condo so helped them find lodging. They planned to stay one week but liked the area so much they stayed two weeks. We kept busy taking them places. Olaf has been able to golf quite a bit which he enjoys. He also walks the beach everyday. That isn't my favorite pastime so I go to Curves. We attend a Minnesota breakfast every week where we make new friends and find upcoming activities. We have also gotten very well acquainted in the church we attend. It is really starting to feel like a second home.

We plan to be here until March 1. Need to be in Minneapolis for Will's birthday on March 21. The only drawback for being here so long is we get lonesome for Will. Talked to Will last week and he asked what we were doing. I told him I was on the deck and all I could see was water and lots of white sand. If I looked over the edge I could see some children swimming in the pool. He then asked "Just where are you guys anyway?"

We enjoyed the e-mail you sent after Christmas as well as reading your blog. There is no excuse for us to not write a note more often. Will try to do better.

Take care. Love, Olaf and Dianne