Sunday, November 29, 2009


This last week has been very busy for us. On Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with all the new trainees, our group of volunteers here in Ha'apai, and the Peace Corps staff that's been here for training. In all I think there were around 50 of us. With so many people, we did a potluck meal, and had 4 turkeys and a roasted pig. Brett and I made apple crisp (there just happened to be apples in Pangai a week ago so we bought lots), and banana bread. Others did stuffing, potatoes and sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, salad, green bean casserole, biscuits, and more. Here's a photo of the new group of volunteers (plus Phil) that we took at our Thanksgiving meal. They leave their homestays this coming Friday, then stay with current volunteers for attachment over the weekend to see what volunteer life is like. We'll have a married couple staying with us. Then the new group of volunteers will swear in and move in to their sites, before Christmas.
We've also had a lot of gatherings lately for Phil and Aki, who are both finishing up their 2-year service here in Ha'apai. After our big Thanksgiving feast we had a feast the next day at Brett's school for both of them, along with the kids perfoming some dances. Then a party at Mariner's cafe, with some great food, drinks, and of course karoake since it was a Friday night.
And tonight we're having a dinner at our place for Phil before he leaves tomorrow morning. Since not all of our friends in town were with us for Thanksgiving this is also kind of a post-Thanksgiving feast - with stuffing, potatoes, etc. again. And we decided instead of turkey to have a Tongan chicken, they taste pretty good- a leaner kind of meat. At first Brett was going to chase and kill a chicken on his own with a sling shot, but then decided to just get it from one of his teachers at school. So today we went to the catholic church service, it was a special service for the kids and had really pretty singing, and even some readings in English. Then after the service his teacher brought us a box with a chicken in it, he wasn't sure if it was dead yet so had a string tied to it's legs in case it tried to fly away. We biked back with the box, and realized in fact it was not dead yet. We weren't sure how we felt about killing it or how to kill it, so had our friend Brian kill it (he just ripped the head right off). Then our neighbors helped us pluck all the feathers, and gut the chicken.

It's sad to see our friends leave, who we've spent this past year with. It won't be the same without them here, but we're also looking forward to the new group of volunteers that will be living here with us. Some things I'll miss from Aki and Phil - learning japanese words from Aki and how it's the rabbit in the moon and not the man in the moon in Japan, and hearing about Phil being chased by dogs and throwing his umbrella in fury, and sharing the fish he's speared for meals. It's funny how many different types of people we've met on our small island here.

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