Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Weekend Update

Here are a few updates from this last week - Thursday was the last day of school for Brett's students. So they had a program with dancing, lots of long speeches, and class presentations. For each class, they called the students' names and had them stand in front of the whole school and all the parents that were watching. But they called the names in a certain order - starting with the worst student to the smartest student. So everyone could see the order and knew how each kid did in school. I can't imagine that happening in the US, those poor kids that didn't do so well! The class 6 students got their scores back from their big exam which determines what high school they will attend. Those scores are announced later this month on the radio for everyone to hear. Over half of Brett's class made it into the local government high school which is really good, the rest are able to attend church-run high schools. Below is a video of some of the dancing the kids did. The kid in the corner of the video was playing drums on a peice of tin roof. The guy laughing at the end is Brett's class 6 teacher. The second video shows some kids singing at the year-end celebration.

On Friday through the weekend we had a married couple, Kathy and Rob, from the new group stay with us for what Peace Corps calls attachment. The trainees all go and stay with current volunteers to see what real Peace Corps life is like. I think they were all pretty happy to be done with homestay and to have more freedom. On Friday we all went out to Mariner's for karoake, it was fun to have a new big group of people there and to get some new songs in instead of the same old songs that are usually done. Then on Saturday we all went to Uoleva island for a day trip. We went snorkeling and Brett speared a nice sized parrot fish. Brian also caught quite a few fish in deeper waters - the entire time he said a shark was following him. So I think the new volunteers saw a good part of life here in Ha'apai.

Now Brett's done with his job at the school - the school year here runs Feb - early Dec., but I'm still working. He's just been hanging around the house enjoying time off, and doing some paddle boarding with the foam surf board Phil left. At MAFF on Monday I helped with planting some flowers, they had a workshop on Tuesday with people from the main island so they were trying to get the place looking really nice before the meeting. I heard that they're expecting months without rain, a really dry rainy season this year. They've even been trying to conserve some of the city water by turning it off at night. But of course just as we were hanging our clothes out to dry after doing laundry today it did rain a little. We don't have much planned for the rest of this week. Next week on Monday is the Tourism Festival (it's not really for foreign tourists since it's the off-season, but for overseas Tongans that are returning for the holidays).

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