Saturday, April 17, 2010

Life after IST...

The last couple of weeks have been very busy. I finally have time to catch up on everything and update my blog. Great news! I just came back from IST in the capitol city of Nuku’alofa and everyone from Group 75 is still here and going strong. “Ain’t no stopping us now…(good song).” It was a very nice break to get away from Vava’u and to experience the big city of Nuku’alofa (after living in Matamaka for almost four months now, Nuku’alofa can be described as a mega-city). I was surprised on how different Nuku’alofa looked liked just from three months ago. Buildings have been going up at a ridiculous rate (compliments to the rapid Chinese investments in Tonga). Nuku’alofa will someday regain its "metropolitan" status after most of the buildings burned down after the riots. Anyway, I really enjoyed catching up with the other volunteers throughout Tonga. Believe it or not, the PC meetings were not that bad either. I actually got to meet some very interesting people through the sessions.

I pretty much could not stop eating everything the entire time I was down there. You can only imagine the number of food options available compared to Vava’u. To be fair, Vava’u does have its fair share of restaurants, but the prices cannot be compared to Nuku’alofa. $12 pa’anga can get you a huge plate of beef curry with rice and a drink at Azaria’s, when you cannot even buy a simple burger for that same price in Neiafu. As a result, I definitely splurged A LOT (maybe too much), but it was SO worth it. A new Indian curry restaurant opened up near St. Andrew’s in Nuku’alofa with take away! Definitely try out the samosas if you ever get a chance to stop by (the best part is, it cost only a pa’anga for each).

The Postcard Project seems to be going very well. I have been getting emails from people around the world for their support. The project has been endorsed by local business Neiafu and a Vava'u/Tongan network website: As a result, I want to say a BIG THANK YOU for everyone’s support. My fellow PCVs from ‘Eua, Ha’apai, and Tongatapu have been kind enough to help me out by placing my advertisement for the project at popular tourist spots on their island group. In addition, I have been trying to contact prominent figures from the US from: Obama, Oprah, to Anderson Cooper. It would be sweet to get a postcard from any of them. Mail is painstaking slow here in Vava’u, so we are still waiting for the initial set of postcards to arrive. Seriously, I know there is a global recession and all, but a postcard is not going to be set you back too much. So, get involved and participate with our little project.

What a bummer! I love taking photos and I just realized I did not take any while I was in Nuku’alofa. As a result, I will post random pictures of Neiafu and Matamaka. Enjoy! I will make sure to take some photos the next time I head down to the capitol. Fakamolemole.

PHOTO: One of my students jumping off a boat by the wharf during sunset. We all had a good time taking turns with our jump shots. Good times at Matamaka.

PHOTO: "Jesus" walking with the cross in Talau. This photo captured Catholics of Vava’u with their festivities during the Easter holiday weekend. The group started from the Catholic Church in Talau to the church in the center of town.

PHOTO: Lela. This is my “adopted” mother of Talau. She is my co-teacher’s mother and she enjoys watching Filipino soap operas. She is a very kind woman.

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