Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy APRIL!

Hello everyone, it has been awhile since I had the opportunity to catch up on my blog. I have been spending more time at Matamaka and have been very busy with a bunch of random things. I will only be coming into town at least once a month for the remainder of my service to maximize my time at the island. As a result, blog entries will be delayed and so will be the update for the incoming and outgoing of postcards. Please be patient, we are experiencing a heavy influx of postcards lately. Furthermore, I am starting to hand over more responsibilities to the Tongan staff to ensure the sustainability of the project for many more years to come. Lastly, we just finished the first term and I spent a lot of time teaching students how to write in English more effectively. Everything should be up and running by the start of the next term.

PHOTO: CDU staff and teachers for the special workshop at Matamaka GPS.

Wow, where has all the time gone? We just wrapped up the first term and I am taking some time away from my site for the week break. We had much progress on several issues at Matamaka GPS this past term. For example, we successfully approved an effective school plan and budget for the academic school year. Our new he
ad principal, Pitisi, has shown great leadership over the entire transition at her first year with the position. Futhermore, Matamaka GPS opened our brand new authentic Tongan handicraft store at the school library (will appear in a later blog). PTA members have donated various handicrafts for sale to visitors to our school. All the proceeds will be given back to the PTA for purchase of petrol to run the generator and other expenses of the school. So far we have had great response from all of our visitors and revenue has started to come in.

Matamaka GPS also hosted numerous important visitors this past term. Official Peace Corps staff from Nuku'alofa and abroad were warmly welcomed. A representative from the World Bank from Washington DC also visited our school. The World Bank has been funding a special Educational Grant in Tonga that will expire in June. As a result, the visit was to investigate the positive results of the grant. From the last I heard, NZAID will pick up the cost for the following year (that is still yet to be confirmed).

PHOTO: CDU staff eating some food after the workshop.

We also had the privileged to host members from the Curriculum Development Unit of the Ministry of Education from Tongatapu. The numerous consultants held a special outer-island session in Matamaka to follow up on the progress of the new syallabus that came into effect in all of the government primary school this academic year. The meeting was a success like all the others.
PHOTO: The workshop. Look at all of them working so hard or hardly working? lol.

Tourist season is just around the corner as summer in Tonga is finally going away. What does that mean? COOLER WEATHER! I can finally sleep at night without having to drown in my sweat (no electricity= no electric fan). Yachts will slowly fill the area around Vava'u and I look forward for their visit in Matamaka. BUT THE BEST PART....THE WHALES WILL BE BACK! I have yet to swim with whales and it is one of the few things I need to check off before I leave Tonga!

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