Friday, July 8, 2011

What to do with the children?

PHOTO: The children taking a photo to their "strongest" bridge contest for the Class 1-3.

First and foremost, I want to apologize to everyone for not posting anything for almost two months. I have been very busy at my working at Matamaka with very little time to spare waiting for internet to upload any new blogs. I am currently in IOWA (woot woot) for a short holiday and will be returning to Tonga. I will try to catch everyone up on what has happened since May, while I have the amazing high speed internet available (God Bless America!).

PHOTO: What to do with the children? Cut out stamps...

It may come to no surprise that funerals take precedent over most obligations in Tonga. This unfortunately includes your job. In addition, the trouble of living in a small island is that everyone is related to each other. What does that mean to me? I end up playing substitute teacher for several weeks, while everyone goes off to attend their respective funerals.

At first I was more than happy to "sit in" for a class, but then it got to be a habit. It's frustrating as a volunteer to hear your legally employed and paid counterpart talk about, "I'm going be gone for two weeks, but it's okay I have a Peace Corps to watch my class." Then their off. I am left with a classroom of kids with no lesson plans whatsoever that they have kindly prepared before hand. I am told it's a cultural thing and that I am just thinking like a palangi. "Just keep smiling," I keep telling myself...
PHOTO: The kids cutting out some stamps.

Regardless, the children still show up to school or literally sit outside the front steps of my house. They pretty much look forward to have me as their teacher rather than no teacher (which could possibly mean working in the bush all day). "Oh, hell... someone ring the bell." Then we're off. After a couple hours of Math and English, we started a collecting stamps from around the world that was graciously donated by Detlef of Leipzig, Germany to kill time. The kids cut them up from the envelope/paper and we place them in a box. The older kids then take tweezers to separate them later. We have also done bingo, watched movies from the laptops, coloring, reading, soccer, and pretty much everything in between to keep ourselves busy.

Just another wonderful reason why Tonga is Tonga....

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