Saturday, August 13, 2011

Close of Service Conference (YIPPEE!!!)

Photo: Group photo of the PC Tonga COS Conference Group Pic.

We made it! Group 75 just wrapped up our Close of Service (COS) conference in Tongatapu from August 9-11th. The event happened at the beautiful Liku'alofa Beach Resort on the Western Side of Tongatapu island. The entire conference will be the last time most of us volunteers will see each other before leaving Tonga. Our Programming Director also wrapped up her service in Tonga that same week. We have more than half of the original volunteers still here in Tonga (which is an amazing number for Tonga!).

Photo: One of the sessions during the COS conference and candle light ceremony.

The COS conference provided important information about being a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV). Sessions were held concerning international job opportunities, reconnecting back to US culture, and other fairly important topics. We also received our estimated value of a return ticket to our home of record. I was amazed $100 TOP flight difference between Cedar Rapids, IA and people flying into LAX?!?! Regardless, it was time to reflect and celebrate our service here in Tonga as it draws to a close.

Photo: Team Fanga'e'olunga, the only village during PST that survived the entire two years.

During the week we enjoyed a delightful Tongan floor show and buffet. The food was absolutely delicious. The resort offered an assortment of authentic Tongan dishes from the roasted pig to 'ota ika or raw fish. YUM! Throughout the week, the kitchen staff conjured up other scrumptious dishes from chicken curry to beef and mushrooms. Furthermore, the tree top bar at the resort offered a spectacular view of the ocean and classic South Pacific sunsets. We were lucky enough to see a few humpback whales swimming over the horizon on one of the days.

Photo: Team Vava'u Volunteers. From the top left going clockwise: Ashley- Melifihi College; Carolyn- Tailulu College; Dominica- 'Utungake GPS; Kelly- Channel College; Robert- Vava'u High School; and me- Matamaka GPS.

Now that COS is over, reality is starting to sink in. Most of PCVs will be in the process of finishing up our primary and secondary projects, packing up our houses, and saying our goodbyes very soon. It is mind boggling how fast the two years have flown by. Yes, it seemed slow at many points, but I can't believe we've been here for so long. As for me, I have begun the process of job hunting. If anyone is interested in hiring a RPCV, particularly me, let me know :)

****Photo credits to PCV John O'Malley of Tailulu College Ha'apai. Google "John outside the lines" for his PC blog.****

1 comment:

  1. Hey Congrats on your COS! We have our conference in 2 weeks-I can't wait! Good luck during the last few months!