We've talked a lot lately about how we wish we could upload more pictures or videos of the daily goings on of our lives - Words often fail to fully capture what life is like here on a daily basis. We really haven't been able to do much of it since we've moved to our site. One of the reasons for this is because we don't have Mandy and her nice camera with us at all times like we did during training. But mainly, we just feel uncomfortable with the stigma of being the rich white folks flashing their camera around. But hopefully, as time progresses and we and our neighbors become more comfortable with each other, we'll eventually have time to take and upload some more.
For the time being, here are a few of the many things that I wish I could capture by way of pictures or video:
- Kava. The atmosphere of a kava circle, the process of passing the bowls, the joking, the music, the hand-rolled cigarettes.
- Church. Hymns veritably yelled in perfect harmony. The men sleeping through the pastor's screamingly loud sermon because of their pre-church kava. Everyone sweating bullets in the humid heat as they are wrapped in gigantic, woven tau'ovalas.
- Feasts. The spread of food presented with pride. The tear-filled speeches of people doing nothing more than acknowledging the pastor, noble, and town officer.
- Dancing. Almost every night of the week, there is some sort of traditional Tongan dance rehearsal. Sometimes, there's not even a performance in the near future. It is done simply because it is the village's nighttime entertainment.
- The center of town during the evening. The guys trash talking each other as they play volleyball or rugby. The women gossiping on the stoop of the fale koloa.
- Swimming by the wharf during a rainstorm (every Tongan youth's favorite time to swim)
- Men (or boys) riding horseback returning from the bush with a load of root crops or fruit.
- Boys running around, playing with complete and utter freedom. Want to go jump of the wharf? Climb a coconut tree? Throw rocks at a bee hive? Play rugby? Explore the bush? Dig for crabs? Sure. Absolutely anytime. No supervision necessary. I'm convinced that in many ways, this would be the best place for a boy to grow up and just be a boy.
- Everyone chatting and waiting at the wharf for the boat to be ready to leave. So far, our record is an eight hour wait time.
- Riding the tractor, the only land-faring vehicle in the village, from the wharf to our house.
- Our neighbors. And when I say neighbors, I really mean our whole village. When you live in a place with only 30 houses, everyone feels like your neighbor. We have finally gotten to the point where we pretty much know every person in the village. Though the language barrier is always there, we feel more and more connected to them every day. We wish we could show you a picture and tell you about each and every one of them.