Mark and I moved to the main island just in time to welcome and celebrate Peace Corps Tonga Group 78 at their official swearing - in ceremony. This group of 14 girls and 1 guy have been really fun to get to know. Their arrival has spurred on much reflection on our part, as well as for the rest of us in group 77. It is amazing to look back at how much we have all grown. I'm really proud of our entire group (we are all still here), and I'm really proud of myself.
With the swearing-in and eventual departure of the new volunteers to their new homes, there were many get togethers and goodbyes. I think in a mere two weeks here we had a busier social life than we had had in the last whole year on the island! It was really good, but I'll be honest, a little overwhelming.
We jumped in at full speed at our new school....which has also been quite the adjustment and, I'll admit, overwhelming. Most days we come home from school almost unable to speak. Our voices are not used to singing and talking all day- Especially over all these kids! It's been fun to teach Christmas songs, and to get to know the teachers at our new school. We are also learning a traditional Tongan dance with all of our students. I think it is incredibly cool, but we will let you all be the judge and hopefully post some videos soon. The big performance is this Friday.
A big part of our last month here has also been about rugby. I'm not much one to be into sports, but I really couldn't help myself! The World Cup Rugby League was (is?) happening and rugby is a really really really big deal in Tonga. The Tongan team- Mate ma'a Tonga (die for Tonga) played really well, but ultimately didn't make it into the quarter finals ( they were second). We got to spend a few mornings at school, crowded into a classroom with at least 200 other people, watching the games on the tiniest of televisions you could think of. Tongans are the BEST celebrators- most of the time my ears were ringing. I wish I had recorded the shouts and dances and cheers...just really amazingly fun.
Then last week, the Tongan rugby team returned home from England. I Think, literally, that every single person on this island welcomed them home. Hundreds met them at the airport, the villages on the route from the airport to the capital city prepared shows and dances along the way. The capital city was crazy- people everywhere, everyone in red, everyone dancing and shouting. I loved it. We snapped a few photos but it really doesn't do it justice....
This is one street in town...it was like this for blocks and blocks.
This is Fuifui- one of the players. He's the only one we know because he has amazing hair.
Other than school, rugby, and Internet....we are mostly just counting down the days until we are HOME. We are incredibly excited, and happy that this time has been busy, as time always moves faster when you've got stuff going on.