Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stills from Tu'anikevale

For Tahi...

During the past six weeks of training our little crew in Tu'anikevale has grown quite close, unexpectedly so I might add, and it is sad to end our Tongan version of summer camp as we are sent across the nation to various attachments. Sadder still is that we two members of our crew have resigned from training and are flying back to the states tomorrow. I am hurt to see them go and feeling a little lost without Trent, or Tahi in Tongan. I have to accredit Trent with a lot of the bonding that occurred in our group through, if nothing else than, making us laugh when we didn't think we'd make it this far. Many of you may not have recognized his talent, but Trent was an aspiring poet. He asked if I could put up some of his poems on my blog. (Apparently a lot of people actually read this mush I type up.) Trent, this is for you with love. Poems by Trent Wallace MONGOMONGA Mongomonga in my room Mongomonga full of doom They are big and fast and black And they’re always coming back Mongomonga go away This to God above I pray If my wish is not fulfilled Mongomonga you’ll be killed Molokau Oh Mr. Molokau Please tell me why You make people scared And make people cry Maybe it’s because You have hundreds of feet Or maybe because You are always discrete Maybe because You always seem mad Or maybe just simply Your sting hurts so bad Maybe it’s because You’re shaped like a stick Or maybe because You’re just so darn quick Maybe I can’t answer The question of why Yeah maybe, just screw it I hope you all die!!! HIGHS AND LOWS As I walk down the street In my village today All the Tongans I pass Say “Malo lei lei” My spirits are high A smile on my face I feel like I’m home Yes, I love this place Snap back to reality I hear a yelp A dog’s being beaten I think he needs help I hold back my rage With all of my might Because sadly, in Tonga This behavior’s alright When language is over We take to the court We shoot hoops and play rugby Or some other sport Everyone’s happy We have such a blast We all laugh and play Time passes so fast Snap back to reality My shower’s cold as can be And the spider above Is bigger than me As I shampoo my hair I keep open one eye If the bastard touches me There’s no doubt I’ll die Just when I think I won’t make it a year My house father shouts “Tahi, come drink a beer!” I eat a huge supper That’s fit for a king When I’m with my family I need not a thing Snap back to reality I’m reading in bed When I hear a noise That fills me with dread A Mongomonga flies by And makes my skin crawl He gives me the finger And lands on the wall I choke down some Nyquil While I drift off to sleep I pray to the Lord My soul he will keep My dreams are all filled With family and friends And a girl that I like Please don’t let it end Snap back to reality Very quickly I wake To roosters and kids And bells, for God’s sake Although I’m quite pissed On my face a smile grows In Tonga you deal With the highs and the lows 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Assignment...

It now appears to be the time for me to put on my big girl pants. I have been assigned to work with the Ministry of Education of Tonga to develop and implement a special education/ inclusive education program. I will live in the capital city, Nuku'alofa pop. 20,000, and be housed by the ministry. My job will include working in a special education classroom, teaching a course on inclusive education at the Teacher Training College and traveling to the various island groups to raise awareness for inclusive education. I am, while flattered, feeling grossly under qualified. I was preparing myself to teach in a small hut-like classroom to a group of less than 20 students but someone saw something else and probably just enough book knowledge to qualify me. Do not get me wrong, I am thrilled to receive this position and ecstatic just knowing how much I can do; but with that same power, I am scared. Wish me luck, friends.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tu’anikevale: Kaukautahi

I happen to be one of the lucky PCTs that is stationed directly off the ocean and at dusk we often visit the various beach access to the ocean or the lookout points. The kids head off to their swimming spot everyday and glad for us to tag along when we can. The Tongan phrase for swimming in the ocean is ‘kaukautahi’, which literally translates to ocean shower or ocean bath; very fitting for the sweaty, mango-mustached children that partake every day. As we were jumping in from the road into the dammed area, a fellow PCT and I stepped back just to watch. He whispered, “We are jumping into the ocean on a far away island with the village children. It’s just like a movie.” And it was. Only far better. Here are some of my favorite pictures: