Drum roll please…………… I will be working teaching customer service, hospitality, and cooking in Vava'u. From what I understand, my responsibilities will be mostly geared toward the business end and will have very little to do with cooking. Given that my favorite meal in college was cereal, it is probably for the best. However, I can muster up some tasty desserts when I put my mind to it, so perhaps I can contribute something!
I am very excited about my site placement…I think that teaching will be fantastic and Vava’u sounds wonderful. There are plenty of things to do such as hiking, diving, caving, restaurants, and more. Not to mention many of the resorts are in Vava’u, so hopefully that will entice lots of people to come visit. Also, the group of people heading to Vava’u is pretty awesome, and I think we will have a lot of fun together.
Some other exciting things from this week include my first time serving kava, going to a Mormon dance, and attending missionale at the Wesleyan Church. Serving kava was a vastly different experience than the kava ceremony that Peace Corps had for us when we first arrived. As the toua, a woman is responsible for stirring the kava and filling the coconut shells to be passed around the circle. Usually, the guy sitting to the left of the toua is the one who tries to win her affection. Unfortunately, my potential moa (boyfriend) was only 18 and had awful hair. Not to mention the fact that he didn’t speak English, sigh. My favorite part of going to kava was when they brought out a couple guitars and a ukulele, and began to sing. It was great!
Missionale is an event held by many of the churches in Tonga as their annual fundraiser. At the service we attended, members of the congregation would go up one by one and present their monetary donations. In between each individual donation, a collection plate would be passed around and we would sing a hymn. At the end, the names of the individuals and the amounts they gave were announced along with the grand total. I wonder what percentage of the donations were given out of Christian love and what percentage were from the social pressure of having your name announced?
After the service, there was a huge feast complete with roast pigs, fish (raw and cooked), root crops, crab, chicken, noodles, cakes, hot dogs, eggs, and lots of soda. You could barely see the table there was so much food! After experiencing kai mate (lit: eat until you die), we spent a relaxing afternoon at the beach.
This week and next I will continue with language training in my village, and then I will start technical training. Additionally, I have some culture assignments to do such as weaving my own kiekie and learning a Tongan dance. And hopefully I will learn some cooking skills while I am at it!