Peace Corps Videos

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Tonga Style

I am thankful that I live in a wonderful place surrounded by people I really like and I'm doing something that I enjoy. On Thanksgiving day, I joined 20 fellow Americans in celebrating Thanksgiving Day Tonga style.

Sarah looking oh so fabulous. We been planning the day for more than a month. In Vava'u, it's not easy to get all the ingredients you need to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal. But thanks to our party organizer and my fellow volunteer Sarah, we had a great meal with turkey and all the trimming.

Sarah has able to get a local restaurant to give us their kitchen and their dining room for the day at no charge. They closed and we took over. It's summertime and the off season here and they probably would not have had a lot of customers anyway. In fact, they may have made more off of our bar tab then they would have with paying customers.Our Group of Americans getting ready to have Thanksgiving dinner in Vava'u.

The Mana'ia Restaurant is located right at the edge of the water. It's one of the nicest restaurant settings in all of Vava'u and we were all thrilled to be back here for the second year in a row.

Hanging out on the dock!

A special treat for me this year was the addition of Cinnamon Pie to the dessert menu. Cinnamon Pie is a Hunsicker family recipe that goes back generations. My mom sent me the recipe and a couple of the volunteers made it. While not quite as good as the original, it was still good and a great way to remember my family back in the USA.

After dinner, it was time to enjoy the great atmosphere at Mana'ia as we took off our shoes and enjoyed the company and awesome views.

Our group included the eight volunteers who live here in Vava'u, six Peace Corps Trainees who are attached to us and some American friends who live here full-time.






Dancing the night away

After cleaning up and closing up Mana'ia our next stop was Kaila Bar. The Kalia Bar is a Tongan owned bar and restaurant right in downtown Neiafu. When we entered the only other people in the bar were the bartender and the disc-jockey. From the main street you can see right inside the bar and it didn't take long for us to draw a crowd. Before long we had a large group of Tongans all watching the crazy Americans dancing the night away.

Saskia, Shawn and Amy dancing at Kalia Bar

We eventually drew such a large crowd that the bar started charging a five dollar cover. Since the bar happens to be one of my clients, I have thrilled to see them doing this. Smart Business especially for a Thursday night in the off season.

Mt. Talau

The area where I live in Vava'u is called Mt. Talau. The main town of Neiafu sits at the base of the hill. I live about 1/5 of the way up the hill. But until the week, I never had climbed to the top. I've talked about it several times and have made it to where the National Park begins near the top, but never all the way to the top. That changed on Monday.

Stan also now lives on Mt. Talau. We both have had Peace Corps Trainees attached to us this week. Shawn, who is from Minnesota is staying with me and Scott, from New Hampshire is staying with Stan.

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The views were great. Scott, who is on the left will be living on one of the outer islands here in Vava'u while Shawn is heading for the main island of Tongatapu.

Water Woes

It's been a lot of fun having Shawn stay with me this week but unfortunately, I have been without water every day for about the past 10 days. It will come on and work occasionally but probably on average for just four hours a day or so. But you never know when it will work and when it won't.

Today, even though I knew it was a futile endeavor, I went to the water board to find out what was happening. The woman behind the desk told me in English "Maybe the machine is broken". OK, Maybe? I didn't push it, but instead I asked when it might be fixed. Her reply was "Maybe this weekend". I then left. It's possible she had no idea or it's possible she was giving me the full story. Until it is fixed, I'll be filling buckets from the rainwater tank outside my house and taking bucket baths.

Special Thanks

Being a Peace Corps volunteer takes a lot of support from family and friends. It would be very difficult for me to be here if I didn't have a very supportive family and an awesome group of friends back in the USA. Thank you so much to all of you for the way you have helped me out when I needed something and for the e-mails and occasional phone calls. It's really great to hear from you and I thank you for it.

And finally, there are a bunch of new photos in the online gallery from our trip up Mt. Talau and our Thanksgiving celebration. Hope you enjoy them.

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