Peace Corps Videos

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Wardrobe Malfunction

It should came as no surprise that Tonga is a conservative country.  For the most part, men hang out with men and women with women.   Even in church, you will rarely see a married couple sitting together.  

Friday night, all 11 volunteers here in Vava’u gathered for a meeting.  After the meeting in true Tonga fashion, the “boys” went to Mermaid, a local bar, while the “girls” stayed at the office.   Eventually the women joined us at Mermaid.

On any Friday night, Mermaid is really “the” place to go in Vava’u.   (Even more so now that two of the bars burned down in December.) The place was packed mostly with Tongans.   It’s a good place to people watch and even Tongans who don’t drink will show up and just hang out.

As the night progressed, the dance floor started to get crowded and in typical Tonga tradition, the floor was primarily filled with women dancing with other women.   I was sitting with my back to the dance floor looking out into the harbor when one of my fellow volunteers said “Did you see that?”   I said what and didn’t get an answer.  The next thing I heard was another volunteer saying “I never thought I would see that in Tonga”.   That was enough for me to turn around but all I saw were the people on the dance floor.

Then I heard that while dancing, one of the Tongans, a thin woman around 30, had suffered a wardrobe malfunction in Janet Jackson style.   And like with Janet, there was a question as to whether it was intentional or accidental. 

Now, you are probably wondering why I’m telling this story right?   Well that wasn’t the last we saw of this women.  Not long after the wardrobe malfunction, I was sitting in my chair when this same woman comes over and grabs me and plants a kiss right on my lips.  To say I was shocked was an understatement.  I mean, this is Tonga.  I’ve never seen a Tongan kiss a member of the opposite sex in public and here I was getting kissed by some strange woman I’ve never seen before.  I wish someone had taken a picture, because I would love to have seen the look on my face.

As you might imagine, my fellow volunteers were laughing like crazy.   Well apparently the woman noticed the laughter and my shock, so a few minutes later, she came back and kissed me again.

That was the last I saw of her.   But it just goes to show that even in a place as conservative as Tonga, the unexpected can happen when you least expect it.

Good-bye Jessica

My friend Jessica is on her way to the United States as I write this.  Jessica is the last member of group 72 to leave Vava’u.   She is certainly going to be missed.  Jessica always had such positive energy and was always a pleasure to be around.

We gathered at my house last night to say our good-byes and took our “mandatory” group photo which we take at just about every gathering. (And yes, that is my dog’s butt in the front of the photo).

Jessica's  Going Away Party at Steve's House It was a Mexican themed dinner.   We made tortilla’s and added some meat, rice and fresh guacamole for a great meal.   The avocados are in season now and are delicious. 

 

Vava’u Fire Update

I mentioned the fire above and thought I would give you a quick update.   Nothing has been cleaned up.  The remains of all the buildings that were destroyed are still there.  The bookstore and the general store have both re-opened in new locations and one of the bars has set up a tent on the waterfront and is selling beer from there.  

The fire was started by three young boys, around age eight.  They are being charged.   They were apparently trying to burn out some wasps and the fire spread.

(If you haven’t seen the photos of the fire, you can see them here).

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