Thursday, February 8, 2007

Over and out

I officially ended my service today.  I feel sorrow and joy at the same time.  Peace Corps had been a dream for such a long time, it is difficult to end it early, but my life is now with Jason and I could not be happier about that.   We will be married in about three months and see where our next adventure lies. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


As I sat in one of my two metal folding chairs last night, writing a letter to Jason, as I have done every single day since he left, I caught sight of an extremely fast moving Molokau as it raced from my front door and into the dark living room of my house. I have yet to be bit by one of these and did NOT want one (especially one this large) in my house. I'd heard horror stories about how aggressive they are, how they'll bite you while you're sleeping in your bed, and how painful their bites are. I hopped up quickly and grabbed my faithful can of Mortein (like Raid) ... hoping that it was true that Mortein could actually stop (or at least slow) these incredibly LARGE poisonous centipedes. I tiptoed into the other room. Luckily, I only have a box and a few papers in there so it was pretty easy to find him ... with my adrenaline pumping and my finger primed on the spray button, I moved the box - out he came in a hurry! With me spraying like mad, he slowed down and eventually came to a halt before reaching me. I continued spraying until I used probably half the can. The Molokau continued writhing on the floor for over 20 minutes. Even though I hate & fear this thing, I didn't like to see it slowly dying. I tried to put it out of it's misery by pounding on it with my shoe and anything else heavy ... finally about 15 minutes later it had stopped moving. Here's a photo of my fun friend once he'd stopped moving and I dared to get close. He's probably 6 - 7 inches long ... a mid-sized Molokau really. I've seen others that were longer and much fatter (over an inch wide!)

Thursday, November 23, 2006


This is something I don't have pictures of which is very sad :( ... today we had a staff/volunteer Thanksgiving potluck celebration at the Peace Corps office. Each person brought a dish in to share - I'd gotten a great receipe from my friend Julie for a cornbread pudding and (miraculously) had gotten a pack of cornbread mix from a fellow volunteer. The craziest food was probably the sweet potatoe dishes. Since the sweet potatoes here are bright purple! It doesn't seem right to be eating food that color! It was a lovely day - even though is was really difficult to be away from home and specifically away from Jason ...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Goodbye to Pam

Our immediate supervisor (APCD) was "let-go" in October for embezzling (according to rumors) and the Tonga Country Director left shortly thereafter for "personal reasons." In the interim while new leadership is identified and hired, we have had the incredible opportunity to have Pam Martin come to Tonga. Outside of our trainers, she has been the first individual who has exhibited that she genuinely cares for volunteers. She has been tireless in requesting to hear our thoughts, has listened patiently and not downplayed any of our numerous concerns, but has offered great insights and openly admitted that things here have not been handled as they should have. It has been rather tragic though, to catch a glimpse of how different our experience could have been with leadership who was actually invested in the volunteers. Here is a photo of a group of us and the staff with Pam before she left.

Friday, November 17, 2006


The power went off shortly after lunch yesterday while I was at work. I didn't think anything of it as the power goes out here regularly. But later as I was getting ready to leave, the very eccentric woman who uses an office in our building and seems to think she runs the place, told me it was not a good day to be outside, grumbled a bit about how ridiculous "this" was and said she would give me a ride home. I didn't really want a ride home as she is truly quite crazy, but she's not exactly someone you say no to.

Once in her car, I realized it was probably better that I was, just a 1/2 block from the Chamber building, an entire building was engulfed in flames. People were running around on the streets, there was a car on fire - it was pretty scary. Kololiana (sounds like Gloriana) asked if I minded if we drove around and the proceeded to tell me she need to check the palace to ensure the royal family was safe and that she was going to go home to get her guns. I continued to wish that I had just driven myself home...finally we made it to my side of town and she dropped me off at my little home...

I started receiving text messages from other volunteers about what was going on and in the aftermath we learned that in very unusual fashion, supporters of "Tongan Democracy" had organized and had three groups set fire to and destroy 3 businesses belonging to the Prince. Unfortunately, once the looting/rioting/fires began, there was no way to stop what was started and 80% of the central business district was destroyed with heavy targeting of Chinese businesses.

These photos were taken by another volunteer who happened to be in the thick of things! Whoa!

The aftermath ... the entire central downtown area is completely destroyed. All entrances into town are heavily guarded.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Finally, a lovely home!

After spending several days cleaning out a completely filthy place and being told by my PC supervisor that it looked just fine to him and trying to deal with the thought of living in that place for 2 years and then finding out that my supervisor had been terminated for what amounted to embezelling and finding out that the safety officer at PC had NOT approved the filthy place as a safe place for me to live, I continued living at Sela's for several more weeks until my employer found this perfect place for me to live! All of the drama was worth it to be in this truly lovely place. It takes me about 30 minutes to walk to work in the morning and about 20 minutes to walk into town, but walking is good and I definitely don't mind! This is a brand new duplex-style bungalow on the compound of a Tongan family, so it's a safe place too! I love it!

Views from my front porch - another volunteer lives right next door!

My new bedroom - so light & cheery! Not a lot of closet space, but since I don't have much, it works perfectly!

The bathroom - indoor toilet and shower (with only cold running water, but I'm just HAPPY to have a clean place to shower!)
My most frequent visitor is this HUGE brown pig at the neighbors house ... here's a few photos of me in my new place! How do you like the counter & cupboard space in the kitchen? I think it's great!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bakery Runs

Since literally everything closes down from noon or 2 pm on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. The fact that bakeries open up on Sunday afternoon has made it a ritual for a group of us to wander down to the best bakery (Pacific Delights) every Sunday afternoon. Sometimes by the time we get there, we're so "starved" that we can't even wait to eat and we crouch on the ground outside the bakery to eat one of our treats (since standing & eating is extremely rude in Tonga). Usually though, we're able to wait until we reach some of the water front benches, here and visit while we snack away.
The amazing house that Adam finally was able to move into is on the way back into town ... he has this incredible view from his second story balcony!