Sitting at the airport for six hours hoping that the plane flying above would actually land, I thought to myself – where is the Frequent Flyer Room? Where is the complimentary drink and internet connection that my Dad always talks about? After being informed that the plane could not land due to weather I was told that another plane (that could land) had taken my bag. After a few deep breaths I realized another week in Tonga was not the worst thing in the world.

Two weeks of delays was worth it once I finally arrived in Samoa. I played pool, stayed in a hut on the beach, snorkeled, ate amazing food, shopped in the markets, slid down a waterfall, hiked through the hills, and didn’t see a soul that I knew. Total Bliss.
When you live on a small island and there is a play by play description of you r every move, it is joyous to be anonymous.

Refreshed and renewed I came home to a continuation of the Government strike. Still no school and no mail, but life goes. As Peace Corps Volunteers we are told not to participate in any movements or protests and to keep our opinions to a minimum. So off the record - this is a good step for the people of this country. For individuals that typically don’t give their opinion, to take a stand on something they feel is important – is huge.

Once home I also got to participate in a retreat for the new training group. It was a chance for us old folks to share our wisdom with the new group and enjoy some perks of living in the South Pacific as well. We ventured out to a little resort island, Mala. After enjoying volleyball on the beach and stuffing ourselves with a wonderful Tongan lunch, we were invited up to the lodge for a drink by the New Zealand High Commissioner, who happened to be spending the weekend. He was totally split, which made our conversation about whale watching and volunteering all the more enjoyable. I’ve been feeling like a bit of a lush taking great pleasure in having the US Government pay for our lunch and boat ride, the New Zealand Government pay for our drinks, and I was looking for a representative of Australia to try and get dinner out of the whole deal. It was a wonderful day and it was great to get to spend time with the new group.

At the close of the week I was able to see two of my youth get married. Well actually they had run away during the week and gotten married but this was their first Sunday in church (which is huge here). There is lots of gossip running around because the couple are actually first cousins. Blood lines run close here in Okoa, but this is not typical and is prohibited by law. The mother of the groom is now claiming that the father is not the true father in order to prevent shame upon the family. I thought it was a little too late for that, but apparently after the first Sunday of the marriage all is forgiven. The gossip continues to soar and I’m just basking in it because it is not about me.



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