‘Ahopanilolo students give us a ‘royal’ farewell


11 Ma’asi Tuesite

And now… for the afternoon student extravaganza

Building the royal command performance space

Building the royal command performance space

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before…

Lord and Lady Muir

Lord and Lady Muir… well for the afternoon anyway

Being garlanded with kahoas...please note my lady in waiting to my left!

Being garlanded with kahoas…please note my lady in waiting to my left!

Mats, tapas, drum kits, gifts wrapped in colourful paper, costume bits and pieces, leaves and flowers were ferried all morning into the assembly area as the students transformed the assembly rooms into a ‘royal command performance space’ for our very special farewell concert.

choir

The 'island' hatted choir punching out their Kotoni Sonia songchoir

The ‘island’ hatted choir punching out their Kotoni Sonia song

Tau'olunga traditional Tongan dance

Tau’olunga traditional Tongan dance

It was like having your own exclusive Oscars party, being part of a Glee episode or sitting in a Box at the Royal Albert Hall but all with a Tongan twist. I am still not sure which it was but it was so fantastic.

The ‘show’ kicked off at 1.00pm with a rousing hymn and a prayer. I had tears trickling down my cheeks and we hadn’t even had the first welcome speech.

alexio and cecile

Ceclie (with her Lion makeup) with Alexsio (head student)

The student’s farewell program was diverse, hilarious, serious, colourful, creative and moving… all packaged into an afternoon of pure delight.

We were garlanded with perfumed floral kahoas as we were seated on a ‘royal’ ‘stage’ surrounded by tapas and mats brought in by the students. In front of us were drinks and munchies and napkins (thank goodness as I needed them to mop my tears).

boy students dressed as girls for fun item

boy students dressed as girls for fun item

Fashion students doing a group dance in beautiful tapa costumes made that morning

Fashion students doing a group dance in beautiful tapa costumes made that morning

Loni does the hula shake shake shake

Loni does the hula shake shake shake

so many wonderful handmade gifts

so many wonderful handmade gifts

thanks

malo aupito ~ thanks you with an uma (kiss)

malo aupito ~ thanks you with an uma (kiss)

We spent the next two hours being serenaded with songs, listening to original poems specially written for and about us and being entertained. Each class prepared an item as a prelude to presenting us with gifts . Each student then came to personally say goodbye and rub cheeks or give us a peck and a hug. It was so moving and now I have a little insight into the life of a revered royal.

Saimone ‘Diamond’ also sang my favourite song in his repertoire “Sweet Caroline” it was electric.

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Dancers performed the elegant traditional tau’olunga and more upbeat hula. Some of the guys even dressed up as girls for a humorous ‘royal’ audience participation number. Loni did a guest appearance with the fashion students and shook his booty beautifully!

boogieing with the 'girls'

boogieing with the ‘girls’

a hula about to happen

a hula about to happen

Cecile, the French volunteer had her group dressed in their chef’s gear draped in greenery as ‘jungles’ to perform The Lion Sleeps Tonight in French… c’est magnifique!

cecelie jungle 2

It was a unique and emotional afternoon and I lost it a little when Kotoni and I gave our little speeches. Tonga we will never forget this year and ‘Ahonapilolo you are etched on our memories like tattoos on a sailor… there for life.

hugs of thanks and farewell

hugs of thanks and farewell

Kotoni speaking from the heart

Kotoni speaking from the heart

Watch this space for the teacher’s farewell tomorrow night (our last sleep in Tonga as we go home Thursday).

A I am giving away our friend Timm’s last gifted computer today to ‘Ahopanilolo it may be sometime until you get to see what happened… stay tuned I know it is going to be awesome! I can’t wait!

So many beautiful gifts, flowers and words

So many beautiful gifts, flowers and words… we are overwhelmed with gratitude for what Tonga and ‘Ahopanilolo has given us.

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6 responses to “‘Ahopanilolo students give us a ‘royal’ farewell

  1. malo aupito kotoni and Sonia ofa lahi …..very big thanks you and god bless both of you ,,,,,malo e ofa..

  2. Positively overwhelming reading about your last days. You are both so inspirational xxx

    Sent from Samsung MobileSonia & Gord

  3. Mary Givney-Clark

    So glad you have shared these photos & so beautifully described your emotional farewell from the students..who took the photos? what a wonderful memory of the occasion..OMG you are both going to miss & be missed. xx

  4. Veronica pansaru

    Your descriptive farewell stories are overwhelming!! Have a safe journey home…xx.. Mum…xx

  5. so very moving. My heart goes to you all, it has been an amazing experience, even from afar.
    Thanks so much for keeping us all intrigued, entertained and thrilled with your story of a year with out a jumper XX TT

  6. This all looks very much on par with what sort of persons you are: generous and MAGNIFIQUES! It gave me tears in the eye, (please excuse my French) and I can only imagine how it must have felt for you. I’ve been thjere before, and I only wish you one thing: beautiful moments as soon as you get back to Australia, so that you don’t have time to miss the overwhelming wave of love in Tonga. Whenever you feel the need to be overwhelmed again, just ask Virgin Australia to fix that :) Much love, à bientôt !

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