365th sleep in Tonga & sadly time to go home


A little belated but better than never!

12 March

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Harri presented us with a tapa drawing of the Pot Luck

Harri presented us with a tapa drawing of the Pot Luck

Malakai in his Tongan style 'kilt' borrowed from Sister Kieoma

Malakai in his Tongan style ‘kilt’ borrowed from Sister Kieoma

We woke this morning knowing we have only one last sleep on our little dot in the middle of the ocean. After running around doing jobs including me having two teeth filled we frocked up for our very special farewell party with the staff at ‘Ahopanilolo.

What a wonderful evening it was.

Sister Kieoma, Kotoni and Sister Anunsia

Sister Kieoma, Kotoni and Sister Anunsia

There was of course lots of yummy food washed down with fresh coconut juice and a “we all stand together blessing” before the action began…

Sulia in her Aussie gear

Sulia in her Aussie gear

the Blessing

the Blessing

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We were treated to a little kava ceremony by a group of students… As the honoured guests it was only we two who partook in this muddy delicacy.

Kava looks and tastes like the Thames in flood

Kava looks and tastes like the Thames in flood

The Pot Luck restaurant was transformed into a series of ‘memory lands’…

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Fafa land

Fafa land

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There was the moped corner under the banana tree outside. Inside we had the Keep Tonga beautiful rubbish campaign along from the Fafa island corner complete with sandy beach and hammock. Across the floor was a ‘Kotoni’ mannequin dressed in his chef’s gear.

Sister Kieoma 'being' Kotoni

Sister Kieoma ‘being’ Kotoni

Everyone wore green, gold, white or blue… Aussie/Scotland colours… jewellery was a must… I think that was definitely about me??!!
The program included lots of heart-felt speeches as well as skits about us!!!

Rabi (aka Atu) and Sister Anunsia (aka Kotoni) acting out a CPR first-aid scene (you had to be there)

Rabi (aka Atu) and Sister Anunsia (aka Kotoni) acting out a CPR first-aid scene (you had to be there)

Kotoni doubling the singing lip-syncing geisha Rabi on the moped Bas, was cleverly acted out by Sister Anunsia and Atu. A very side-splitting rendition which also included a re-enactment of a very funny episode that occurred in the staff room where Rabi cut his/her finger and dramatically fell to the floor demanding CPR from Kotoni. You probably needed to know Rabi to understand the true hilarity of this scenario.

Another funny item was Malakai (being Kotoni) and Moni (frocked and wigged up as moi) taking a trip on the ferry to Fafa where they were met by Heleni (dressed as islander staff).

Malakai and Moni 'being' Kotoni and Sonia on their way to Fafa skit

Malakai and Moni ‘being’ Kotoni and Sonia on their way to Fafa skit

... and so they arrive on Fafa to be greeted by Princess Leni

… and so they arrive on Fafa to be greeted by Princess Leni

Princess Leni on the ukelele

Princess Leni on the ukulele

Malakai had Kotoni down to a tee… the voice, the actions and the quips like “stop that!” … which we often hear¬†Kotoni utter.
Ricky, the Aussie volunteer did a little jig with a ukulele and Maletina and Lani conducted a fantastic mock skype link up using a computer made out of a cardboard box and paper. It was so creative and moving.

Maletina and Lani sky ping from Tonga... it was like they were just n the room with us rather than talking through a cardboard computer...!

Maletina and Lani sky ping from Tonga… it was like they were just n the room with us rather than talking through a cardboard computer…!

Malakai and Lani 'skyping' Tonga-style

Malakai and Lani ‘skyping’ Tonga-style

There were also a couple of dancing items by students and teachers which were fabulous… taking the time to get dressed in traditional costumes just for us was again so special.

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Atu

Atu

Sister Anuncia deconstructed a hat of hanging banners of virtues to describe us which was humbling… Especially as she had lost her voice to laryngitis so delivered it Marcel Marceau style.

Sister Anunsia sharing her thoughts on Sonia and Kotoni

Sister Anunsia sharing her thoughts on Sonia and Kotoni

A Kotoni and Sonia quiz competition run by Maletina was seriously amusing with yes/no questions like “Sonia’s favourite colour is yellow” Kotoni was born in Australia… You get the drift!

Sonia/Kotoni quiz

Sonia/Kotoni quiz

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Three contestants were also asked to “be” Kotoni. Malakai again stole the show.
Kotoni presented the prizes – coffee lollies from a jar… Just like he did every other day in the staff room with his secret stash! We were amazed at just how observant everyone was of our little traits!

Maletina presents Kotoni with a huge carved hook

Maletina presents Kotoni with a huge carved hook

The Director of Catholic Education Soane Vahe was a special guest and in his speech commented that even though he’d known us for the last year he only just discovered that we were not Catholic.

Sulia, Leni, Malakai, Arki, Langi ma'a, Ricky

Sulia, Leni, Malakai, Arki, Langi ma’a, Ricky

Each teacher was involved in an item on the program and there were many tears as the emotions ran along a fragile path to say the least.
Having given away most of our stuff we were quite overwhelmed with the huge generosity of everyone as the beautiful Tongan handicrafts, arts and handmade gifts just kept coming. we were also honoured to have Litiola and her daughter come and join us.

Unwrapping the many wonderful gifts

Unwrapping the many wonderful gifts

The huge array of beautiful gifts... made with love.

The huge array of beautiful gifts… made with love.

I don’t think we got to sleep until well after midnight debriefing on how amazing and unique the evening had been.

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4 responses to “365th sleep in Tonga & sadly time to go home

  1. How fab to get one more diary entry! I loved it and hung on every image and every word. I miss them! I was wondering if you would consider maintaining a daily blog – you lead such inspiring lives. What a fantastic experience Tonga was….for all of us! Thank you Sonia and Gordon ox

  2. So moving…. How beautiful and wonderful to know that you have made such a difference to so many. I believe the letter of thanks says it all. I feel so proud of you both XXX TT

  3. Wonderful. Andcto think how much you’ve done and how far you’ve travelled since your recent return. Wow.

  4. Lovely Sonia xxx

    Sent from Samsung MobileSonia & Gord

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