17 Sanuali Falaite
We fell into bed last night after a fabulous concert showcasing yet another wonderful display of Tongan vocal talent at the Star Search singing competition.
Tevita and Saimone two ex ‘Ahopanilolo students are both top ten finalists. We are so excited for them as it is a great experience. Leading up to the concert all finalists have been profiled on local TV with little individual vignettes so we get to see the person behind the voice. It is all really well done and so professional.
The concert evening was set up in the central mango tree town park as a live outside TV broadcast. The event attracted a huge crowd and the panel of three judges were just like the ones in Australia for all those star search shows… ie typically blunt, over critical and not giving much positive feedback… the crowds didn’t seem to care. The winners will be chosen next Thursday by sms voting so I guess it will be who has the most relatives with credit in their mobiles.
Tonight we were invited into our new neighbours for a kava party. Sally and Sky the two Aussie volunteers have moved on and so Saane has rented the house to three flight engineers from Fiji.
We popped over at about 7pm not sure what to expect. Taka the wife of one of the tenants has been visiting her husband with their son for the school holidays and the farewell party was for them. We counted about 40 guests of which we were the only palangis. Most were Fijian with a couple of other nationalities thrown in and two or three Tongans.
Most of the guests sat cross-legged on the hard tiled floor and drank kava while I helped to make roti for the feast we consumed at about 10pm! Trickles of water were streaming down my back as I laboured over the skillet and learned the fine art of the roti flip under the careful eye of Levi the very funny Fijian catering manager for the night.
It was a carnivores carnival: lots of chicken, pork and lamb curries and fried fare accompanied by rice, roti and a small bowl of sweet potatoes… not a lettuce leaf or vegetable in sight… but there was some watermelon to wash away the oil! Both women and men drink kava in Fiji. in Tonga it is only the men. The impromptu concert that accompanied the merriment included ‘I’m leaving on a jet plane’ and for the Tamworth fans lots of Country and Western numbers. When their words started to get a bit slurring at 11.30pm Kotoni and I headed back across the yard to our own home where we found Saane lurking… She was worried we would be affected by the noise!
We kept thinking about our two Sallys who have both lived in Fiji and especially Gold Coast Sally who spent a few months living in local village because this would have been a regular scene for her.