11 Ma’asi Tuesite
And now… for the afternoon student extravaganza
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!