…for such a time as this

Stories about the adventure that is Peace Corps Tonga

Living with a Host Family

In Ha’apai, I lived with a host family from October 12th-December 3rd. I lived in the village of Faleloa on the North edge of the island of Foa. Words to describe Faleloa and homestay: Village, pigs, ocean, bush, dirty feet, white clothes turning blue, bells at 5am, churches, roosters outside of my window, bugs, cockroaches in my bed (yes, they get their own category when a bug gets in my bed and crawls on my face more than once), sunburned, riding in the back of trucks, kapa pulu (canned meat), kindness, Mormons, community, fried everything!, free time, studying, language learning, tired out, homesick, expectations, swimming, blue water, intestinal issues, delay in phone connections, Sandy Beach, Milo, heat, huge spiders, packages and letters from home, joy, misunderstandings, good new friends (Faka-Faleloa!), walks in the morning, seeing the volcano on clear days, bonfires, cold showers!!, spaghetti sandwiches (!??), time for prayer, bug spray in the oven, reading big books (Redeeming Love & Middlesex), letter writing, sneaking tea and coffee into my house (I lived with Mormons ), kava circles, Tongan Rum (), finding and getting on the internet, getting into town, practice teaching, the billons of stars in the sky each night, mosquito bites, walking through the bush, Faka-gametime, sitting on benches for 8 hours! and learning dances.
There are so many stories from training; I will get into them more as I have time to write. I lived with a lovely family who took very good care of me. For most of the time, it was me, their son and the father and mother. My host father worked for the Mormon Church, making sure that all of the churches in Ha’apai were kept up. My host mother worked in the home and spent lots of time weaving mats. My host mother’s English was very good. This was helpful in getting acclimated in Tonga, but sometimes a hindrance in my language learning because I wanted to hear and use Tongan. At the end of my time, my host sister and another host brother came home from school in Tongatapu. My host brother had served his mission with the Mormon Church in Nigeria. We spent lots of time talking about his experiences there. My host sister is studying at the Mormon High School in Tongatapu, she lives there throughout the year and only comes home at Christmas. She is only 16; I think it is brave for her to be away from home studying at her age.
During training, we were being prepared for a language exam and had technical training for the subjects we are going to be teaching. We also “practiced” taught in a school here in Ha’apai. We prepared a weeks worth of 45 minute lessons and taught. I taught form 1 & 2 English at St. Joseph’s High School where I am living now. For language, each trainee is tested twice, once mid way through training and once at the end. I did not score very high during my first test. I was concerned about my score for the final test. It ended up working out well; I received an Intermediate Low on the final test, which is where Peace Corps would like us to be.

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