…for such a time as this

Stories about the adventure that is Peace Corps Tonga


Do you ever have moments where you realize you are doing exactly what you were made to do? Where you realize you are in the exact place that you are suppose to be? I had that moment a few times this week.

We started teaching our form 3 girls how to type. St. Joseph’s doesn’t have computers, but we have old, broken keyboards. So my co-teacher led our first typing session. Remember learning how to type? “ASJ Space, ASJ Space!” That’s what we did, called out letters and the girls typed them. They had so much joy! Like we were teaching them something they really wanted to learn. Sure, it’d be nice to have 13 computers for them, but we don’t and this works for us right now. I realized that what I think they need isn’t always right. I am working on getting them access to computers at the satellite campus of the University of the South Pacific, but until then, we are content with our dirty broken IBM keyboards. Moment One.

This week, we elected our prefects, similar to student counsel. The students vote for the students that they want to represent them. We also have a head girl and a head boy. While us teachers were discussing the elections, it came up that boys only vote for boys and girls only vote for girls. Sometimes I just start talking without thinking (shocking, I know!) and I asked why we split it by gender. Since the boys sometimes will represent the girls and vicaversa, I thought that all students should vote for both the boy and girl reps. “Ok” they said. So it was, and our group of 14 were elected. At our opening mass yesterday, the prefects were “pinned” and prayed over. I got to sit with my form 2 boys. As I was looking at my boys sing, that moment struck, I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. I get to see these boys everyday for the next year and hopefully help them improve their English a little so that they can go to university and provide for a family in Tonga someday. Maybe they’ll be the next parliament members who help Tonga to develop and provide better for it’s citizens. Who knows, I can dream right? Moment Two.

Alyssa and I needed to work on the budget for our girls’ camp this week. The hours of lesson planning each night make it difficult to do anything else right now. But, she was able to get the work done (with me as the peanut gallery…I mean “help.” ) A group of us in Ha’apai (PC and Ministry of Youth) are planning on having a girls camp where we encourage young girls to work hard in school, boost their confidence by letting them know they have choices here and give them tangible examples of successful professional women in their community. On my bike ride home from Alyssa’s, I realized what were are working on. I have been freed up to plan a camp for young girls, the exact age group I love to work with, to encourage them. I can’t believe that! I am continually humbled by those who are supporting me and allowing me to do this, so thank you again. Moment Three (and much more to come on Camp Glow!)
On Fridays, I work at the governor’s office. Right now I am working on a constitution for a playground association. Basically, there aren’t any playgrounds on my island. The local government sees the need and much of the funding has been secured. I am coming in helping to pick the project back up after another volunteer left. I was sitting in the office, looking up formats for constitutions and looked to my right. The beautiful, blue water is right there. I don’t miss my cubical at Flatiron. Moment Four.
So, here I am, working in Tonga and enjoying it. Sure, my stomach is always a mess and sometimes skype with family and friends doesn’t work, but I can’t believe that I am actually here, actually teaching, actually helping with community projects, actually living.



  Margaret wrote @

Juleigh, this is amazing! So happy to be able to keep up with you through your blog. I hope you have many more of these moments to come… And that you keep us informed of them! Love and mss you loads.

  Charissa wrote @

oh my gosh! your school is so harry potter!!! “prefects” “head boy and head girl!” I”m jealous 🙂

  juleigh wrote @

now I HAVE to read those books 🙂

  Tim Burke wrote @

Living for the “moments” now and those to come. Confirmation and confidence. Thanks for sharing! –Dad

  juleigh wrote @

thanks dad…you helped me with this post 🙂

  Kristiana wrote @

you’re so amazing. I love that you’re so content.

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