…for such a time as this

Stories about the adventure that is Peace Corps Tonga

Phone Stolen?

Last night, a new JICA (Japanese form of Peace Corps) joined the ranks of Ha’apai volunteers. One of the directors of JICA was kind enough to invite us Ha’apai volunteers to have dinner at our one restaurant in town. I was excited to see the new volunteer again and to enjoy a nice meal that I didn’t have to cook or clean up after.

We enjoyed a lovely meal in 3 languages (Tongan, English and Japanese)…I feel so multi-cultural! As I was leaving, I couldn’t find my phone. I realized (stupidly) that I had left it in my bike basket just outside of where we were sitting. Now, Tongans don’t normally eat at this restaurant, it is a little bit above their price range. But, many (I mean MANY) kids and high school students pass by the restaurant. Yes, my bike was in view of our table, but so many people passed by saying hi, that I didn’t really notice anyone in particular that I knew.

When I realized the phone was gone, I was resigned to the fact that this is Tonga and things like this just happen. No, I would never take someones phone out of their basket…but never mind me, this is Tonga.

I went home, somewhat discouraged. Not only is my phone my main life line out of Tonga (to talk to family and friends), it also serves as my alarm clock. How was I going to wake up now? Silly, I know. I decided it was my fault for leaving it in the basket and decided that after class on Friday, I would go buy a new phone.

This morning, I let my principal know what had happened. In true Tongan fashion, soon all of the teachers knew that Juleigh had lost her phone last night. Word travels very fast on this small island…not a half hour later, a man called my school asking if a Pisicoa (PC volunteer in Tonga) had “lost” her phone last night near Mariner’s. “Why yes” my principal exclaimed and she quickly came to find me. I was instructed to call my phone back and discuss with the man (in Tongan mind you) where I could pick up my phone. With the help of my principal, I found the house where Toka was waiting with my phone. He explained to me that his son brought it home and he wasn’t sure if the son had found it or taken it. He was happy to have found me.

So no harm, no foul I guess. I have my phone back, with all of the credit on it. My principal said it right, “It’s good to know there are still some honest people here in Tonga.”



  Tim Burke wrote @

No luck involved here, He knows how important your phone is to you. Just a bit of confirmation of who’s watching over you…at my request!

  juleigh wrote @

Thanks dad! I feel the prayers, I really do! (and I am happy to have my phone back 🙂

  kristiana wrote @

Tim’s comment made me cry. I love you Juleigh. You’re amazing.

  juleigh wrote @

I miss you Kristiana, you and Hank are in my prayers! Thanks for the encouragement!

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