…for such a time as this

Stories about the adventure that is Peace Corps Tonga

A day in the life of a Peace Corps volunteer

I am usually awakened by the squealing laughter of my year and a half year old neighbor, Mele. She is joyfully playing outside with her brothers, the dogs or our cement water catchment tank, letting the cool water run over her tiny hands…at 6:15am. I immediately make my coffee sent to me from care packages and put on my morning mix of music as I wash the night’s dishes and pick up around the house.

I sit down on my mattress turned couch and put the final touches on my lessons for the day, journal or read an article I downloaded the day before in the office. I enjoy my two large cups of coffee as I hear the waves crashing just feet from my back door.

At about 7:30am, I boil some water in my electric kettle for my bucket bath. I pour one part boiling water to two parts cold water. I use a big measuring cup. Minutes later, my neighbor comes over to borrow the kettle. We share everything; I do my laundry in their machine on Saturdays and they use the kettle, I borrow their iron and they use my onions and cooking oil. I’ve never lived in such a sharing community.

At 8am, I bike across town to St. Joseph’s Community College. We have a short prayer, sing a hymn in Tongan and talk about the days’ schedule. I teach three periods, from 8:30am until 11:15am. I have form 3 English where we are currently reading Island of the Blue Dolphins and two Vocational English classes where we work on dialogues and current events.

At 11:30am, I bike through town, pick up any groceries I need at the small stores, chat with friends and stop off at the Governor’s Office. I edit and write proposals for the Governor’s secretary, Kapu. We exchange pleasantries and then discuss what projects need to be worked on that week.

I go home for lunch. I usually make a grilled cheese or have a quesadilla with whatever veggies I have. Sometimes when Todd shares the yogurt he makes, I eat that with an apple or papaya, that is my favorite lunch.

Around 1:30, I walk to my office at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food. They usually need some excel, word or other technical computer work. We always chat about the days’ events, co-workers families or new projects. On days that they don’t have much for me, I work on Camp Glow.

Around 4:30 or 5pm I walk back home. Some nights I have meetings for Camp Glow, other nights I have friends come over and we share a meal. I spend lots of time with my neighbors playing cards, watching movies, and baking cookies/cakes. Site (13) and I “test” my lessons; we read novels together and discuss the plots and stories. He gives me pointers on how to teach my students. Some nights I go for a run down the only main road and others I call people from home.

This is my normal schedule unless something changes it. There are always funerals, cultural events, meetings and rugby games to consider. And some nights my students come over for homework help. I will miss the simplicity of this life.

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1 Comment»

  Lara wrote @

Lovely, cousin Juleigh. This time in your life sounds peaceful, idyllic, and important for you and for all the lives you touch. Thank you for sharing:)


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