I suppose by North American standards, they live in "poverty", but my sense is that they might just be more wealthy than we are! We almost never saw anyone with a frown, people always greet even a stranger with a smile, and with little more than enough food to survive, Shelley and I have received the generosity of these people time and time again. From vegetables from their gardens to fruit from their trees, they often give as much or more than they receive in "real" terms...
After leaving the first school, we visited 6 more schools and delivered a total of 467 pencil cases leaving us with about 150 for the islands here in the Southern Group of Tonga. We are currently anchored near the capital city of Tonga Tapu where we are waiting for a weather window that will allow us to sail the last 1100 nautical miles to New Zealand in time for cyclone season.
In New Zealand we plan to re-stock our supplies for our journey that will take us to Fiji, Vanuatu and beyond next year.
Here are some pictures of some of our deliveries. Last week, the children were on an "official" school holiday, but in almost every school, the older children were studying for the tests that would allow them to continue on to "college" (the equivalent of our high school). Higher education here is an earned privilege... One that is taken very seriously by most of the young people we met...
|We are seeing whales everyday!|
|Pitre, the principal and his wife.|
|The school - 3 classrooms and a library with no shelves and very few books... None in Tongan.|
|Many of the window panes are gone....|
|A Tongan language metronone|
|The principal's office|
|One of the classrooms - most of the furniture is broken in some way or another.|
|A desk for four to five children|
|The school on Oua Island - The fence was donated by Canada....|
|Meeting the principal|
|Sharing what we have....|
|Children studying for their exam next week...|
Between Oua and Nomuka we caught a 20lb Tuna and our freezer was full so I cut it into 4 big chunks and gave it to the villagers of Nomuka.
|Women weaving on the Island of Nomuka|
|An average home|
|The main road...|
|More kids studying for their exams.... ON THEIR HOLIDAY!|
|The village dogs smell the tuna!|
|The school run by the New Apostolic Church|
Up to this point, we have only been helping government schools. This was our first experience visiting a church run school. While still in need, they were much better equipped than the regular public schools.
We finally arrived in Tonga Tapu, the Capital of Tonga. We met a beautiful Tongan woman called "Big Mama"who hails from a northern island we never made it to. She will be sending a bunch of supplies to her islands in the far north that almost never see cruising boats...
Kyle and Shelley