Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sundays in Fatumu

I should let you know. I moved to a small village. It's called Fatumu and it rocks.
Sundays in Tongan culture are a day full of lotu, kai, mohe and eva pe. (church, food, sleep and walking around). Not a single shop is open. Like my host mom Una says, “it is a day of Thanksgiving.” Tongans eat like it’s Thanksgiving, too. Every Sunday.  I think I can get use to this.

Before I tell you more about Sunday, I should probably fill you in on the last few days. On Saturday all of the Peace Corps Trainees hopped into a Peace Corps van to head to our homestays. For the next 2 months we will be living and learning in tiny villages located on the eastern part of Tongatapu.

I moved to a little village called Fatumu. I, along with my friends Alissa and Mark (a totally awesome married couple that are also PCTs), can now call Fatumu our home. Fatumu consists of 4 churches, 5 falekoloas (shops), and 2 roads. Mark and Alissa and I live about 3 minutes apart from each other. If you are standing anywhere in the village you can usually hear the crashing of the waves on the beach. That is how close we are to the Pacific Ocean.

If you are staying in Fatumu you will always wake up to the sound of one (or more) of the following:
1)   Roosters – Somewhere in my life I learned that the rooster only crows once a day – alerting you that it’s time to get up. Let me tell you something: fairy tale books? The authors of all of them are a bunch of liars. This is just not true. They keep cockadoodleedoing all morning long. All morning long.
2)   Puaka (pigs) – This is my favorite way to get woken up. The snorting of the pig outside of your window. They make such funny noises.
3)   Kuli (dogs) – This is my least favorite way to wake up. The dogs sound like they are killing each other. There is so much barking, yipping and crying.
4)   Church bells – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday the bells to one (or all) of the churches in town alert you to the new day. My bedroom window is about 20 feet away from the nearest church. Ringa-ding-dong.

Many of the men in the village work in the bush.  Some women work in town (at the falekoloas) or at home, while others take the bus to Nuku’alofa.

My host mother’s name is Una. She is a 21-year-old (yep, you read that right her adopted daughter – me, is a whopping 7 years older) and has lived in Fatumu her entire life. She lives with her grandparents, half brother and a little girl named Sala (still trying to figure out how she’s related).

After church we all came back to the house and ate food cooked in the ‘umu (underground oven). We had loo – meat, onions and coconut crème baked in taro leaves and then wrapped in banana leaves. We roasted a pig, ate sweet potatoes and finished with Tongan ice cream (papaya cooked in coconut crème). It was delicious.

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