Originally written on September 30, 2012:
The other night I was trying to fall asleep when dreams about green vegetables and drinking non-instant coffee were disturbed by a truck and megaphone.
The truck was driving through the village with a man standing in the back shouting through a megaphone.
Convinced that this man must be warning us of an impending tsunami (because why else would you shout through a megaphone at 9pm at night?)... I waited for other people in my house to make moves for higher ground.
But there were no moves.
After a few minutes of silence, I texted my friend Alissa who stays on the other side of the village and asked her if she knew what the man on the megaphone was saying.
She responded quickly and revealed that it was Sione (her host father who is also the town officer) and that Mark (Alissa's husband) was with him. She wasn't sure what they were saying on the megaphone, but said she would report back as soon as she could.
A few minutes later she texted me to tell me that it was not a tsunami warning, but Sione letting the villagers know that if they didn't pay their water bill by Friday that their water would be turned off. Sione is the town officer and thus is in charge of the electricity and water bills for the entire village.
You can't say that it wasn't an effective communication practice. We still have water at my house and it's Sunday.
Only in Tonga.