Tuesday, March 26, 2013


The bell outside has just been rung by a 6-year-old. It's almost always a little boy name Soni who puts so much arm movement into the bell that he nearly falls over letting everyone know that it's time to stop class. I look down, my old Timex reflects back: 12:30pm. I run my finger under the olive green band - ridding my wrist of the sweat that has accumulated over the last 5 minutes. It's another hot one in the Kingdom of Tonga, but I don't have time to think about that because there is a rustling at the door. I turn to look.

"Manatee? Laukonga?"

A little girl in a red dress is looking at me with pleading eyes while she plays with the red ribbon holding her braided pig tail in place. She waits quietly.

"Io. Ha'u," I respond.

She smiles and gestures to her two friends that have been hiding around the corner. They come in and immediately start scanning the shelf. Laukonga translates to "library" in Tongan and the girls will spend the next hour reading books and translating what they can into English before their afternoon classes start back up. Lunch is sometimes not an option for me because I would much rather sit and listen to them get excited about each new story. I wouldn't have it any other way.


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