These 10 days were filled with lots of wildlife, a few goodbyes, and a leadership camp I had the honor of directing.
Day 11: Tropical flowers constantly amaze me. They all remind me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book. This one looked like it was a flower growing out of a flower.
Day 12: This evening I served kava to the men in my village to help raise money for a new school bus and in walked the Acting Prime Minister of Tonga. He smiled at me and said "Hello Peace Corps" and gave me this necklace. He is campaigning for re-election in November and stopped by the town hall to gain support. I did my best to sit as lady-like as I could.
Day 13: "Anchor" in Tongan is "taula" which is one letter off from the name of my village (Toula). Anchors also remind me of camp and one of my favorite Bible verses (Hebrews 6:19). These are just some of the many reasons I got it. Special thank you to Kitione for this special gift.
Day 14: I love how slow and quiet Sundays in Tonga are. I've already talked about the fact that there are only three choices on Sundays: eat, sleep, church. I don't want to lose this when I get back to America. It's the perfect day to relax and recharge. Also, it's a great way to start the week!
Day 15: What a beautiful first day of camp. The campers and leadership staff are already getting to know each other. We even played Biggest Fan!
Day 16: We ended day 2 of camp with an off-campus adventure to 'Ene'io Botanical Gardens where we learned all about Tonga's only botanical garden, barbecued chicken, and swam in the South Pacific. We ended the day with the greatest campfire.
Day 17: Day 3 of camp included a career panel where campers learned what it takes to become a firefighter, police officer, teacher, Ministry of Agriculture officer, restaurant owner, or Tonga Communications Corporation. After the sessions they shared out what they learned about each career.
Day 18: Day 4 at Camp GLOW: now that they have learned what it takes to make healthy and smart decisions these great girls had the opportunity to apply their new knowledge to many different scenarios. Here are just a few of the campers discussing some sensitive topics.
Day 19: Last day of camp and it's time for a final ceremony filled with what we learned, songs, poems, plays and a special video showcasing the events of the week.
Day 20: Looking back on such a great week with these girls. One of the best things about camp (even if it's only for five days) is watching the girls grow and come out of their shells. The first night we attempted a dance party with very little participation and the last night of camp all the girls wanted to do was tisikou (dance). They had some sweet moves and laughed the night away.
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Here's to the final 10 days!