The Fakaleti's of Vava'u

As the winter season starts to arrive in Vava'u, there are more and more events to entertain the tourists and the people who live here. Last week, one of the local bars began their weekly "Fakaleti" show. A "Fakaleti" literally translates to "Like a Lady" but make no mistake, these are not ladies, but men in drag. The bar was packed for the premiere of this year's show featuing three local fakaleti's. The highlight of the show, at least for the Peace Corps volunteers in attendance was when "Brian" one of the entertainers came down off stage and gave Justin a big peck on the check.
The photo pretty much says it all. It was also Jessie's birthday and she got called up on stage by the owner and we all sang Happy Birthday to her in English.

Farewell Amanda

Friday night, we all gathered to wish Amanda, our APCD farewell. Amanda is boss of all the volunteers and most of the staff at the Peace Corps office. She answers directly to the Country Director who is the top person in Peace Corps Tonga. Amanda is leaving Tonga to accept a job at the Training Manager for Peace Corps in Costa Rica.

Amanda is the person on the right in the photo, next to Sarah.

James and I played host for the event, the perfect spot for a gathering since we have two houses, two kitchens and two bathrooms between us. The theme was Mexican and Rose, Alex and Justin all spent the afternoon cooking tacos and making salsa. (Thursday was the first time we have had fresh tomatoes in months, so we were thrilled to have fresh tomatoes for the salsa.)

At one point, I counted 18 people inside my house, including 13 of the 14 volunteers who live here in Vava'u.

A Surprise Visit

I had just finished eating dinner one night last week when I heard someone at my door calling my name. In Tonga, people don't knock, they just stand outside and call your name until you come out to greet them. I saw a man I had never seen before who introduced himself. I recognized his name and knew he was the local manager for TCC, the Tonga Communications Company that supplies telephone service, cell phone service and Internet. TCC is probably the largest company in Tonga.

He had heard that I had I could help him learn about inventory management and some basic accounting skills. So he came in and I spent about 45 minutes with him.
Another part of Tongan culture is that people just stop by when they want something, even the man who runs the telephone company. It wouldn't occur to most Tongans to call ahead. I was happy to help him and told him I would be glad to help him again in the future.

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