Lots of Work to Do!

A big part of my job at the Tonga Development Bank has been assisting with workshops for Tongans who either want to start or expand their business.   We average about 25 people per workshop and we conduct the workshops in all parts of Tonga.   To date, I’ve been at 14 workshops.

This year, I  designed a completely new curriculum for the workshops including new PowerPoint presentations and training exercises.   I did the work in English and then a bank employee at our head office in Nuku'alofa translated  everything into Tongan.

We conducted our first workshop using all the new materials in the village of Tefisi.   Oholei talks to workshop participants We got a wonderful response.  Of the 23 people who attended, 22 of them requested that we come back for a follow up visit at their business.  That will take a lot of time for me to accomplish but it is the best response we've ever gotten at a workshop.

I've also proposed putting together a video that can be shown at workshops after I complete my service.  I am waiting on approval from the head office before I start on that project.

I am very happy to have so many new people to go visit.  My work load at the bank has been very slow since I returned from New Zealand so it is great to be busy again.  We have another workshop next Wednesday.

Radio Days

I made a brief return to US radio last weekend.  My former station, WVAQ had a “Class Reunion Weekend” bringing back on-air staffers from previous years.   I was able to listen to part of the weekend as it was streamed live online.   I was interviewed on the morning show about what I’ve been doing since i left the station in 1984 and they had a lot of questions about Peace Corps and my experiences in Tonga.  My first full time job was doing news for WVAQ and its sister station WAJR.  I had lost touch with everyone I worked with in those days but thanks to Facebook and the reunion weekend I've gotten to reconnect with many of my former colleagues.

Tongan Scholarships

I accompanied my boss Fuka last week to the local Wesleyan (Methodist) school where he presented scholarships from the Tonga Development Bank to three Tongan boys.

Fuka addresses the students

The money will be used to pay for their school frees.   The bank gives out scholarships every year all over Tonga as part of its effort to help the country.  

If you look closely at the photo above, you will notice that the students are all sitting on the floor and you will only see girls in the photo.  That’s because the girls sit on one side of the hall and the boys sit on the other.   (And if you look at the first photo in this post, the one from the workshop, you will notice that even as adults the Tongan men and women don’t sit together).

Chad isn’t so “Rad” after all!

I have no real reason to post this next photo, other than to make fun of my friend Chad who is wearing a Mickey Mouse  fanny pack.

Chad wearing a fanny pack

In the interest of full disclosure….the fanny pack actually belongs to me. A few weeks ago, Chad made some comment about he wouldn’t be caught dead wearing one…so when he tried it on at my house one day, I couldn’t help but take a photo.  Sorry Chad!!

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