|Justin plays mandolin as Siti watches.
FROM JUSTIN, via e-mail
raining! Showering actually. It isnt very convincing,
as I see blue sky fringing the edges of the less-than-intimidating
stratus clouds. But it is rain, and for the first time in
four weeks I feel a slight cool breeze through the window.
Alas, as I write, it is over, and sweat continues to form
layer after salty layer on my recently burnt and persistently
is Monday morning, and I have yet to go to school. I dont
have class until much later in the day
so I have taken
to staying home, avoiding morning prayer and countless bored
hours under the mango tree at the school, waiting for my daily
work to begin. School hasnt even seemed much like work
this year. Just living here is the hard work sometimes. I
say that only because we had three visitors this morning before
7am, thwarting all plans of a late sleep, yoga, or peaceful
morning coffee. And yesterday was a test of patience, with
guest after guest requesting the baking of cakes or the making
of some sort of food, each resulting in a mess to be cleaned
before the next round. At least yesterday morning was nice.
We joined some friends who live in a peaceful corner of Rebeks
schoolyard for some umu and church-skipping. We had
fish and sheep, each wrapped in taro leaves, and breadfruit
and raw fish.
was a milestone for us. We rowed to Mango, a small island
seven miles away. It was challenging, as it is across open
ocean and it was a very choppy day. I also took the dog and
one of our sit-on-top kayaks, not really meant for long trips
and not very hydrodynamic. But we made it, first to Mango
iki, a little uninhabited island a mile shy of Mango, and
then on to Mango. On Mango, we were greeted by really friendly
people who gave us some fried dough and papaya. We saw our
friend Kolove, who was transferred from Rebeks school
this year to be the principal there. On Mango, each house
has a solar panel and battery. This was also an AusAID gift,
and in my eyes more practical than our diesel generator, one
of which is now broken and the other running on diminished
hours due to a gaffe in the oil ordering process. Mango has
no cars and therefor only footpaths. There are only about
13 families there. To Mango, we are the big island. To catch
a boat to Tonga or Pangai, they have to come to Nomuka. Or
even to do some shopping.
actually rained a lot today after all.
is Thursday and I am just finishing up a week of tests at
the school. I like test week because I dont have to
teach very much. My kids have been good except for the students
in Form 3, who are so bad I have started to hit them with
a stick. Yes, it has come to that. There is no other way to
is almost my birthday. It is also our friend Bensons
birthday, so we are having a party tomorrow
a party with
all the boys from school. I think there is some controversy
about the invitation list, but I am staying out of it. All
I know is that we will be making a lot of pizza and breadfruit
chips. Saturday will be a fun day. We are going on a tour
of the small islands with a guy from Mango. We are really
excited about that.
rained a bunch this week. It is good because if it didnt,
we would have suffered by not sleeping. For some reason, the
oil didnt come on the boat, so we are on short time
with the generator: three hours a night and no time in the
morning. Before, we were only sleeping until 1am and then
at 5 when the generator came back on.
had a great dinner tonight
homemade bread with babaganoush
and guacamole. There are avocados now. The Tongans dont
like them, just like they dont like eggplant.
dont have a lot of music to listen to now, so I have
taken up learning the melodies to the 70s AM soft rock
that plays on Radio Tonga on my mandolin. I have also learned
some Jewish folk melodies and the theme to Coast to Coast
with Dave Arlington.
we lived in Los Angeles, I always thought that between my
55-mile, 2-hour commute to work and our sleep-deprived, party-fueled
lifestyle, I took years off my life. Here it is the opposite.
No commute, no stress, no bills, and I get 8 to 9 hours of
sleep a night. I think I have made up those years and then
some. If we were to stay here forever, Id live to be
have very vivid dreams here, almost like movies. They
all have complex plot lines too, and I always wish I could
remember them. Last nights was great, and while the
basic theme is still in my mind I want to jot it down. The
basic story was that someone (Ethan Hawke? Movie stars seem
to be popping into my dreams lately) and myself found, to
our horror, 2 young children dead in the refrigerator where
we were staying. It also seemed very obvious that either we
had killed them...or, if not, we would certainly be blamed.
(I think this is about me starting to hit the kids at school,
but overall unrelated to my analysis of the dream).
was an initial feeling of dread, which was justified. Right
away, things started off badly. People were investigating
the childrens disappearance and every interview we had
went poorly. We were obviously suspected, and had possibly
done the ghastly crime in the first place. We were eventually
taken into custody. There are a lot of interesting details
that are just passing flashes now, and I cant get them
out unfortunately. But as it turns out, a golden opportunity
to escape pops up, and this involves some sort of crashing
through the wooden gate of a parking garage into sunny, glorious
freedom. From there, there is no going back into captivity,
and a feeling of triumph stayed with me as I awoke.
does this mean? Will I kill someone, be put in jail and then
escape? I hope not. A lot of the vivid action stuff, which
is better than the movies we have no access to, comes from
the many books I read (like Papillon and Burr most recently,
each involving a murder or an escape). But what occurred to
me as my Form 3 did their in-class assignment this morning
was the true meaning of the dream, which I believe is always
the array of feelings as opposed to the specific actions in
the dream. What I take from this dream is that our future
plans, which are formulating at the moment, might take the
same trajectory, and I should be prepared for immediate initial
difficulties, followed by success.
the last day of my 29th year. That is a scary thought,
but I suppose it is less scary here in Nomuka than it would
be amongst the numerous rich and famous 22-year-olds who swarm
the streets of New York or LA (me being neither rich nor famous.)
Overall I feel great, though. I dont think I have ever
looked or felt better physically. I am married, blissfully,
to the woman I love, with whom I can accomplish anything I
set my mind to. I am still grateful for the overwhelming love
and support from my parents who, if I were a street
bum, would still tell me I am the best, brightest and most
handsome little boy in the world. They gave me the sense of
confidence that amazes me to this day, whether warranted or
not. I look back at various choices I have made, and while
I know I have made some immature, selfish, and even flat out
wrong decisions, I cant really regret any of them
today, I am as happy as I could imagine being. And frankly,
that is all I have ever tried to be.
Monday. This weekend it rained a lot. The streets became rivers,
our yard a lake. It seems that every time we plant vegetables,
our garden floods. Also when it rains, pigs find their way
into our yard and dig up holes everywhere, specially in our
little haphazard garden that has appeared next to our steps
(where we throw tomato, pepper and melon seeds out the window).
Its too bad, because we are really low on food right
March 14, 2004
After school this past Friday we waited for Koli, our friend
from Mango, who was supposed to come pick us up for our tour
of the other islands in our group. By 5:30 we were starting
to wonder if he would show at all
but he did, around
6:00, and we bought some benzene ($80 worth) and we were off.
Also in the small, open, fishing boat were Pulotu, Kolis
friend and sidekick
Kiwi, a little boy whose mother was
transferred from Nomuka to Mango to teach
a couple from Tonga, who were in Nomuka for the funeral of
the girls brother. He had died a week ago while paying
rugby. He was only 25 and has a palangi wife in Denmark with
two kids. Apparently the doctors were careless when he was
taken to the hospital, but there is nothing anyone can do
left as it was getting dark. It is a seven-mile trip, and
in a kayak it takes about 2 to 2.5 hours. In a fishing boat,
it took only one.
was a beautiful night and the Magellanic clouds lit up above
us. Occasionally satellites would zoom by overhead, in
perfectly straight lines, seemingly at the same height as
the stars. In the water, phosphorescence shone in our wake
like hundreds of cigarette butts churning along the side of
the boat. We arrived around 8:00 and most houses were dark,
the people asleep. Mango uses solar electricity. We walked
in the dark to Kiwis house at the primary school where
we were to stay. After talking a bit with Koli and Pulotu,
we set up our sleeping bags slept, us and Kiwi, on the floor
while listening to New Zealand rugby in Tongan.
Saturday, as planned, Koli came at 5:00am to get us. We were
still sleeping, but got ready quickly, and we were off for
Fonoi at 5:12. We started the trip in the dark, and after
a brief shower, the eastern sky started to glow beneath the
hazy cumulous clouds. As it rose, the sun seemed to burn off
this layer, leaving only towering nimbostratus hovering over
the sea. As we approached Fonoi, Tanoa loomed to the right,
an impressively rounded jutting island much smaller than Fonoi,
but higher than any point on the larger island.
|Fonoi sunrise (top). Fonoi (above) and
we arrived on Fonoi, the sun was fully visible over the eastern
ledge of the island. We all disembarked and took a tour of
the islands little village. Fonoi, like Mango, has inhabitants
(those two and Nomuka are the only inhabited islands in the
group). Both are small, with no vehicles, and have lean little
dirt paths lined with papaya and breadfruit. As we walked
down the little path we saw quaint little houses, not completely
un-modern. The people, if they had been sleeping, doors open
to the cool night air, were awakened by the local dogs
reaction to Finnerty, which was less than friendly, or by
Kolis vocal greetings. The path ends at the west side
of the island with breathtaking views of Nomuka and some smaller
islands in between. We headed back, picking fruit for later
in the day. Already, people who had been awakened by our greetings
were up and about, sweeping their immaculate yards to rid
them of the five or six leaves that had fallen in the night.
Old men were outside smoking, bare-chested, contemplating
the days work ahead.
the tour, we boarded and left for otu tolu, the
row of three. These are four islands actually: Telekitonga,
Lolona, Telekivavau and one more. They are not visible
from Nomuka, and comprise the eastern edge of the Haapai
group (and therefor Tonga). If you go further east it will
be some time before you come to another country, Niue, which
is actually further north as well. If you were to drift east,
you would really only hit land at Rorotonga, hundreds of miles
the trip to Telekitonga we caught a beautiful tuna. We saw
flocks of birds circling over schools of fish as we moved
slowly southeast. When we reached the island, which is actually
pretty large for an uninhabited island, Fonoi and Mango appeared
very far away, further than they seem from Nomuka in the other
direction. From our view, the other three islands of this
group seemed to form an archipelago with Telekitonga.
|Rebecca tending the fire on Telekitonga.
Telekitonga we caught and ate some hermit crabs and circled
the island along its perfect, white beach. It took about two
hours total, and along the way Koli and Pulotu collected a
bounty of washed up lumber, possibly from Niues recent
hurricane. We saw a lot of sharks along the eastern side,
one of which Pulotu was able to catch. Finnerty and Kiwi chased
it toward land and Pulotu, waiting along the shore, sliced
its tail off with a bush knife as it swam by. Most of the
sharks were the small ones we are used to catching, but we
did see one large one, about six feet long, very close to
the shore. Finnerty was ready to chase it, but we called him
out of the water. We saw the little camp where Koli and his
father had come a year ago to gather the wild pigs that live
on the island. They stayed for a week, eating sharks and crabs,
and caught 65 pigs. We also saw a lot of random debris, like
three condoms in a silver wrapper on one end of the island
and two more in other spots.
completing the island perimeter, having a swim and drinking
some coconuts, we headed off for Lolona, the next island in
the group. Along the way, a school of dolphins swam with us
for a stretch, and Koli showed off his boat engine fixing
skills when the motor died. When Jonathan was the Peace Corps
here on Nomuka, he offered an opportunity to go to an engine
repair course in Haafeva to the youth of Nomuka and
Mango. While a lot of people signed up, on the day to go only
Koli went. Good thing too, or we would still be drifting.
He also uses his skills to fix the engines of the people of
Fonoi and Mango (go Peace Corps!)
first Lolona seemed as beautiful as Telekitonga, but it ended
up being a bit rougher. Right away, when we tried to come
ashore, waves pushed the boat around like it was a toy in
a bathtub. Koli decided to find a better spot while the rest
of us started to circle the island. All in all, it was a miserable
two hours of intense sun, a sharp and wobbly rocky shore (none
of us wore shoes), and bee stings (I got three. As I type,
my hand looks like a really fat mans hand.) Koli was
trying to find us the whole time and when we all eventually
met up, we were ready to get off of Lolona. We did see a little
camp there as well (and some more silver condoms). It seems
like a fairly common thing to do: set up a little camp and
live on an island for a while to catch and dry fish and octopus
or something like that.
|Kiwi holds a lafu, a rare flightless bird
that he plans to eat.
the trip from island to island, we could see for miles in
every direction. There was no large landmass to block the
view. We could see cloud patterns moving across the sky and
we could even see dark clouds dumping rain into the ocean
ten miles away. It looked like a dark column extending from
cloud to sea, and on the fringes you could almost see the
water returning, as vapor, to the sky to be recycled again.
very excited to see Telekivavau, as we had heard a lot
about the resort there. It is supposedly the most exclusive
in Tonga (one for celebrities says the Lonely
Planet). We speculated as to who we might find there (P. Diddy?
Paris Hilton?) But, alas, Villa Mamana is not quite open for
business. We couldnt even buy a cold beer as we had
hoped. There is no bar. We did have a look around and met
the current caretaker, a palangi who is a friend of the owner.
He had sailed in from Hawaii to help out while the owner is
away. The resort is very nice, but transportation seems to
be a big issue, as it very far from both Tonga and Pangai.
It only accommodates one group of four or so. The guesthouse
is impressive, with a beautiful verandah and two large master
bedrooms. There is a separate kitchen house for the cook,
and there are a few Tongans who live in some Tongan houses
down the beach and catch fish and lobster for the guests.
There is a generator, water tanks, desalination machines,
pumps and a whole lot of other equipment that need constant
maintenance. All in all, running a resort seems like a hard
the time we left the resort, we were getting a little tired.
We had been going for about seven hours already and Kiwi was
asleep. We decided to head east, toward Nomuka, see two more
islands along the way, and call it a day. We stopped at Tanoa
next, which is close to Fonoi. It is very small, but tall,
and we circled it before climbing to the top through thick
brush. From the top, Kau and Tofua, the distant volcanoes
were visible, as well as Oua, far to the northwest and
not observable from sea level, even from Nomuka. The island
is covered with holes: the nests of a downy gray flightless
bird called the lafu. I have never seen one before, and it
is possible they only live on this one little island due to
a lack of predators. Pulotu and Kiwi collected
three of these rare avian specimens to eat.
set off again, and circled Nukufaiau on our way home to Nomuka.
Above us it was mostly clear, but around the perimeter of
the vast sky were the towering nimbostratus clouds in the
shape of giant stuffed animals or Great Britain. It was past
6:00 now, and the sun made its descent straight ahead of us.
The tide was low again so we couldnt get into the reef
at Nukufaiau. We called it a day and headed for home.
we nursed our wounds by staying inside all day, hiding from
both children and the intense sun. Rebek was burnt throughout
the face and suffering from a migraine. I was still afflicted
with fat hand. March had started out nice and cool, but it
has gotten unbearably hot again. Only occasional brief showers
make it different from February and January.
skipped church again too. Rebek hasnt been this year,
while I have only been once. It is hard to force ourselves
to go, as we just dont like it and it is a hassle trying
to keep the dog from coming into the church. People seem to
accept our heathen ways, so we dont really bring it
up. I wouldnt mind church so much as a community activity,
but I just dont like the way it is done or taught. Maybe
I dont understand Christianity. Do Christians elsewhere
think that Judaism is a form of Christianity? People here,
who spend up to fifteen hours a week in church and pray before
and after every meeting or activity, know very little about
the history of the whole thing. I guess I cant generalize,
but all the Tongans I talk to about religion (which I try
to avoid at all costs) surprise me with their overall ignorance
about the matter. They can quote the bible, but they cant
place Jesus in any sort of time or place in the world. When
discussing politics (a no-no in the Peace Corps) I often ask
people why they think Bush went to war with Iraq. Most people
say they dont really know or care, but the reason that
the Tongans support him in his holy effort (they were a member
of the mighty Coalition of the Willing) is because Saddam
and his henchmen are non-Christian.
now Tonga is trying to enter the WTO, but has come under criticism
by the US about its human rights record, particularly about
recent freedom of press issues and choice of government.
only have two weeks left of school for the term. This year
is really going fast. This Friday is School Day, where each
form has to do an item and try to raise $200. I am the form
teacher for Form 1 along with Lani, who is pregnant and looking
after her three kids alone while her husband, the police officer,
is in Pangai for a big trial. That means that I have been
coaching them alone in their Fijian hula. I dont have
the choreographic spirit the Tongans do, and havent
been much help. Luckily they take this stuff very seriously
and can pretty much take charge on their own.
trial, for a murder last year, has been a constant source
of gossip here in Nomuka. The trial (which a lot of people
find unnecessary, since the church has already forgiven the
boys involved) was over after three painful days, only to
be challenged due to a juror who turns out to be family with
a defendant. Our friend Ateliana complained, rightly
so in my opinion, and a lot of people are upset about that.
I have been told that the Tongan way is to do what is right
regardless of family connections, but I find this hard to
believe, as most people think what is right is to forget the
whole thing. The man who was killed -- so I (and the jury)
have been told -- was bad anyway, having made home brew for
sale. Since he was breaking the law, his murder loses some
of its criminality. It has been decided that it was not premeditated
murder, even though there is a witness who claims she heard
the boys say they will hit the man if he says no to their
request for home brew. He also didnt die right away
it possible that he was not fatally wounded until he was moved
to the hospital? The defense lawyer (if he is any good) certainly
thinks so. The re-trial resulted in a conviction--the two
boys who went inside got four years each and the other four
got two years of "work."
trial has been hard on a lot of people, including Lani, who
has to look after her kids all alone while teaching and being
pregnant. Rebek has to teach Atelianas Class 1
and 2 and the kids dont understand a word she
says in either language. She might as well teach in Spanish.
They do a lot of hokey-pokey and alphabet song.
of Spanish, it is hard to imagine from here what the reaction
is abroad to the Spain bombings. Is it like 9/11? It is certainly
very sad and frightening. I remember riding that subway when
I was 14 or 15, a freshman in high school, thinking I was
pretty mature and worldly as I managed to not only get into
bars in a big foreign city like Madrid, but also find my way
home on the subway.
love Monday mornings lately. I dont have class until
around 12:00 and I get great basketball coverage on Armed
Forces Radio. I just heard Maryland beat Duke for the ACC
title and now I am hearing the Spurs/ Kings game. Definitely
a highlight of the week.
|The building on the hill houses Nomuka's
only telephone, which is solar powered.
been quite a week here in Nomuka. Finnerty had been going
crazy for a few weeks: barking, howling, and running off to
the neighbors yards, compelled by the urges of masculine
instinct. Many factors--including lack of sleep, and the feeling
that as Peace Corps volunteers we should set an example--contributed
to us deciding to take action and fix him. He is over a year
old, but we figured it was the right thing to do. So we asked
around, and received many names of those who are smart
at fixing dogs. We settled on one, a teacher at the Wesleyan
primary school, named Vaisiliva (translated: Silverwater).
He had gone to agricultural tertiary school some time ago,
and was highly recommended by some. Others had less than high
praise for his work.
on the big day, Monday, I and some boys put Finns head
in a sack, held him down, and Vaisiliva cut into his scrotum
sack, cut the fatty tissue connecting the testicles to the
body, and finally tied off the veins with fishing line. The
razor had supposedly been cleaned with alcohol. Finn didnt
know what hit him. We let go and backed off in a semi-circle.
Finn jumped up, looked around, and finally ran off and looked
to Rebek for consolation.
next day, he looked a little swollen and the cuts were still
quite open, so I washed the area with an antibacterial wash
and put some gauze and tape over the area. The next day, he
was even worse, and it continued to become worse until Sunday,
when his testicles (or lack there of) and his penis looked
like balloons about to pop. At this point I was expecting
him to die, and was very sad about it. Rebek might have felt
the same, but was more optimistic. We both felt terrible about
having done it and wished with all of our hearts that we could
take it back and live with his natural, yet obnoxious behavior.
Life in Nomuka without Finn was a daunting idea. He understands
us better than most people here. Of course by this time everyone
knew what was going on and were very sympathetic (as much
as they could be while still hoping that we would be eating
the dog within a day or two).
went to Vaisiliva, and he came over after church. He chastised
me for covering the wounds (like it was MY fault), and we
tried to give him a shot of penicillin. The needle was meant
for humans and didnt work, but I managed to get him
to swallow some pills instead. On Monday, I called the vet
in Tonga, and he told me to have Vaisiliva open the wound
back up and keep up the penicillin. I decided to do it myself,
and, after acquiring sterile supplies from the health center,
I went to work. I laid the poor puppy on some newspapers in
the living room (the obituaries sadly enough) and chose a
boil-like area on the inside of his leg. I punctured it, releasing
a vile smelling combination of pus, blood, dead bacteria,
and who knows what else. It came in torrents of red, black
and white. We smiled through the stench, knowing that this
was only helping. Since then, the area has reduced in swelling
and we are only hoping the new cut can heal, as it is in a
sadness and anxiety we have felt this week! We have tried
to keep him inside and clean, and spend a lot of time comforting
him. If anything, this week has made us appreciate what it
must be like to have a sick child: the waiting, the frantic
calling of the doctor, the judgment decisions. We will certainly
hire a professional to do any circumcisions required if and
when we are blessed with a male child.
are leaving for Tonga tomorrow. We might bring Finn to the
vet if he doesnt look substantially better, but it will
be a real pain in the ass to get him on the boat, not to mention
having him with us in Tonga. We are ready for a little break.
This month has been long and hot, and we need a little palangi
time. As if I havent stressed enough through my writing
how different it is here, I will say it again. This place
is strange. Every day, little things manage to either throw
us off course or rethink our whole idea of what is going on
here and our place in it. We both agree that our place is
not what it could be. We would like to join in more (be joiners),
but we cant shake the Christianity thing. Every activity
is church related. We went on a picnic last week with the
Mormons and found ourselves being converted.
isnt Christianity itself we have a problem with. It
is the way it is used here to squash individuality and maintain
the old class system under a different name that bothers us.
It is the lack of knowledge about the other belief systems
there are out there. And there is an underlying anti-Semitism
that is becoming more and more apparent. Someone told me today
that the reason Hitler killed the Jews was because they didnt
re-circulate the money they made back into the economy and
compared it to the Chinese in Tonga (who they all hate). And
the other day one of our favorite kids told me that he heard
Jews were selfish. This from a kid who has never seen a Jew
before, and had only heard of Jews because people call his
Aunt who lives in Tonga Jewish for not giving an exorbitant
amount of money to the Church. She owns a store and has more
to give. A long time ago, when we first told people we are
Jewish, we had someone ask us if it is true that no Jews went
to work in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
have never faced anti-Semitism before. At least not since
fifth grade, when we moved to Maine. I remember walking to
school with my new friends Jeff and Jason and them telling
Jewish jokes, not knowing I was one. I didnt know what
to say. I probably laughed. I was new to the school. But I
have never really felt it like I do know, and I dont
were not many Jews in Cape Elizabeth (maybe three), and I
never really associated with them. I never really wanted to
get to know the ones I knew from Hebrew school in Portland
either, and after my Bar Mitzvah I never went back. And I
never really noticed if the people around me were religious:
whether they were regular churchgoers or not I have no idea.
Tufts was almost a third Jewish, I think, and it was my first
opportunity to meet any Jewish people I liked. I was shocked
to learn which of my friends were Jewish, and that they had
had other Jewish friends growing up. Rebecca was the first
Jewish girl I ever dated. And I didnt even know. Living
in Los Angeles and New York I was surrounded, if not by Jews,
at least by a secular, intellectual, open-minded society that
I though existed everywhere. I cant say I thought much
about religion my whole life and I have tended to scoff at
overly religious people of any denomination. And I imagined
that anti-Semitism in this day and age was only to be found
in the Middle East or the Muslim neighborhoods of Paris.
night last year, I remember very clearly a conversation with
a friend from Nebraska. He was a Peace Corps volunteer serving
in his third year, and while in Tonga I liked to stop by his
house for a few beers. He is the type of guy with whom you
can start a conversation at 7:00 and before you know it its
3:00am. He's about as free and unprejudiced a person as you
could find. Maybe serving three times in the Peace Corps will
do that to a person. But he enlightened me to the sentiments
that he knew growing up in the vast plains in the center of
our country where I have only passed through. The people he
knew there were very Christian. Peoples activities and
associations were all church-based. And there was a lot of
anti-Semitic feeling there too. He explained to me what they
felt and why they felt that way. To him growing up, Judaism
was as foreign to him as anti-Semitism was to me. I left the
house that night feeling somewhat saddened, but I couldnt
figure out why. I guess I always knew it was out there, but
I had never heard even such a vivid account of it as I had
heard from my friend.
I feel real anti-Semitism, and I guess, like all hatred, it
is out of ignorance. Regardless, it hurts. Here, though, I
find it is in another language and of such a simple nature
I cant really begin to talk to the people about it.
People have told me they agree with Bushs war against
Iraq because Saddam is a non-Christian. How can you argue
against something like that? These people would start new
Crusades if they had the manpower.
here love Bush. I ask why, and they say because he is
brave. I think it is because they love war, especially the
winners. I dont even think they know how religious Bushs
messages are, and if they did they would love him even more.
I had another conversation today with the principal of Rebeks
second school. He said it was good to overthrow Saddam because
he was bad. I asked if it was all right for New Zealand to
overthrow the king of Tonga if they disagree with his policies.
He understood that one. But he still likes Bush because he
is brave. I told him about Kerry and Bushs Vietnam records.
That might have had an effect.
were going to Tongatapu. It is my first break. Well
see some friends, have some palangi food and beers, and do
some planning for our business. And well return, and
maybe this feeling I have now will have passed, and the air
will be cooler, and all will be well as we finish out our
year (seven to eight months really). It will be sad to me
if people still have misconceptions about Jews after we leave
there is very little we can do except be ourselves. I hope
and doubt that will be enough to cancel out the words of their
wise and all-powerful ministers.
am sending these off to be put up on the website now. We are
in Tongatapu, and apart from being sad at how isolated we
feel at the moment (what happened to all the letters, guys?
And packages?), we are feeling pretty good overall and I hope
that my journal doesnt seem too negative. Our last couple
of days in Nomuka were really nice and we left comfortable
in the fact Finn will probably live, and our being Jews isnt
the worst thing in the world. We ate our last chicken the
other night with Mamana, Meki and Benson. It was great. The
boat ride down sucked, as usual. When we arrived last night,
we rented a couple of movies (someone finally fixed the office
VCR!), ate Chinese food, and went to bed.