Saturday, November 21, 2009

Education week

Another action packed week. Sister Hoagland and I were able to visit with the Elder's investigators, in one case providing child care while the lesson was taught. We were also involved with speaking in church, teaching institute and primary and priesthood classes.

Two weeks ago we visited a less active family who invited us to come to the community play center on grandparents day. There are play centers in many communities funded by the education ministry. Parents come with their children and watch and help them play with many available activities. There is no structured play, things are just provided and the kids move from one thing to the next at their own pace and desire. They go two days a week for a couple of hours and everyone shows up with refreshments, etc.
This little girl was assisted by her mother to dress up like Snow White.
The large sand box is a favorite of the older children.
Play dough is prepared and the children come and go playing in the stuff
Sister Hoagland is helping at the crafts table. The colored glue came off easy. Sofie is behind the counter (center) fixing us "Milo," Her Sister-in-law was also there assisting her. She will be taking the lessons. That is her feeding Sofie's baby, who just turned one and is walking.
Lots of tools for the little carpenters. One of the grandpa's is helping out. We enjoyed having a long visit with Sophi and her two toddlers. They live 45 minutes from church and find it hard to make it there. They are a wonderful family and hope they will be able to attend more often. They want to baptize their soon to be 8 year old son in February.
It must be a characteristic of the islanders to stay pretty close to home. There is not much variety of scenery in Tonga so I assume travel and sightseeing is not what they do there on there rather small Island. Our youth have lived here for 5 years and we have taken them places close by that they have not been too. This week we took our institute girls to see "Punakaiki", just north of here on the way to Westport. This is the path leading to the attractions, pancake rocks, and blowholes. It is a very beautiful spot.
Here are the girls, Mafi and Ofa, who just have a wonderful time no matter where they are. They are celebrating their 19th birthdays. Last year we showed you the big party they were given by their parents.
We were fortunate to have fairly clear weather while there as we passed through a storm on the way and things got worse all day. Their are some very beautiful seascapes here.

Nesting birds on the pancake rocks.
We took this picture while the children were forming to sing a song to be videoed for their new school website. They sang a pirate song.
Here are the results of their hard work. Some of their written work, crafts and pictures are hung on the wall. Some children are pictured in the port holes and others "swabbing the deck." Included are the teacher, top left, two aids, and Elder & Sister Hoagland top right.
Friday we went to the technical school graduation where Sister Kinikini and Mafi graduated from their "care givers" class. It will provide them more money in their employment. President Kinikini was inspired after the exercises to possibly take some classes. Their boss is also the teacher at the school. We have tried to encourage our youth to get all the education they can. We hoped we could talk Mafi into going to BYU Hawaii, but she didn't want to leave home.

The Tsunami in Samoa has brought the Island community together here in Greymouth. It started with a large fund raising program at the local theater. Greymouth raised $15,000.00 with there 10,000 population. Christchurch, with over 60,000.00 people only raised $40,000.00. Since then each island group has had their own function where all the other pacific islanders were invited. Saturday was Tonga's activity where all pacific islanders came to support them. Above is our Tupoa and her sister Lisa dressed in island costume.
After a big feed, the Tongan's demonstrated their cova ceremony. Here Sister Kinikini is describing how the ceremony is conducted. Her daughter Moni is the woman who prepares the cova.
After the cova is prepared, young ladies serve the participants one at a time. The church has allowed cova to be consumed by members only during these ceremonies. They are given only a small portion here. Unfortunately, many find it a social activity and excuse it as cultural.
There are Fijian's, Samoan's and Tongan's in this circle. Topou is giving the first portion to the man designated for this demonstration as the chief. Baby Lou Ann Kinikini is an extra added attraction. President Kinikini is sitting in the corning nursing a sore back. He has been off work now for three weeks because he fell off his ladder trimming trees. I don't think he could sit that way on the floor right now.
The activity was held at one of the three rugby (football) clubs in town. This one in Blake town, just west of downtown Greymouth.
Sister Hoagland in her Tongan garb. We are hoping that the weather changes so we don't need coats.

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