Day 2 Tupou Tour, 2013

Outdoor Shower

27th of September: a six o’clock start to our second day in Tonga, has the majority of the 27 boys training for the big game on Monday against the  Tupou boys. And from the look of their team… we will need it.

Breakfast is next in line and from our previous experiences of the Tupou College hospitality we all know that we are in for a treat. After this we are all outlined on the day’s proceedings. The major events of the day went as follows: container opening, bus to markets,  a scenic drive, a visit to the poorest part of tonga and dinner at a beach side restaurant. To say the least we were excited.

At 9.30  the smiles on the Tupou College boys and staff said it all- it was  time to open the container. The container was filled with many donated items such as IT gear, books, science equipment, rugby gear and many other useful resources. The ceremony started with the Tupou boys singing their prayers (their voices still amaze all the boys). This was then followed by speeches by Rev.Dr Fisi’ihoi Mone,  Mr Quince and various staff who talked about how much this gesture of kindness from Newington actually means to Tupou College.

Our tour captain, Zac Newton, then presented their Senior Prefect, Isileli Eke, with the key to the crate and some photos were taken so that this day could be relived again. After the crate was officially opened and blessed, Tupou and Newington College boys came together in mateship and respect to unload the invaluable resources together.IMG_9154

After spending a few hours unloading the container, all of the Newington boys boarded a bus and headed for the markets. On the bus trip Mr Quince broke into a sweat as he had taken on the role of the money exchanger. This was the most chaotic part of the trip so far. Upon arrival at the markets it was evident that our two countries were vastly separated by wealth as the markets to most boys looked exactly like something out of a movie. Although with family in mind we rushed off to the markets in search of gifts for them upon our return. The gifts that were available were all very cultural and had their own distinct meaning behind each creation. The gifts available ranged significantly from hand wooden fans to whalebone carvings.

Markets

The market closed and we embarked upon the next part of tour which included a scenic drive along the coast of Tonga. At the beginning of the drive we saw crystal clear water, isolated islands and lush vegetation. Though as we continued down the coast we were informed that we were approaching the poorest part of Tonga and we were unsure of what to expect. As we drove through this poor neighbourhood around the old garbage dump, a dead silence broke throughout the bus and emotions soon turned to guilt as we compared our lifestyle to that of these people. To describe and write what we saw and felt is impossible as it is something you have to experience yourself to understand the enormity of the situation that they face everyday of their life. We set out for a scenic drive and were met with the cruel reality of poverty.IMG_9078

After this emotional experienced we were grateful to be able to go out to dinner at a beachside restaurant. We arrived early, giving us time to walk along the tropical beach where we enjoyed the warm water, coral and beautiful views. Dinner was served in buffet style and again the hospitality was amazing with many cultural dishes for us to enjoy, including another roast pig.

After dinner on Friday night at Vakaloa Beach Resort the usual entertainment would normally consist of a casual night of one man singing. Though to our surprise Nia had organized a performance consisting of various dances from the countries of Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii and New Zealand. All of the boys are very thankful for the opportunity to experience the night and many said that it was one of the best nights of their life.

Written by Jonathon McConnell & Lachlan Cameron

Day 1 Tupou Tour, 2013

Editors note: Finally …..Internet access has been restored at Tupou College! All is fine with your sons & we are having a fantastic tour.
(spoiler alert re: Rugby results. Newington won 27-5 on the 30/9/13! This is our first victory on Tupou College’s home ground. Coach Gill & the boys are currently basking humbly in their victory).

At 3:30pm on the 25th September, four organised teachers and 27 eager  boys met outside the Virgin Atlantic counter, trailed by some nervous and concerned parents. Every single one of the boys was prepared to set off for Tonga. Mr Gill set the tone for the tour with an inspirational speech about our tour mascot- the Wyvern dragon, which Tyrone was responsible for initially. He also did an excellent job handing out the tickets (evidently the most difficult job for this whole trip – a job  he was well suited for).

The card games, jokes and excitement made the flight not seem as long.. However, we were overwhelmed when we finally arrived at Tonga airport. The first thing that hit us was the humidity. However, quickly we were amazed by the reception from our brother school, Tupou College, “who we need to appreciate because we stand on the shoulders of giants when it comes to the relationship” (Mr Quince, 2013).

Even though it was 2:30am, many staff and students from Tupou incluing their Principal , Rev. Dr Fisi’ihoi Mone were there to greet us and transport all boys, staff and Mr Gill  to our dorms which we will sleep in for the rest of our stay. At 4:00am we indulged ourselves in a small “Tongan tea party”. It wasn’t much different to our own back home. Just huge pieces of chicken and tuna, with 2 oversized roasted pigs. Nothing much at all. Then we finally settled down for along sleep at 4:30am…………………IMG_8918

At 6:00 am we awoke to join our fellow Tupou College students in their morning march to church service. Our marching had a few comparative flaws to our fellow students. However, fortunately the senior commanding officer, Captain Gill, set a great example for us students by sitting down and having a laugh at our expense.

Chapel service followed the march. The amazing singing of the Tupou college boys really woke us up! The warm welcomes from and Rev. Dr Fisi’ihoi Mone and Deputy Principal Rev. Longinusi Tuipulotu was very special. We were welcomed  by the Tupou College community in their most sacrosanct place in a very special ceremony.

We were served an impressive breakfast, which consisted eggs, sausages and toast, and some some words of wisdom from our much loved uncle for the trip, Head of English, Rev Aisake Haukinima.

We then watched the official welcome assembly from the Tupou College boys. This welcome had plenty of singing, dancing and war cries. The brass band of Tupou College also performed many of their award winning pieces. In response to their hospitality, the boys and teachers of Newington danced to their band. Our dancing caused lots of laughing from our Tupou brothers and sisters – especially Mr Gill’s dance moves.Welcoming Ceremony

After the assembly and lunch, we caught up on some well deserved rest before the boys did a rugby training session  in the pouring rain along with the Tupou 15A team. Their coach was very happy to see the methods and structure of Newington’s rugby program. IMG_9038

It has been an amazing first 16 hours and we have been so appreciative of the friendship,love and hospitality shown to us by everyone at Tupou College.

Written by Anooj Ghadge

The 2013 Service Learning and U/15 Rugby Tour kicks off soon!

Hi Guys,

We depart for Tonga on Wednesday the 25th of September.

This blog will be updated as regularly as possible and will be overseen by Mr Quince and Anooj Ghadge.

We will try to have contributions from various members of the touring party.

We are looking forward to a great trip with our family in Tonga!

 Mr Quince