Friday, December 17, 2010

Culture Day

                Our Culture Day was last month but I didn’t get a chance to post any of the pics or write about so I’m doing it now.  When we arrived at our home stays, each village was assigned some cultural assignments for our Culture Day.  Each village had to learn a different Tongan dance, how to cook different Tongan foods, teach some members of our village something American (i.e. song, dance, etc.).  On top of these, all the men had to weave their own kafa, which is a belt for our taovalas that is made out of the husks of coconuts.  Also all the women had to weave their own kiekie’s which is kind of like a hanging belt (Check out the pics). 
                Our village was assigned to learn the maululu which is a sitting down dance.  We had to practice about 4 times and it was quite the pain in the ass but it went pretty well.  We cooked an assortment of Tongan dishes.  My dish was otaika (raw fish) and it was delicious.  I didn’t actually make it like I was supposed to, but it’s probably my favorite Tongan food.  Its raw fish which is cut up with peppers, coconut milk and lime.  We didn’t actually teach anyone from our community anything American but I was able to pull the part of the presentation off by bringing my two year old homestay brother Leki up on stage with me.  He already knows how to answer basic English questions like “What is your name?” and “How old are you?”  So for example when I asked him “How old are you?” he replied “2!” It’s more of him memorizing what he should say when he hears the question rather than him understanding the questions, so as long as I asked the questions in English with a Tongan accent he was able to answer. I took him on stage with me and told everyone that I taught my 2-year old brother to speak English, which was a lie because his parents taught him but most of the people didn’t know that.  He did great, he answered the questions and it was really cute.  
In Tonga when a dance is being performed, people will walk up on stage and stick money to them to show their appreciation.  The other dances have you all oiled up so that you can slap the bills on the skin.  Luckily the Maululu doesn't have any oil involved.

Me standing awkwardly all dressed up for the maululu

Action shot of the Maululu

Walking up the stage with Leki

Another Fotua group shot

Crowd pic.  You can see some of the food we all cooked for Culture Day on the tables

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