• Stan Manu

My Short Trip to Tonga Has Just Ended

Hi everyone Am waiting at the Auckland Airport for my flight to Apia where I'll be spending a day before heading to Pago Pago on my way back to Canada. Don't you worry if you're surpised; not many people knew of my planned trip. It was supposed to be a surprise for my mom but decided instead to tell her beforehand during Mother's Day so that she could look forward forward to my visit. I was once again called to come down to American Samoa for the third time to finalise the revision of their grades K-12 math standards, and this time I decided to make the onward trip to Tonga. After a week at Pago Pago (May 20-25), where I once again met Maletino and family, I flew May 25 to Apia where I spent half-a-day with Fr Hiko and his community. Fr Hiko dropped me off at Faleolo Airport that night to catch my flight to Tonga via Auckland. To my surprise I wasn't allowed to board my Air NZ flight to Auckland because my transit time turned out to be 26 hours - 2 hours over the allowed transit hours. I was really disappointed and very sad that I was not going to make my connection to Tonga. Fr Hiko had already left the airport, not knowing I was going to get stuck there that night. Luckily there was a Virgin Blue flight the following afternoon, and ended up using my spending money to purchase a new ticket from Apia to Auckland, where I stayed the night for my morning flight the next day to Tonga. I had called Hiko to pick me up from Fuaamotu. He returned to work while I made my way to Matahau after a few errants in town, including visiting my brother Sepa at the hospital and picking up my sister from Api Foou. My mom and everyone at home were very happy to see me, and though it was very short, I really enjoyed every bit of it. The highlights were: (a) seeing everyone I was able to visit: family, relatives, community people, schools, friends, and even had a chance to see the Director and MInister of Education. (b) going to mass at the new Tonga Carmelite Monastery with my mom (and sometimes with some of my sister's kids) every morning at 5:30am. These daily morning masses are organised with the Parish Priests in Tonga. (c) see Hiko and Pele's new baby girl, and since she is named after my mom, Lotiola quickily declares that Jr is the cutest of them all! She is cute alright, and am very happy for the new family. (d) able to visit my brother Sepa almost every day when I'm in town. (e) able to do some shopping for my family and friends back in Canada. Gotta go...will write some more later. 'Ofa atu Stan

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