There are about 15 students between grades 1 and 6, with the students between 6 and 12 years old. As soon as we arrived they moved all of their desks and chairs to the walls, creating an open space in the middle of the room. The linoleum on the floor was in bad disrepair and many of the furnishings were falling apart. Still, things seemed neat and orderly. We were given chairs and the students sat on the floor in two rows facing us. One very pretty little girl put beautiful leis around each of our necks. The students then stood, one at a time, and introduced themselves in English. They told us who their mother and father are, their age and what they want to be when they grow up. The teacher then asked us to introduce ourselves. They sang us songs in both Tongan and English, did a traditional dance and recited some of their lessons. The teacher explained to us that compulsory school ends at grade 6 and if a student wants to continue they must first pass a test and then be willing and able to move to another village where higher grades are taught. Not only does the school cost the families a significant amount (by Tongan standards) but it's often difficult for the children to adjust not being at home, especially in a culture where family life is very important. I asked them to teach us some words in Tongan and they taught us hello - Malo e lelei; thank you - Malo; please - Fakamolemole; goodbye (if you're the one leaving) - Nofo a; goodbye (if someone else is leaving and you're staying) - Alu a. We took some pictures of the class as we were leaving and one small boy put his arms around Ruthie.
One of the boat's that is on a similar route as Rutea is called Slow Dance. It's a beatiful 80' motorsailor, owned by a former Hollywood movie producer. He has a crew of four people, most of them around Corie's age so she's been hanging out with them. Yesterday they invited us for cocktails and a tour of the boat. The owner was pleasant but a little cantankerous while the South African captain and his brother, the first mate, were very friendly and easy going. The cook made delicious hors d'ouerves. The topic of the World Cup Rugby games came up in conversation and the game for last night was South Africa against Samoa. Having just spent four weeks in Samoa (we attended a rugby game while there), we felt an affinity for the Samoan team. Of course, our South African friends were going to cheer on their country's team and bets were wagered. We all met later in the evening at one of the bars in town to watch the game, which was being played in New Zealand. South Africa scored a try (equivalent to a touchdown in American football) and converted the extra points early in the game. Two penalties by Samoa gave the South African team two more scores and it was looking dismal for Samoa. Yet they battled back, eventually scoring a try but failing to convert the extra points. Still, South Africa was unable to score any additional points and as the final seconds ticked away, Samoa drove down the field with last gasp determination. South Africa was able to prevent them from scoring but everyone was on the edge of their seats. South Africa won, 13 to 5.
Tonight we're going to a bay-side restaurant to celebrate my birthday with three other boats whom we have become very close. I think the World Cup game tonight is between France and Australia. France doesn't stand a chance.
At 10/1/2011 12:15 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 18°39.59'S 173°58.98'W
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