Sunday, June 25, 2017

Watch out! Watch out! Watch out!

Since my hearing is so bad even with my new super duper state of the art hearing aids (shameless plug for the Hearing and Balance Center in SLC), there are occasionally some interesting things that happen.  I feel bad for Lepeka as she frequently has to repeat herself or interpret something for me.  I really appreciate how patient she is with my hearing loss and I try hard to listen so as not to just get into the habit of saying, "What?"

We were just pulling onto one of the main roads in Pea when I heard her say, "Watch out! Watch out! Watch out!"  So naturally, I slammed on the brakes.  She looked at me wondering why I had done that so I told her what I thought she had said.  It turns out she was just pronouncing one of the missionaries last names.  Elder Vakautakakala will forever now be know to us as Elder Watch out watch out watch out!

I thought you might be interested in getting a feel for the relative size of the main island in Tonga (Tongatapu) compared to the Salt Lake Valley.  It is approximately 24 miles long and a few miles across depending on location (maybe 3-5 miles).   I know some of you are thinking it looks like a wicked dogleg on a par 5 hole.  This isn't the best representation of the actual shape of Tongatapu as the island looks more like an elf shoe (see below), as mentioned in previous blogs, but this shows a good representation of the the relative size and orientation.  It's a fun website if you are into that kind of thing.  You can overlay almost any map (countries or states) to get an idea of the relative sizes of countries and states etc.  (click here or go to  

Here's the actual map for reference as well (as close to the same scale as I can get it).  The capital city of Nuku'alofa is about midway along the North side of the island and is the largest city in Tonga.  We average driving about 100 Km per day as we take care of the medical needs of the missionaries and go from meetinghouse to meetinghouse working with the technology.  There are 13 stakes on this island.  There are 6 stakes covering the rest of Tonga (soon to be 7).  We live at the yellow star on the map to the left (Liahona) right by the Temple.

L>R, Lepeka, Sister Ve'ehala (Tonga)
Sister Walter (Hawaii)
 We frequently take missionaries to appointments in the evenings that almost always conflict with their fafonga (supper in this case).  Since we never know for sure how long we are going to be we have them cancel their fafanga and we take them to eat.  That way we are sure they don't miss out on eating supper.

The view from our table in Little Italy
The view from our table in Little Italy
as the mission leaders arrived.

We took these two sisters to an appointment and afterward they wanted to go to Little Italy (an Italian restaurant in Nuku'alofa).  We went in and as soon as we ordered our Pizza, the entire mission leadership on Tongatapu shows up.  They are gathered for a meeting in the morning and the President brought them here for dinner.  I'm not sure the Sisters wanted to share their special dining experience with a group of rowdy leaders but we still enjoyed our dinner and then took them home.

Three Generation hair styling party.
We also ran across this LDS family in Matahau  grooming each other and thought it was a neat 3 generation shot with the family pets nearby (or dinner as the case may be).  They were having such a great time.  There was also a little boy nearby eating a lollie but we didn't get him in the photo.  They gave Lepeka permission to take the photo and post it n our blog.  It is so typical to see families enjoying their time together.

This is a photo of a couple of
small piglets (maybe 8-9 inches
in length).  We see them spotted
in almost any color.  They always
bring a smile as they trot around
everywhere usual nearby mama.
We've seen litters of 10 or so
scampering everywhere.
Not much more to report this week.  Just a few more shots of little piglets that  roam the island everywhere.  All sizes, markings and colors imaginable.  The spotted ones are very different than any I have ever seen in the U.S. and you have a wide variety within each litter.

Six more little piglets running free
in Sopu.  Fences are built to keep
the animals out (not in).  Dogs, pigs
and chickens run free.  It's very
common to have them cross the road
in front of you.  Cows are often tied
to a tree so they keep them more
under control.

One of the beaches on the Eastern shoreline of Tongatapu
This is along the Southern shoreline south of the airport

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