Sunday, June 26, 2011

Alright, Alright, Alright, HEY! efy Virginia week 1

I am working efy- especially for youth this summer for seven weeks. It is a camp through the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that is designed just for the youth. I am working it as a Health counselor this summer, which is different from what I have done the past two years. It is really fun, but definitely a different experience. I miss being a counselor, but being a health counselor has its excitement too!

Believe, Hope , Endure! ~ Theme for 2011

This weeks synopsis consisted of lots of midol, a girl throwing up in our rental car, a dislocated knee cap, and a fire in one of the buildings(no worries just the curtains caught on fire during rehearsal for the variety show from the light bulbs, everyone was fine though). I love being with the youth and seeing their excitement for life and the gospel. I love the team of people I am working with and my co counselor is fantastic! We just have a ton of fun together. We survived week one victoriously! This week I have another responsibility of being over some of the other counselors, hope I can do it!

Kayla and me with some of our youth from my first week ever of working efy.

Kristen and Jason being DJs and flossing of course!

Kirk a fellow past co and partner in crime for embarrassing moments.

Kirk, Kayla, and me rockin the polos!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stamp in the Passport

The last couple of days on the main island of Tongatapu were spent playing! We went to the blowholes and other beaches. We also went to the temple again. Oh I have some funny stories about the temple from the first time we went together. I was really excited because I was getting to do family names that I brought, so much so that when I went into the font I slipped on the stairs and jetted into the font! Luckily I had one hand on the rail to help me out a bit. The tongans had a good laugh about that, but not as much as we did when we heard about Jaclyn and Laurie's stories later. So the signs were not in English so they both were a little confused as to which bathroom they were suppose to go into. So they start taking their showers  and the government power shuts off at seven every night until the generator kicks in. So poor jaclyn is in the dark in the boys bathroom yelling I am still in here! She finally realizes her mistake when the power comes back on and quickly makes her way to the right one! Luckily there was only one boy doing a lot of names so he hadn't come in yet! 
The Temple in Tonga, which was right next to the Liahona school where we were staying.

Me at the blowholes.

Laurie and Sarah at one of the beautiful beaches there, which is hard to find there because most of coast is coral and too rough to go swimming at.

Sione taking in the view. He was our pet turtle on our trip.

toes in the sand

License plate

Last day at the market, tired from all of our bartering. This old guy came up to us and was trying to talk to us about how love and forgiveness is all you need. It was really hard to understand him, but I guess he had a good message to share with us.

We also went to a little island called Pangimotu to do a bit of relaxing on a cloudy day of course.

This was our little home at the Liahona:

Our room.

I had to pull myself up on to my bed every time because there were no stairs to get up on it. It helped me build up some sweet biceps though ;)

 Then as our trip came to an end I decided to take 13 of my nursing friends on a trip to Fiji for my birthday! Ok so it was actually a really sad day to be leaving Tonga and our layover was in Fiji, but we still had a blast celebrating in Fiji at the Sheraton, which was a culture shock because it was so ritzy compared to anything we had seen in Tonga. We also had Indian for dinner, which was perfect because that is a family classic for celebrations. So I got two stamps in my passport for my birthday!

Hang out in the pool at the Sheraton

Amy and I at the Hindu temple in downtown Nandi. There is a huge Indian influence in Fiji because of the British rule up until 1970. We hardly met any native Fijians. I was alright with it though because it meant I was able to eat Indian food all the time we were there!

Jaclyn, Shelly, and me at my Indian birthday dinner.

Then begins the adventure of the fearsome five who were left behind in Fiji to fend for themselves at the Bamboo hostel!

Ofa Attu- Love is given

Vava'u Post #2
We went to the different islands yesterday to do health clinics it was so fun taking blood pressures on the beach! Such a surreal moment and one I will probably never get to do again. We went on this really little boat with the community nurses. And the coolest boatman ever, along with his daughter, probably some of the most hardcore people I have ever met. She definitely peeled a papaya with a machete.

One of the islands we went to in the community hall all of these women were making Ta'ovalas which are traditional clothing pieces worn by the men mostly but also the women, particularly for special occasions. They taught us how to make them too! 

We were prepared for whatever came our way ;)

Chillin with Meleami in the front of the boat.

I'm on a boat!

I got my vans on but they look like sneakers!

Doing blood sugars.

We aslo went to our own private beach and had a really fun time with all of the nurses. They are very modest in Tonga and go swimming in their clothes. We also went to this cave where when you jump in the water illuminates! It was such a clear blue you could see clear down to the bottom. I think that the little droppings of the caves residents (aka bats millions of them) might have been the cause of the luminous water!

 It has been very eventful lately to a late night delivery where the lady came in at nine cm at 1:00 am but did no delivery until 830 am so we were able to help her labor and wow that was a natural birth for a primip(first time mom). We just fanned her, rubbed her back, helped her breath through contractions and made sure she was as comfortable as possible. We did very little but she would keep on whispering "Thank you God" she attributed us being there because God was blessing her. It was interesting because the Tongans are so tough her cousin was there hitting her telling her to stop crying. Remember she was giving birth naturally right? I definitely have a greater respect for mothers everywhere! The baby was small too only five pounds and was not breathing when he came out so we had to resuscitate him. It was scary but thankfully Shelly was there and knew exactly what we needed to do. He was a beautiful baby boy.

Another lady some of the girls helped with during her labor. She named her daughter Toa BYU after us!

Holding the twins Jacob and Essau, we think they got their names from a joke we made about how they looked like they could be.

We also went kayaking which was beauftiful we saw tons of jelly fish just like in finding Nemo. today we all sang a tongan song for the nurses and all the patients at their prayer meeting they have it was so fun and they even put paanga $(their money) on us too, like we were professional dancers! We also sang come thou font and God be with you till we meet again which gets me every time. It is amazing how in short of a time you can form such strong friendships. It was hard to say goodbye to all of our dear friends we had made at the Ngu hospital there. 
Just as a side note. I always wanted to have Fiji water and in Tonga (and eventually Fiji) I guzzled it down like I was so posh only drinking Fiji water every day! Mostly I did not want to get giardia!


We spent a blissful week in Vava'u and it is by far my favorite in Tonga. It is so beautiful here and since the island is so small you are able to get to know everyone it seems like! We had another health fair here in Vava'u this time the background was even louder than in Tongatapu. Last week it was the Mother's day celebration and then in Vava'u it was the Father's day. Where they had a preacher practically yelling into the microphone. They also had children dancing and singing about the history of Tonga, which was fun to watch. Only because I was doing blood sugars and not trying to listen to blood pressures over the noise like I did last time. I paid my dues!

Rainbow giving us luck to a new start free of giardia! 

The Father's day presentation.

We had a really great turn out and discovered some new diabetic patients to be followed up on in the clinic the next week.

We have been in the hospital the past couple of days and I love the nurses here they are so nice and friendly and willing to teach us. Vava'u is so pretty especially with the sunset at night. 

We love it too because there are new zealanders that have great restaurants for us to eat at. 

everyone at the restaurant intently listening to Shelly give us love advice ;)

Andrea and I keeping it classy!

We were invited to a Tongan feast the past two days which was interesting and the food was actually good there I think because we were on the important people table so they had good food like the huge roast pig! It was with a church so there was a ton of praying and singing.

This video is of the singing at the feast. It really just took your breath away listening to their bellowing voices sing so boisterously and radiate against the walls. It was one of my favorite moments of the trip. 

Some of us we not so thrilled about the food. 

She was grateful for the ice cream. It was pretty much milk though because it was so hot in there!

Shelly and Camille really got into the celebrating! Sparkling style.

Oh since we were invited by the nurses at the hospital this was our ride to pick us up and bring us to the feast. Never had ridden in an ambulance until that moment. 

 They are very religious here and pray to gether before they start their shift. they also asked us to sing a song. We sang a child's prayer medley and it was actually very beautiful different from them bnut still pretty. We also taught for a bit in young womens on the spur. Our motto has been hurry up and wait and also where is the stool sample form everyone being sick but we are all feeling better and alive now!!!! We celebrated our first night with everyone feeling better with some delicious pizza. We also have been eating lots of cinnamon rolls, which are the best I have ever had! Don't worry we walk up a very steep hill everyday to the hospital to burn it all off. 

My all time favorite bathroom sign.

More funny signs at the airport.

Tongan version of air conditioning- open sliding door.

In the flower taxi.

One of the beaches we went to

The sign for our hotel we were staying at.

Me with one fat piggy, unfortunately I think he was there to help out with the next day's feasting celebrations.

Deina's got skills!

Today we might get to help prepare a body for buriual. I love how generous and friednly everyone is here. I want to be more selfless like them they are so willing to give anything.The Tongan are big people in stature and in their giving hearts.