How to Get Over Homesickness

So I was in a really bad mood missing people, and all of a sudden I heard a gunshot. The shot itself did not so much disturb me. This is a place where kids from first grade on often bring a machete to school, but I had not seen a gun since I’ve been here and was told only cowards use them, so I went outside from lying and sulking in my mosquito net to find a pig bleeding from the head. Glad to see that dinner was the only victim. I was told to start collecting banana and coconut leaves, which I did, and we quickly covered the pig with them so we could burn the pig until all the skin and hair was charred, and
then they had me help scale the charred skin off with a machete like fish’s scales before they grabbed it and cut it open by the rectum, pulling out all the insides by hand which of course made the deceased pig make wretched smells but also interesting in a culture where no one washes their hands ever. Made me wary of the next meal, although I still agreed to eat some pig heart, which tastes like liver except the metalic taste lingers in your mouth, and stomach, which tastes like bacon. I didn’t try the intestine. Having seen it, that was a little to much for me, but there’s nothing like burning a pig for making you
forget your strange mood.

So it’s been a few weeks since the last time I was in town to check the internet, and it’s still going to be another month until I have any form of consistent internet access. It’s been pretty much language class, and culture class, and starting next week we have technical training. The only really unique stuff going on is that I get to drink the freshest alcoholic drinks you’ve ever had, cracking open a coconut with a machete and pressing some fresh pineapple into it before adding a dash of rum to the coconut. Not a bad drink. And also, in preparation for culture day next weekend, I’ve been singing with a tongan band as a few peace corps girls do a traditional dance, and they actually like me voice (take that ioana!). Also been to a few more kava circles, which is fun except its all about joking and most the jokes are about the Princess Ashika ferry sinking a few months ago (almost like the Tongan sept 11 in terms of impact) and making fun of this mentally challenged dude. Guess there is no such thing as politically correct here.

My favorite new info to relate is about adoption. There are orphanages here, and well there are many crazy reasons for adoption. If the older sister of a husband wants the kid, she can demand it and he has to give it to her. If the grandparents want the kid, they also have the right, and almost definitely will take the kid if it is has their name. If another family wants a child of a certain gender and a family has a lot of children, they can just ask for a kid and will almost certainly be granted it. A childless brother or sister can have a child if their sibling’s family is abundant. And if a mother is not married, someone in the family will probably show up at the hospital or at the home and take the child from her without giving her the choice. In fact birth mothers rarely get the choice over their own child, and the child is usually not told by his parents if he is adopted, but will eventually find out by someone in the community. But the adopted children are often treated better than the biological child. For example, the latest female on female murder in Tonga was because the adopted child was older than the oldest biological child, and since the eldest boy inherits everything from his parents, this is a big deal. The wife of the biological child was jealous that the adopted one inherited everything, so she got in a fight with the adopted child’s wife and killed her.

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