In May 2016 I returned to Tonga, this time along with Kevin and Michelle Fleming.
Michelle is our Community and Business Development Adviser, and has encouraged Wellness Pacific to focus directly on helping at village level.
We had many meetings from which we were able to gauge the pulse of the Tongan people. These included the Minister Hon. Semisi Tauelangi Fakahau, Minister of Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries
The King’s Advisor, Ratu Tevita Mara
Adele Plummer NZ’s Deputy High Commissioner in Tonga:
As well as meeting separately with representatives from 3 village councils.
At Navutoka with Lui, Rose and Nilan we had barbequed pork.
At Veitongo we were invited to join their kava ceremony, and at Puke they put on a delicious supper for us.
We had decided at these village meetings that we would use the approach of the old Chinese proverb:
So, at each village we asked the same 2 questions:
And in each case the answers were the same:
They wanted us to help them establish viable projects, to enable them to grow and export horticultural crops – not unexpected as they are in the main farmers.
The funds raised are to put their children at least through high school and if possible university
We also met the incredibly talented Parlu
16 years ago her Dad set up a monthly kava meeting, which funded Palu through High School and then University (as a result, Parlu has a Masters in International Business Relations). At their village meeting, her Dad was home from his work in Hawaii, and it was a great pleasure to meet him. He is getting on, and was delighted to pass the baton of what he started (raising money for children’s education) onto his daughter. Palu now has the vision to do for all the children in her village what her father did for her.
From a horticulturalists point of view, the land is easily cultivated:
We are currently looking at horticultural projects to utilise this land.