Friday, September 27, 2013
Tuesday was a holiday in Tonga. It is the Crown Prince’s Birthday. We didn’t have to go into work but we had set up an appointment with a man in Fo’ui. He is trying to help the children in his village succeed in school. They go to the primary schools for grades 1 thru 6. At the end of the 6th year they have to pass a test in order to continue with their education. He said that the parents are very supportive of their children’s education when they are in primary school but once they are out of the 6th grade, that support really falls off. He thinks that it is because the parents are not educated and they can’t help their kids with their school work passed that level. If the kids don’t pass the test they have to repeat the 6th level or they drop out of school. If they drop out, you have kids 11 and 12 years old with nothing to do. They start getting in trouble, smoking and drinking and their future looks dim. He is trying to help all the children in the village pass the test. He has organized the village and they pay 2 teachers to come to the town hall and tutor the children on Wednesday and Thursday nights for 2 hours. They are paying the teachers 200 pa’anga a night, which is unbelievable. That is how committed he is to help. There are between 25 and 30 kids that come each night. They sit on a cement floor and bend over and write on the floor to take notes. He is asking for some tables and chairs. It about broke my heart to hear his story. I think about my grandkids at home with not only beautiful schools and desks, but they have computers and every advantage imaginable. Why are some children born into such poverty and others born into such ease???