#9 Pray week in Tonga

2020 . 01 . 24

Hi, hello ! How are you ??
It’s 2020 !! It’s the first year of ‘Reiwa’ new year.
How did you spend new years holiday??
It was a bit late , but I’ll report Tongan new years in this time.

I passed the moment in not my island “Lifuka”,my friend’s island “Eua.
We started to pray at a church around 10p.m. and finished to pray after 0a.m on first of January. How beautiful that they were having a greeting touching cheeks each other.
And then, “Uike e lotu(Pray week)” was waiting after going buck to my island.

Praying at a church is very important for Tongan people.
I felt Uike e lotu is more important for them than going to a church on a new year day.
Uike e lotu starts from firtst Sunday of January.
They holt a party calling “Kaipoula” after Sunday church and then, they go a church everyday and everyday from 5 to 7 in the morning and in the afternoon from Monday to Friday!!

A strange accident had happened!!
My college who don’t have any feeling for coming late at job piked me up at 5a,m, otherwise we had a promise of it at half past 5a.m.

I found this week is very very important for them with this happening.

Before I go , I just thought
「Let’s try to treat what Tongan people do it .Because I’m here in Tonga.
If I could catch them heart, it’s better !」
I started to go Uike e lotu with such a mind, but I like to start a day hearing songs before it’s dark.

It’s very impressive ,dignified and emboldened.
It does not mutter not a right sound or correct tempo…
Maybe because they really sing with heart ? or because those mixing sounds?
I always feel it wonderful.
I feel myself been holding from something warm.
I wander there were some people were crying during chirch.

Actually,,, I also pray with tears everyday and everyday.
I was noticed that my dog had gone from my holiday.
So, I just pray.
Please alive , Please does not being him sad, please does not him hungry,,,,
I hoped my dear reached to the god.
Now still looking him.
(Dogs are not a lovely family for Tongan people.Dogs are every where and I think they rank maybe under pigs. So, even I cried out about a losing dog, nobody cares bout it seriously .)

They are same as me!?
Everyone might have each hope and face it seriously,
It’s not good to say their honest opinion in Tonga and use diplomatic language.
They might sort their private site out.

After one week pray , we held a Kaipola and ate together again.
They brought so many dishes from each home to a hole and pile up dishes on dishes.
But they were protecting with tin foil from flies , so the table was chaos and we couldn’t see what is it !?

I really like Tongan menu and taste!!
However only when I see these table, I miss Japanese delicate arrangement food !!!!
It seemed that their purpose is not enjoying eating food together, just only eating a lot.
They eat very very quickly and finished without nice conversation.
「Kai lahi」(Eat a lot) is very very routine word.

「Meal」has different meaning each country in all of the world ,I feel.
Tongan people enjoy just ‘eat’.
Japanese people enjoy ‘what we eat’.
Oriental people enjoy ‘time with people with food’.

That is my impression .
What do you enjoy for meal??
I wish your meal will be nice today, too.

Best wishes.

Author ; Miki Kato