Our boat leaves for Tokelau on Tuesday at 9am (NZ Wed 9am). Before then Matt and I have to go shopping for anything and everything we might need in Tokelau. I'm looking forward to buying a plastic laundry basket and filling it with fruit and veges to take back with us. If we buy any meat we need to cut it up into the right portion sizes, package it and bring it to the Tokelau Apia Liason office to be frozen for the boat trip.
We also need to organise a contact in Apia who will be able to purchase fresh fruit and veges for us in Apia each fortnight and who will ensure they get on the boat for us to receive at the other end! We need to buy fans and fishing line and God knows what else!
We have learned that having a water purification system would be useful, otherwise we can simply boil our water... It would have been nice to know these things before we left NZ, but there's no point worrying about things like that now!
We have learnt about some of the rules that each of the atolls have. On Fakaofo women are not allowed to wear shorts or trousers, they must wear skirts or sarongs. Each evening at 6pm a bell will ring, when you hear this you must head home for prayer time. If you get caught out away from home, you must stay where you are to observe this time quietly. If you are caught on the streets there may be a policeman who will ask you to sit down where you are.
After a while a second bell goes to let you know you are free to roam again. Eventually another couple of bells will go to tell people to go home at various different time. From memory, everyone needs to be home by 9.30pm.
We are currently trying to ensure that we live on Fenua Fala, not Fale. Apparently Fale is a concrete jungle of corrugated iron that heats up to form a heat trap. It would also be useful to have easy access to the school whenever I need it, so that I can get on with the copious amounts of work that I will be doing while there to help establish systems in the school for planning, assessment and reporting to the Taupulega (Elders/Government/Board of Trustees etc...) Not to mention specific teacher training... Hmmm... does this role sound like a deputy or principal to you?
Anyway, it has not all been work, work, work. Each afternoon we have had free to ourselves. Matt and I have been able to explore Palolo Deep, a great marine reserve in Apia, and Papa Seea, Sliding Rocks, a system of water falls up in the hills behind Apia. While there we saw some kamikaze teens doing some pretty amazing high dives and barefoot-snowboarding styles down the smooth, mossy water swept rocks. I was brave enough to have one go at sliding down, but the whole way feared for my life! Maybe one day I'll do it again, but I'm happy for that to be a little way off yet!
Anyway, I'd better stop procrastinating about going out into the heat of the day. There are lava lavas to buy and last minute comforts of home to buy!