Oct. 5 and it’s Niuatoputapu

Pronounced NEWA-toe-poo-TAH-poo.  It’s one of the most northern islands in the Kingdom of Tonga and our port of entry.

September 30, 2009, it was hit with an 8.3 earthquake lasting 20 minutes.  Three large tsunamis destroyed 90% of the houses and villages and killing 9 people.  We didn’t know what to expect when we arrived.  We were greeted with a warm welcome from Sia who has become the village greeter and unofficial mayor.  We were treated to potlucks and pig roasts and plenty of smiles from everyone.  What remains of the part of the island we saw (walking only no public transportation) is a mix of relief-aid prefab 8×10 sheds.

We shared the road with dogs, horses, pigs and children.  We treated ourselves to a fresh water natural hot spring, and watched the women weave from tree bark they prepare in a laborious process.   The supply ship comes about every 3-4 weeks.  It arrived while we were there and the whole village came down to participate in the unloading.  The bow was a perfect dive platform for the kids.

The weather continues to be hot and humid.

Warning….another big batch of photos.

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