GPS Matamaka is the "Government Primary School" on the lovely island of Matamaka in the Vava'u group of the Kingdom of Tonga. It has 20 students spread out through grades one thru eight with two teachers. It is a lovely little school with two classrooms and a general room used as a library, meeting room and study hall. The teacher Mr. Mosese Ma'asi was very nice and shared a lot of information about the school, the education system in Tonga and the island. The students were off that day because the next day they would be taking their examinations. There were a few students in the classrooms playing or studying or just hanging out. They were even wearing their uniforms on their "day-off." The rooms were typical of a primary school – lots of posters and craft/art on the walls. The alphabet in both Tongan and English; various math lessons and lots of maps!
The school has a postcard project so if you'd like to send a postcard to the students, they would appreciate it. The address is:
c/o Peace Corps
PO Box 136
Kingdom of Tonga
A Peace Corp volunteer had started the project and they have postcards from around the world and love getting them. The students learn both Tongan and English (in fact, in high school all their lessons are taught in English.) We brought some school supplies for them and they were very grateful. The school also has four moorings in the harbour that they let boats use for a $10 pa'anga (that's the Tongan monetary unit) a day. The money is used both to maintain the moorings and goes into a school fund. A very smart thing to do to get cruisers to come by the school (we all usually bring something) to meet the students. Boats with children aboard are invited to put their children in the school for the day (they are even given a uniform for the day).
After our night and day at Matamaka, we moved on back to the big town of Neiafu to get some fuel and send an e-mail to New Zealand (our pre-arrival customs form). We also needed to download our new documentation (thank you Carol!!!).
All is well aboard and we'll be in town just a day or two, clear out of the Vava'u group and wait for weather to head to the next group of islands in Tonga as we prep for the big passage to NZ.
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