Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Soundtrack of Tonga

                                                      The hotel where we stayed -  "Little Italy"

We saw much beauty while we were in Tonga - especially the gorgeous sunrises and some truly stunning beaches.  But I also want to remember the sounds of our time there.  

We laughed about the music that would be playing in the hotel dining room each morning when we went down for breakfast.  On the first day it was almost all old Elvis Presley songs.  The next day we had the following playlist:

Doris Day - Que Sera Sera
Bob Marley - Don't Worry, Be Happy
Journey  - Don't Stop Believing
Then some Italian opera song, followed by Latin Salsa
followed by  Dean Martin - Volare and then "There's a Party" - not sure of the artist.

Talk about random mix of genres!

We were cracking up at the selection, making wild guesses about what would be next after each song.

Here are a few images from the hotel:


I described a bit more about the sounds of  Tonga is a letter home to an old friend:

In one passage of that letter I said:

"Yesterday as we did some training in one of the Family History Centers we kept hearing the rhythmic tap tap tap of village women making tapa cloth. Then that evening at a meeting held for stake presidents we kept hearing sounds of choir practice drifting over from another part of the church with their stunning a cappella harmonies. It was like being surrounded by angels and the gentle breeze off the ocean felt like the breath of God. Unfamiliar birds chatter in the trees, with sounds more brilliant than their plumage, against a backdrop of the ever present swish of the ocean as tides lull in and out. All these and more swirl together in our heads as the soundtrack of this place. Add to that late night rooster crowing from midnight till 3AM (what's up with that?), barking dogs and squealing pigs...we are at times on sensory overload. I find myself longing for stillness, to more fully ponder all we are encountering here."

I could definitely do without the late night animal noises. But the sound I will remember most of all is the singing of the Tongan people.

Here is just a small sample:

The music my heart will remember the most will be from the evening we trained leaders from the  Nuku'alfo North Stake.  We met at the Matavaimo'ui Stake Center. The feeling in the room that night was so powerful, and their singing locked those impressions into my mind.

I will remember the laughter of children.  I will remember the sounds of the sea.
But most of all, I will remember the singing.

It it something I will carry with me, I hope, for many years to come.

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