Blog #38 – A New Perspective

The usage of water in Tonga was different compared to Canada. We were told by Mr. Matheny to utilize water wisely for us to get a sense of the locals’ lifestyle there. Living in a third world country where freshwater is unsafe to drink was not an environment I was used to surrounding myself with. Conservation of water however, is a habit my parents have taught me growing up so I was used to showering for only a few minutes and turning off the water when it is not necessarily needed. We are so fortunate here at home because of the unlimited supply of sanitary water we receive. Such advantage is constantly taken for granted sadly, and I myself admit that there have been times where I’ve done the same, up until I visited Tonga. Water is extremely essential in our lives.Whenever I go to the worksite, I noticed that the kids would take turn filling the water tank for their washroom every morning before going to school. The kids would get the water from the ocean using a small bucket and they had to go back and forth from the tank to the ocean until it was filled. It was interesting to watch them do it every morning because such actions are not and will not be portrayed here.

I remember interacting with Kelepi, one of the students and asking him if he likes school. He nodded happily. From there on, I realized how much the kids appreciate school and their education in general. The limited education that is provided for the kids are highly appreciated meanwhile, I am constantly complaining about having to go to school and listen to different lessons. Those kids would do anything to receive the same education as me. I felt guilty after seeing Kelepi’s excitement about school because it reminded me of the many times I would constantly whine about waking up early. I tend to forget the opportunities I am given by living in Canada, which is why it took me this long to comprehend the differences between the education system in a developed and developing country. They strongly value their education in Tonga in order to have a successful future for that is what they strive for and need. Where I have selections of which universities I prefer to attend, the locals don’t have a vast selection of schools. In cases where they would much rather leave their island for school, it would be a struggle as well due to their financial struggles. It is upsetting to watch them face such difficulties because they have big dreams ahead of them; Money and lack of education are resisting these eager individuals from pursuing reaching their dreams.

– Samantha C