Ok, so the last few weeks in Tonga have been fantastic - knowing that I'm leaving soon has made me want to savour every bit of this place that I can... except ONE particular aspect, that has given me the raging SHITS.
Upon my return from Australia, my flatmate had pretty much moved her Tongan boyfriend into our house, without even asking me if this was ok. Whatever, I'm leaving in a matter of weeks, and at least now we're splitting bills and rent 3 ways (as opposed to when he wasn't officially living there, just staying over every single night and every single day...).
However, Tonga is a very conservative country. You've heard some of the dramas caused by the inter-racial relationship, ie getting kicked out of our house last year, etc. Now that my flatmate and her boyfriend are very obviously "living in sin", our neighbourhood is expressing it's disdain. This is being done through actions such as wandering around our yard and peering into bedroom windows at night, breaking locks on our gate and door, and urinating on the combination lock of our gate. These things have happened at least 3-4 times a week since he moved in, and I have had an absolute GUTFUL. Especially as, being the first one to leave the house, I am the one cleaning the urine off the lock every morning!
It's fine for the neighbours to make use of having a Tongan living there to demand we refill their water bottles, and let them help themselves to our breadfruit and banana trees, but they're still going to be assholes and piss on our gate! Ok, so it's probably not the SAME people, but still, they are pretty much sanctioning these actions by not intervening with those who are committing them, as everyone knows what's going on at any given moment in the neighbourhood.
I didn't come to Tonga to offend the locals, or to cause any trouble. I'm not stealing anybody's job, or appropriating their culture. I'm not even (currently) living in sin! In fact, I am pretty much a bystander as to the main reason for this victimisation, but it affects me nonetheless. If I wasn't going to be leaving the country for good in little more than a month I would seriously move out. As it was, at 5:30 am this morning when some neighbourhood kid jumped into our backyard and unplugged our water pump, I was very seriously thinking about just throwing in the towel and trying to find a short-term rental.
The thing is, this place is so close to town, so will be convenient for Clinton (who has no bike) when he's here. I've also moved house FIVE TIMES since arriving last July, I really DON'T want to do it again! I guess I'm just going to have to put up with it, and add it to my list of "Things I Won't Miss About Tonga" (I've been working on that, and a "Things I Will Miss About Tonga" list, as a way of concreting the reality of leaving and apreciating this place while I still can!).
I know it's just a few neighbourhood troublemakers, and doesn't refelect the animosity of the whole community, but it still leaves me feeling irritated and disappointed. My advice to future AYADs would be - DON'T live with a couple who are overtly flaunting all the local social conventions! It's just not worth it, for your own peace of mind.