Monday, September 01, 2003

Our wants

Life's not too rough in Tonga, but if you REALLY want to send us something from America we won't stop you. Here's the stuff that's easy, light, and especially fun for us to have:

* DVDs, especially discs with TV shows we're missing

* CDs, especially music you think we've missed while living on the other side of the globe

* magazines, particularly Atlantic Monthly, Sports Illustrated, and Entertainment Weekly

* snacks, such as chocolate and snack crackers

We pay no duties on packages! It's as though even the Tongan government wants you to send us stuff. BUT BE WARNED: generosity comes at a price. Shipping a package to Tonga costs roughly $5/pound. Mail takes between 6 days and 7 months (no joke)...if packages are sent via airmail, three weeks seems about average.

Our Contact Info

Our placement just outside the town of Neiafu allows us to maintain our personal e-mail accounts (, However, we're only able to check e-mail that way two or three times a week and long replies won't always be possible. So we recommend either displaying extreme patience with us or keeping in touch with us the old fashioned way (letters take about 2 weeks to arrive, and we promise to reply eventually).

Our mailing address is:

Cliff and Amber Johnson, PCVs
Peace Corps
P.O. Box 147
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
South Pacific

Our Work

The Tonga National Youth Congress is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1990 to address the needs of an ever-growing population of adolescents in the Kingdom of Tonga. These needs included elders' tendency to discourage leadership and individuality among young people, school systems focusing exclusively upon rote memorization, graduation rates low enough that only 1000 of 17000 students complete upper school levels, diminishing work opportunities, and land scarcity increasing with each succeeding generation and damaging traditional farming bases. The TNYC was therefore created to promote the advancement, welfare, security, and development of all young people in Tonga.

We are working within this organization toward the following objectives:

* Provide basic skills training and development in planning, accounting, business, agriculture, and vocational skills

* Promote physical and mental skills of youth through participation in recreational activities

* Encourage the development and expression of artistic talent, specifically visual arts and drama

* Increase awareness and involvement of youth in environmental protection and rehabilitation

* Promote income-generation and enterprising activities in both urban and rural activities

Amber's role is managing the Vava'u Youth Center so that it runs smoothly, professionally, and in a way that invites active youth involvement. Cliff meanwhile focuses on community outreach programs, computer lab maintenance, and youth center financial oversight.