August 1, 2004: Headlines: COS - Tonga: PCVs in the Field - Tonga: Blog: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Brian Romanowski in Tonga

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tonga: Peace Corps Tonga : The Peace Corps in Tonga: August 1, 2004: Headlines: COS - Tonga: PCVs in the Field - Tonga: Blog: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Brian Romanowski in Tonga

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 10:13 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps Volunteer Brian Romanowski in Tonga

Peace Corps Volunteer Brian Romanowski in Tonga

Peace Corps Volunteer Brian Romanowski in Tonga

FAQ - Peace Corps Volunteer, Tonga, and Website
( main )
Q: What's this all about?
I'm serving in the Peace Corps from November 2003 to February 2006. I'll be on the Pacific island of Tonga working as a school-based community educator, specializing in computers. This site serves to hold multimedia essays on my experiences there.

Q: Where is Tonga?
It's east of Fiji and north of New Zealand, right on the international date line.

Q: What do you do?
I'm a computer teacher at the local high school as well as a youth worker.

Q: Where are you living?
Niuatoputapu. It's one of the most northern islands in Tonga, closer to Samoa than to any other Tongan island. It takes about 20 hours to travel to or from Vava'u by boat; curently there is no plane service. I live in the villiage of Hihifo on the high school campus.

Q: What do you like best/least?
The people are friendly and accepting. I live on a beautiful tropical island. I'm getting in shape by running around the island. Achieving something will mean a lot to the community. However, I'm stuck on that island for months (5) at a time with limited communication to family, friends, and work. I love the people, but we have different interests in general. Food is difficult to come by. I've been so busy or stressed out by work that I don't take advantage of the island. The grass is always greener.

Q: What do you miss the most?
Wearing jeans and a sweater, getting a cappucino at a bookstore and smiling at the barista, then driving while listening to music while eating McDonalds in the car.

Q: What can I send/bring you?
Cigars, tequilla, Guiness, powdered cheese packets from mac-&-cheese, Jelly Belly jelly beans, dried vegetables, beef jerky, chocolate, CD-R's with MP3's or divx or free space, pictures, letters, postcards. My contact info is below.

Q: The Peace Corps... don't they impose western culture on other nations?
From what I've read, the Peace Corps is asked by developing nations to provide people with specific skills. The Corps stresses that the volunteers should remain apolitical and conform to their host culture as much as possible. Remember that the volunteers are individuals with little oversight who give two years to another culture-- not some faceless bureaucracy. Update, 7/8/04: I am now in a better position to answer this question. An article should be forthcoming. Rest assured, there are no easy answers.

Q: Can you tell me a bit about the web page itself?
It's mostly html with a few bits of PHP scripting. It was quick to write and looks clean, though it's not robust at all. To post an article, I create a new directory with date and attribute information and then drop in a HTML file (with a few special tags to indicate title and teaser information). Half of my time was spent trying to make a pretty banner graphic in the GIMP (and bitching about IE's broken implementation of .PNG's).

Q: How can I contact you?
Email me (after correcting the address) at:
web AT tonga DOT idlefingers DOT net.

Send snail mail to:
Brian Romanowski c/o Peace Corps Tonga
PO BOX 147
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
South Pacific

Q: Is that all the FAQ you have?
Ask more questions!

When this story was prepared, this was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Tonga; PCVs in the Field - Tonga; Blog



By Suellen Bowersock Tonga 7 ( - on Thursday, November 25, 2004 - 5:26 pm: Edit Post

Brian, I am arriving in Tonga Dec.2 and have collected some of the things on your wish list. Will you be coming either to Vava'u or Nuku'alofa during December? I am in-country until Dec. 28 2004 and would like to get these me'a 'ofas to you.
My contact ph # will be 70 591; leave a message with Jeremy.
It doesn't look like I will have enough time to visit Niuatoputapu this time...perhaps in July or Aug. 2005

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