Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Tongan Friend George

Mālō e lelei - hello

I always greet George "Mālō e lelei" because this is the only Tongan words I know. My students in Pt Chev school taught me to say that and assure me that it is enough.

This is George Fa'apoi. He is 72 and comes to MABC ESOL classes as a senior student. I don't teach him, so I regard him as a friend. He has traveled the world with the Tongan Shipping agency and had been to Borneo.

Now as a retiree, he doesn't twiddle his thumbs. Instead he volunteers with the Friendly Island Wardens Inc, and with 7 ex policemen. He provides security for Auckland City, Balmoral area, Sandringham and Avondale area. He is a friendly grand pa to many of the Polynesian kids.

After thirty eights in New Zealand, he can show the kids a thing or two.

George lives with his wife, has two children, and seven grand children, (6 boys and a girl)

Mālō e lelei - hello (lit. congrat. on being well, the being in good health is worthy of gratitude)

Fēfē hake? - how are you? (fēfē means how, hake is idiomatic with fēfē)

Sai pē - just fine

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