Mail usually takes a minimum of two weeks to arrive in Tonga. The main Peace Corps office in Nuku’alofa is here:
U.S. Peace Corps
P.O. Box 147
Nuku’alofa, Tonga, South Pacific
Volunteers who serve on Tonga’s main island of Tongatapu, collect their mail from the Peace Corps office. Mail for Volunteers on outer islands will have their mail forwarded to the islands via the local airline or the local ferry service once a week. Once you know your site location, you can advise your family and friends about the appropriate address to use.
Calling the United States from Tonga is expensive and only unlocked, tri-band cellphones will work in on the island. Peace Corps/Tonga will provide you with a cellphone upon arrival. Credit for cellphones can be purchased at almost any small shop throughout the kingdom, even in places where there is no electricity.
Most Volunteers choose to bring personal laptops to Tonga. If you are thinking about bringing a laptop, please consider insuring your devices against damage and theft. Internet service is widely available in Internet cafes through the main islands of Tongatapu and Vava’u.
Housing and Site LocationVolunteers’ host organizations are responsible for identifying and providing safe and suitable housing in accordance with the Peace Corps’ criteria. Housing ranges from a one-room fale (traditional Tongan huts) with a thatched roof to a two- or three-bedroom wooden or cinderblock house with very basic furniture. Peace Corps/Tonga asks host agencies to provide private bath and toilet facilities; however, occasionally Volunteers may have to share facilities with a neighbor. The current in Tonga is 220 volts, 50 cycles, with variations. Some Volunteers have electric lights and outlets, flush toilets, and running water in their homes. Others spend evenings reading by kerosene lamp, solar lantern, or candle, use a pit latrine, and collect water from a rain tank near their homes. The Peace Corps will provide you with a solar lantern, a life vest, a bike helmet (if necessary), and an AM/FM radio. Once you become a Volunteer, you will receive a settling-in allowance to purchase additional household necessities. Peace Corps staff members make site visits to Volunteers to provide ongoing support and to follow up on any housing or safety issues that arise. However, Volunteers are encouraged to contact staff if there are any safety-related improvements needed for their homes.
Living Allowance and Money Management
Volunteers receive a monthly allowance in local currency that is sufficient to live at the level of the local people. The allowance covers food, housing, household supplies, clothing, transportation to and from work, utilities, recreation and entertainment, and incidental expenses. Peace Corps Volunteers are expected to live at a level that is comparable with that of their host country counterparts. The Peace Corps discourages Volunteers from supplementing their living allowance with funds from home. However, Volunteers often wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. For this, credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.