Books for Tonga
Kato Kakala Ha’unga, a native of the tiny South Pacific island country of Tonga, poses in front of a few of the roughly 50,000 books she has collected to fill a library she hopes to build in her homeland, which was hit by the 2004 tsunami. When officials at Bristol Industries LLC heard about Ha’unga’s work they offered up a storage facility and are helping coordinate the logistics of getting the 18 pallets of books moved halfway around the world. Volunteers moved the last of the books to Bristol’s Anchorage storage property on Feb. 8. For the last three years Háunga had been paying out of her own pocket to store the books. “I’m happy because I’m only going to pay $96 this month instead of $279. I never regret spending my own money — knowing one day these books will help educate the future generations of Tonga,” she said. When word of Ha’unga’s mission spread, Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office arranged for the U.S. Navy to ship the books from San Diego to Tonga, free of charge. Totem Ocean Trailer Express Inc. and Carlile have also donated their services to get the books to San Diego in time for their late March departure.