Monday, January 25, 2010

language, learning, loving, lifestyle

Yayyyyyy....I'm back in Tamatave, the port city of Mada and my banking town 14K south of my village of Antetezambaro (Tamatave is another name for Toamasina, which is usually what it's labeled as on maps). I've been at the Peace Corps training site of Lake Montasoa,on the plateau/ center of Madagascar, which is the mountainous, chilly part of the island for the past 2 1/2 weeks, training the newbies that arrived a month ago. They were evacuated from the western African nation of Niger because of political problems/ suspected terrorism activity and I"m just praying that they get to fulfill their full service here on the beautiful Red Island of Madagasikara. The political situation is still sooo fluid, not resolved, but also hopefully heading towards democratic elections. But to be honest, everyday I thank God for getting the chance to come back, but I also pray that I get to finish my complete 2 years of service and not have to once again be stripped away from my lovely bamboo hut in the sand. But being a PCV trainer really was a great experience. Being able to answer all their questions and concerns about getting a personal and work routine started in such a brand new environment made me realize how much I've learned about other people, cultures, language, and most of all myself! I've always claimed to be a person whom "blooms where I'm planted" but being able to share my experiences with new volunteers about how to cope and adjust to changes, frequent ups and downs, frustrations in a 3rd world country, while trying to soak up and enjoy the diverse nature of the Malagasy people, landscape, and culture really opened my eyes to my own personal growth during this past year. Since I am the only health PCV that returned/ reinstated, the new 9 health trainee's were very grateful to get a perspective from someone who'se "done it." And I'm soooo happy to have new friends, in my sector, to collaborate and do health projects with! And even though I feel like I'm "mbola tsy mahay teny Gasy" (still not good at speaking Gasy), it was a self- esteem booster for them to tell me how "mahay" I am and be in awe of how I can successfully get in front of a crowd of 50 women with the babies and have a discussion, in Gasy, of how to have a safe pregnancy and take care of their newborns. Surely, I have a long way to go to feel fluent but I have lived here for a total of 8 months, which is long enough to express my needs/ wants/ and am starting to be able to gossip as well;) It is a beautiful language that feels and sounds like a song when speaking. I have been around quite a few Americans so I"m sure will be a little slower in understanding my friends, co=workers, and kids when I get back to my site today, but I know it's all up in there! It has been a magical experience to learn this Austro-nesian language but I do have soooo much more to go and just hope that I get to stay here until my time is up in May 2011 so I can feel fluent. Please keep Madagascar is your thoughts, this country surely could use all the positive power possible to keep moving forward, nonviolently! Yesss..again, I"m soo excited to be getting back to my site here in a couple hours. And really looking forward to sharing my lifestyle with a couple of girls that are backpacking around Mada, from Germany. I met them on the taxi-brousse ride back to Tamatave yesterday and they are pumped to get to stay a night with me and check out the daily lives of the people here, rather than only looking from the outside, as a tourist. All of you are welcome to come over and join me in living the lifestyle of the villagers of's beautiful!! Cheers* Amy menaraka!