Saturday, May 29, 2010

No hands, no hands!!!!!!!

Life is good, life is great,
it's so mysterious how it all comes full circle,
there's no energy left to Hate;
once you expend so much Heat
into loving the world around you,
makes me empathetic towards those feeling blue,
But admit I take on more of a yellow hue
The shade of sunshine, with the rays illuminated my life
Never planning on it, but getting through the challenges of strife
Has made me who I am, who I never could've dreamt of being
10 years ago, I recall dreaming about today
But my immature brain hardly seeing
The abundance of beauty and love that was on the horizon
And, of course my life, that's constantly full of FUN!
I'm grateful to Andriamanitra, my parents, friends, family, and Lover,
What an amzing experience this is...the process of undoing Life's cover.

Thanks y'all for being with me the past year to share all my ups and downs and exciting adventures and frusterations. It's a never ending roller coaster ride and I'm keeping my hands up for the whole ride! Sometimes people that hold onto the safetey bar too tightly don't ever experience all the exhilarating feelings that are natural too this life. But anxiety holds onto them and causes more pain than the eye can see beauty. I've chosen to live a life, full of absorbing that beauty, but also getting through the challenges of sadness and strife. A great quote that has summarized my past couple months: "Happy people see challenges; Anxious people see blessings and curses." Even the obstacles are all a valuable part of this game of Life, and I'm grateful to have gotten to learn sooo many lessons from these challenges encountered. Don't get me wrong, I also feel very blessed and grateful to God, but also know that part of where I am is because of my own endurance and confronting and stepping up to the challenges, not holding on to the bar too tightly or avoid getting thrown off the coaster of life. This all may be too philosophical to understand well, but to keep it simple, I'd say "NO HANDS, NO HANDS" as I look around and soak up the beauty from the top of world and meditate about which direction I'll let the wind take me next.

Back to site, my paradise bamboo hut n. the sand tomorrow...WAAAHOOO!! I'm soo ready after a great, but getting to be long 2 1/2 weeks of lotsa fellow American PCV's, and an endless supply of electricity and running water. I want to get back to the raw life in Antetezambaro. Bring it on, Magnum (yes, I know there are now prob. hundreds of roller coasters that are already much higher than it, but still remains one of my classic faves:)), I'm ready to keep my hands up and Enjoy the Ride!!!! Cheers* amy menaraka koa!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Maka aina zaho! ( I'm "taking in" some life)

Just wanted to get some pictures up of my fun Gasy music filled night last night and from vacation last month, while I have good (and free, thanks to Peace Corps!;)) internet. Jayne was a health PCV a year before me, here in Mada, and got evacuated with me, but immediatly came back to be with Mika, her Gasy rock-star man...Mika and Davis is their names' -look out for them, they'll be heading to Europe to tour soon, and who knows, maybe America could be in their future!?. They're a great, guitar pickin, great drumming beats, some boogie blues, some slow rhythmic feel good chill tunes Gasy music. It was sooo great to get to see Jayne and catch up with someone who knows Madagascar from the first time around and get a good dose of soom good live world music at the same time!:)

Yes, my travels up to the northern tip of Madagascar- Antsinanana, then heading off to the mid-south of Mada afterwards, did start off the craziest, tragedy, pain, and sad-ness filled month I've ever experienced, but it all has made me stronger. These pics illustrate some of the beauty that intertwined with the shock of dealing with the car accident (which I'm soooo happy and relieved to relay , all 4 victims are doing well, the mother is actually going back to teach her middle-schoolers next week!:)), followed by witnessing a sick man die on a too- slow moving train, follwed by getting back to site and immediatley witnessing a stillbirth (the lifeless body of a perfectly shaped wee human being was heart-breaking: this was the topper that really made me believe in the power of bad things coming in 3's...but it didn't stop!!) and watching a teenager, from my village of Antetezambaro, slowly pass away from excruciating stomach pains and seizures, which my doctor thought was caused from some sort of poison but they don't really know, coulda been appendicitus I was thinking??? It sure was testing my emotional strength to have to witness these tragedy's , but really made me think about my own future and the fragility of life in general. Working at the CSB has made me realize how into the medical field I really's exciting! But then again, health workers are constantly have to witness these sad, painful sicknesses and deaths, and that's a life that needs some positively strong emotional courage and strength. But I think I have it! And have only gained more through these experiences!
I put up this wicked chamelion who was obviously getting enragd by our close presence, as is illustrated in his bright, vivacious green body quickly changing to fire-truck red! Then these lemurs were adorably curious(in the national park of Ranomafana). I think about 5 got quite close...some were ring-tailed, others were the brown lemur. The wee boy pictured(in the tiny train town of Andrambovato), with his friends, was sooo excited to show my this wasp-looking bug that he caught. I guess it didn't sting cuz he played with it for a while! And the red, clay-boulder filled rushing river (on the road north, coming home from Antinanana)picture is evidence of whyMadagascar is also known as "the big red island". And this gorrrrrgeous sunset was in the northern tip of Antsinana, where the Indian Ocean collides with the Mozambique Channel. Sooo many deep variations of warm colors, highlighting the "sugar loaf" mountain in the distant center. And finally, the top picture, is one of my best friends, Perline, a 17year old girl who I got to know from seeing her pick up her tuberculosis meds daily, before she hit her death bed. She looked kinda skinny, but was still up and active, fairly healthy before I left for Antsinanana but when I came back from vacation, she was all skin and bones and hardly able to stand on her own. Her body stopped absorbing the meds or nutrients from food. But Thankfully, she's on the up, with lotsa prayers and a strong will to live, on her part. She's such a kind-hearted soul, seen in this pic after giving me my kapa trano (house shoes) that she weaved just for me! She still needs all the strong, healthy vibes she can get!!!!
So, mazatoa sary, zaho handeha maka aina (enjoy the pics! I'm going to "take" some life in) As I'm also preparing to organize the 2nd Cirque de SIDA at Lake Montasoa , that is Thursday, May 20th. It should be quite a huuuge festival for all 12 surrounding villages, which could be a few thousand people who show..the more the merrier! Another health PCV and I were busy a couple days ago making 22 posters advertising the festival, which may also include HIV/STI testing right there, for those interested! I"m in charge of organizing, with the mayor of the village, students, the organization Population Services International (PSI) that's bringing their cinemobile video equipment (I did it with them last January, when they came to Antetezambaro to talk about prevnting malaria) to show an AIDS film/ music videos, and delegating jobs for th 35 PCV's that are having their 3 month in-service training. A lotta stuff to think about, but I'm sure everything will work out, it always does!!! :) Cheers* amy menarka!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fety ny Miasa! (work party!)

These are a few pics from our work fety (party) last weekend, to celebrate the hard work all of us health workers put in for "herinandro fahasalaman' ny reny sy zaza" (mother and child health week). It was a well- deserved community meal after making sure all our villagers got their bi-yearly doses of Vitamin A , de-worming pills, vaccines, and/or pre-natal check-ups. The second picture was the meat that was thrown in with the beans...something about being from the stomach of the cow. My co-workers laughed when they saw my shocked look of somewhat disgust, somewhat curiosity on my face. Of course I had to eat a wee bit, but was sooo chewy, I had to apologize for only enjoying the beans and community rice afterwards. (Before Peace Corps I hated beans, but have really started loving them!!!;P) It's such a great, practical, communal, intimate feeling to all be eating from the same banana leaf, which is custom for these type of group meals. And of course, eating from the banana leaf is another practical lesson learned. Thank God for bananas!! I eat the nutrient-rich, magical fruit daily and the tree itself is obviously useful in sooo many other ways! The top picture is actually from our New Year's fety and the chickens we offered as the custom gift to our doctor& nurse. But it's a good pic of all us mpanentana's (volunteer health workers) and co-workers in my office...yess! I actually have my OWN spacious office at the CSB (village health clinic)!:) ..this is not common for PCV's, I am quite lucky!. Nata is on the far left,she's one of my best friend's and our pharmacist, the guy to the left of me is our head "Chef" doctor, and the guy to the right is our nurse. But these are all suuper fantasticly- souled people that I'm blessed to work with..and in such a nice CSB (it was just recently painted/ tiled last year!). Mondrosoa!! (you're welcome anytime!!)