Thursday, March 24, 2011

4 vahiny in 4 volana!!! (4 guests in 4 months!!!)

Meva right after my mama, wee bro and sis picked her up from the airport and went to the market, where Dada was selling clothes.
shoot..gotta go pick up jenny!! will finsihe lata...WWAAAHHOOO!!!! :)

We climbed to the top of a waterfall on Ile St. Marie, which is a small island off the east coast of Radagasikara, and found this gorgeous view

My good friend, Osoa chopping up mpalybe aka jackfruit. Its a massive fruit, up to 10kilograms (about 6 lbs). I'd describe it tasting like banana taffy :)

Meva's kids, Caleb and Alex, had their classmates donate TONS of school supplies for my local elementary school.

The kids love it!!!

awwww....Baby Francio... I hate to say I have favorites, but look at him, I can't help it!!! :P

Azalahy! It's been 4 months since I've written. There's a pattern here that maybe the reason...I've been lucky enough to have 4 visitors, family/friends/loved ones come visit me here in the magical land of Madagasikara in the past 4 months!!! SAMBATRA ZAHO!: I'm blessed! For first my sister n law, Meva to come and really bring a great family fun 2 weeks in december, followed by my girl Lindsay&namana in January, for then my dreams to come true and have my dude, Brad spend a month with me in the magical hut, and to mbola misy (STILL HAVE!!:)) my shining star, beautiful sister Jenny arrive, touch foot on my magical homeland 2 hours, Lord willin is and has been for the past 4 months, such a natural, cloud 9, up in the sky high that will bring me and these people that have visited me in my homeland of Madaland, joy for life. I can write about, share pictures, tell stories when I return about my life, work, relationships, landscapes, food, hardships, and natural gifts that I've recieved while spending most of the past 2 1/2 years here but there's, of course, nothing like having someone experience it with me, see, smell, taste, hear, feel what this culture is. I'm sooo thankful to these people, as I know all of us Peace Corps Volunteers are, to have a loved one come visit our service country. We PCV's chose to be away from our family and friends back home in USA, to utilize our strengths and services for 2 years in a country with less money, food, clean drinking water, medicine, education, environmental awareness, job opportunity, and/ or opportunity in general. I think most of us that are continuing to complete our service (if not interrupted by political upheavel, again) are satisfied and grateful to have this opportunity to actually LIVE, absorb, integrate into a different culture. Many people in my village haven't even been 10 miles away to the city of Toamasina. But even though I made this decision to be away from my families while embarking on this professional, personal, service-directed adventure, doesn't make it easy to be away from y'all back home, wherever that home is. I'd say I integrated and fell in love with this country fairly quickly, within the first couple months of arriving, in large part because of my family; but still admit that a few days within this time were realllly long and sad thinking about missing my favoritest people in the world having babies, getting married, new houses, missing family fun on the holidays. Especially since the Malagasy way is built upon a strong sense of family as its foundation, they often don't understand how or why I made this decision. Here, you rely and depend on them much more strongly and longer than I've seen most families do in the States. I think most is because of the opportunity being an American gives us. Malagasy often times don't think about moving away from their families before marriage, just not practicial to obtain a house on your until you start your own family, and then still, sometimes still all move into one house together. This is largely due to financial needs but as a end product, results in a family much more dependant for life. Of course I'm not saying this is either good or bad, a better familial experience or worse, I'm just making an observable difference between the American and Malagasy culture. Because of this longer dependancy, many Gasy are shocked that I would choose to leave my family for an extended period of time, but I feel because they've never had this an option to even think about it as an opportunity. I try to encourage the students of Antetezambaro that education has the potential to bring you places, if you would choose to go there, but must remain diligent and positive in your quest for new experiences. While I have many students in my teen club that are mazoto learning english and dream of being a pilot of travel guide somewhere else here in Radagasikara, many students have admitted they wouldn't want to do that and leave their families....Even though I have missed my friends and family dearly and am realllly looking forward to seeing y'all in July this summer, I am more reflecting and soaking up all the things here that I'm going to miss. 2 1/2 years of my life has gone by sooooo quickly, as I'm sure it has for most of us, and I'm just sooooo grateful to have had this opportunity to spread my wings away from my family, friends, comforts, and familiarities to blossom new buds that I never knew I'd had through expanding my knowledge and oppinions on lifestyle, global issues within poverty, and the meaning we can bring to our life if we want to find it and affirm it. * Even though I was sent to Madagascar back in Sept. 2008 because this country is still 'developing' and the 10th poorest per capita in the world, I've realized that this country may not have financial weath, but natural gifts from being a tropical island and mostly the wealth of joy that exudes from so many Gasy people, is more than any amount of money, gold, gems, or oil could buy.

t loo