25 May 2015

100 Sunsets: Part Three.

don't try so hard, to move past the moment
these days go by, and they're gone before you know it
so come on open your window, let the light shine in
this is life, don't miss it
-Francesca Battistelli "Don't Miss It"
Day 70: English class was a win-win today- I practiced flexibility and going with the flow by holding class on a flight of stairs; my students practiced pronunciation by giving speeches on social issues!

Day 69: Fun sunset observation- the sun sets almost exactly west on the fall and spring equinoxes, from March-September it sets farther north along the horizon, and the rest of the year, farther south.

Day 68: Had dinner with some of my extended host family tonight! Sending love to my own aunts, uncles, and cousins!

Day 67: No sunset picture today, but the sun has been the most incredible shade of blue the past few days.
Day 66: It was a beautiful morning for a run with my host uncle!

Day 65: Celebrating the birthdays of both of my first Malagasy friends today-- Toky and Hasina!

Day 64: My favorite part of church is being able to sing along with the Malagasy hymns.

Day 63: Before starting this project, I never imagined how each sunset would be so unique!
Day 62: Smoke from cooking or burning trash is a common occurrence.

Day 61: The sky never ceases to amaze me.

Day 60: Happy Ascension Day! Church with my host parents this morning was a nice way to start the day, and this relaxed sunset was a nice way to end it!

Day 59: It's very common here to have security grates on every window. The metalwork is all done by hand!

Day 58: Enjoyed a picnic with some students and fellow teachers this afternoon!

Day 57: The Malagasy word for sun is masoandro. Maso=eye and andro=day.

Day 56: Met up with Molly, one of the other YAGMs today, so thankful for her friendship!

Day 55: Went to the market for some gift shopping today, it's fun to bargain with the vendors!
Day 54: Ombre.

Day 53: This is overlooking one of the paths I take to church. The red flowers are called Madagasikara because when folded in half, the leaves look like the shape of the island.

Day 52: Tsara mandry, sunshine! (good night!)

Day 51: Because winter is arriving, the sun is setting so early- around 5:30! Very different from the long pre-summer evenings in the northern hemisphere.

18 May 2015


Fitsangatsangana: picnic, outing

Over the past three weeks, I've had the opportunity to go to two Malagasy picnics! The first was with my church to celebrate Labor Day and the second was a picnic with some of my English students to celebrate their promotion.

At the church celebration, we gathered for worship before lunch, led by both of our pastors. Then we sat together as families on lambas or pieces of fabric spread throughout a wooded area outside of town. There was rice and a side of pork with vegetables for everyone who had purchased a ticket, as well as a banana or orange. Lots of families brought baskets with additional food; we added chicken to our plates. There was also juice and other snacks for sale. Then the afternoon was spent in fellowship. I walked around taking pictures with my host sister and some of her friends for a while before karaoke time with Malagasy hymns. There was a whole sound system with speakers and microphones and a laptop, transported all the way to the middle of the woods!

My host sister, a few of her friends, and I in the middle of the picnic area.

More picnickers enjoying the afternoon.

For the student picnic, the English, French, and technology students and teachers from the extracurricular programs at my church all took a bus to a recreational area about an hour south of town. Lunch was potluck style with everyone bringing their own rice and then sharing sides of meat, fish, vegetables, pasta salad, and more! We spent the afternoon walking around and playing frisbee and other group games. There were even some vendors running entertainment like rides in a giant hammock and ring toss to win bottles of soda!

The recreation area was filled with trees along the side of a small lake. Entrance to the park is about 25 cents for Malagasy citizens.

These students just finished level 1 English classes. They will be the last set of students in my level two classes before I leave!

These girls walked past us selling flowers as we were playing frisbee. I really admire the ability to carry things on your head! It's a really common way to carry things here and it's much harder than it looks!

At both picnics, everyone brought their own dishes and silverware. It's a bit more work to transport everything and wash dishes after returning home, but it was also nice to not have a trash bag overflowing with single-use paper pates and plastic silverware. I'm so thankful to have been included in these two fun weekend events!

06 May 2015

100 Sunsets: Part Two.

 The next installment of sunset photos with short reflections...
Day 90: A little church on a hill.

Day 89: After the amazing people, the number two thing I am going to miss about Madagascar is the fruit! Favorites: pineapple, mango, and pocanelle!

Day 88: Thinking of all of the 2015-2016 YAGM and Country Coordinators who are discerning God's call at DIP this weekend. Exciting stuff!
Day 87: Forgot to take a sunset photo today, so please enjoy this flashback Friday from orientation in Antsirabe!
Day 86: Highlight of the day was introducing my dad and host dad to each other via Skype!

Day 85: FINALLY got to see my sweet and hilarious friend Hasina today for the first time in a year and a half! My heart is so happy.

Day 84: Psalm 65:8 Those who live at earth's farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

Day 83: In three months I will wake up in Ohio... still trying to figure out how that is possible?? Enjoying every sunset between now and then!

Day 82: Giving thanks for the earth today and the beauty of nature, while at the same time reflecting on how my daily decisions can affect creation.

Day 81: I don't think there's a better feeling than being greeted by name by the kids in the lunch program I help with every week. I love their smiles!
Day 79: Missed last night's sunset so here are two shots from tonight. Today I am thankful for being welcomed into friends' homes and long winding scenic bus rides home along the outskirts of town.
Day 78: Beautiful, fun day with my host family. Church hymns, a sweet baby, laughter, and guacamole.
Day 77: My favorite part of the day is walking home as school is getting out and the streets are full of kids wearing colorful school smocks and carrying backpacks. And the best part is that no one is ever alone, there is always a parent or sibling or group of friends to walk with, from maternelle to terminale.
Day 76: My favorite Malagasy words? Fitiavana (love), mandrapihoana (see you later), and kadradraka (cockroach).

Day 75: I'm not sure I realized it was possible for time to move this fast.

Day 74: I don't know what's next. And at the moment I'm at peace about that.
Day 73: Happy Labor Day! Finally got to experience a Malagasy church picnic! So nice to spend time outside, meet new people, and worship together in the woods. Although I would have been okay with trading the electronic keyboard for a couple guitars and some drums.

Day 72: I love watching kids fly homemade kites. What made you smile today?

Day 71: Had rice with cow tongue and peas for lunch and dinner today. I liked it even more than the first time I bad it a few months ago! Thankful for the opportunity to try new things.