Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Going to the market in any country is always a favorite experience of mine. I love being able to interact with the local people, practice (and unfortunately slaughter) their language. It’s such a fun experience, and definitely worth remembering if you’ve experienced this in your own travels. At the very least it’s worth reading about on this post if you’ve never experienced a foreign market. Either way, here’s a word picture for the market experience here. I hope it evokes a vivid picture in your mind!
When I finally stop at a table to purchase something, I am greeted with eager welcoming eyes. I can almost read their thoughts, “What is the foreigner wanting to buy? How much can I mark this up?” I know that I will get foreigner prices, but I figure that is my just reward since I can’t speak their language and make them work hard to communicate with me. I point and ask how much. Even my foreigner price is far below what I would pay for the same thing in the U.S., so I hand over the money knowing they work hard enough to merit the overcharging and I’m still getting a great bargain. They try to convince me to buy a few more things by pointing at various wares on their table and picking out the “best” one. Sometimes I concede, but other times I just put up my hand, take my bag of goods, and walk until I find something else that catches my eye.
In the end, I walk back with my bounty of bargains and a smile on my face knowing that I made some Malagasy people very happy and padded their pockets ever so slightly while bringing back treasures for my family.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
It has been said that Madagascar is where Asia meets Africa. Although it is just off the east coast of Africa, it is believed that people from the continent of Asia were actually the first settlers. The Malagasy people have been found through recent DNA testing to be about half Southeast Asian and about half East African descent. When you see the people, that is the best way to describe them. They don’t look quite Asian, but they don’t look full African either. It’s a beautiful combination. Since Madagascar has large Asian roots, rice is a staple here and you can see rice paddies everywhere as you drive through the countryside and even in the city.
Madagascar is a very peaceful country and even though there is a coup d'état going on right now and rumors of another coup, you really wouldn’t know it from the pulse of the community. We have been surprised at how genuinely nice everyone here is. We feel very safe and go out quite often on our own. Besides a few curious stares because we are obviously foreigners, we are treated with respect and kindness on almost every occasion.
The Malagasy language is the most common language, but most people here also speak French. It is one of the few countries we have visited where English is almost of no value since most people neither speak nor understand it. This makes it fun to practice the little French we know and try to learn a little of the Malagasy language.
Friday, April 23, 2010
We call these silent screams because absolutely no noise escapes, but it looks like you're screaming.
Note: Video is taken without the lights on so the video is black, but the sound is what’s important.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This past weekend we went away with another missionary family to their lake cottage. I’ve mentioned them before as being instrumental in making us feel at home here. It was a much needed break and the views were breathtakingly beautiful.
The last few months have been a whirlwind. We have been preparing for the trip here which included getting visas, Kasen’s passport, doctor’s appointments for immunizations and prescriptions, etc., etc. Kai also took his licensing exam (and passed!!) which is months of preparation in finding just the right patients. He also had been working hard to fulfill all the requirements for graduation so we could leave for the last quarter of dental school. As soon as we get back home we’re heading out on another trip, then immediately after is graduation, and then we'll be packing up our home.
Needless to say, the stress has been mounting for several months and this little getaway made us feel recreated and back to normal again. We canoed, hiked, took the speedboat out on the expansive lake system, talked, laughed, had wonderful food, great company, and great times!
Some of the pictures in the last post were from this weekend away, but here are a few more.
No matter where in the world you find them, there are some universal facts…
There’s no such thing as a bad hair day.
Dirt is enticing.
A stick is the perfect companion and the most essential tool.
Nothing can be left unexplored (and a stick is perfect for this job).
If life gets you down, grab on with both hands, shake, and yell, “Ahhhhhhh!”
Water begs to be splashed and there’s almost no greater thrill!
Everything must be done with 100% pure energy!
A ball and a stick are just plain fun.
Daddy is the best in the world…
But Mommy’s not too bad either.