Friday, November 28, 2014

A Malagasy Thanksgiving



            Before I start, I know Thanksgiving is on a Thursday, but we are 9 hours ahead of the US and it was the first time we could get most of the Sudesters together.  The Sudest Thanksgiving was at a volunteer’s house in Manakara.  He and another volunteer prepared the turkey and the rest of us prepared and brought the other dishes; except me and Greg, we were not at home to cook so we just bought the drinks.  With the lack of an oven the turkey had to be cooked in a different method.  So the way they prepared it was to dig a hole in the back yard, put some coals in it, put the turkey (seasoned and wrapped in hemp) in the hole, add more coal, and cover it back up with dirt; essentially creating a natural oven.  While we waited we snacked on a gunny sack size bag of lychees

Monday, November 10, 2014

School Started Today; No tomorrow; No…Well Maybe Next Week

            I was told that Monday, 10/6/14, we were going to have an assembly at the school and that classes would also start.  So having lessons prepared for the week and ready to start teaching, I woke up at an early 6 am to get ready for the 7 o’clock assembly.  At 6:45 I stood outside on my porch overlooking the Lycee, with my friend Pascel and sitemate Greg, and awaited people to show up; really anyone to show up since we were the only ones there.  By 8 o’clock only about 30 of the roughly 500 students had arrived, as well as only half of the teachers.  So at 8:30, things having not improved, the Proviseur informed me that we would try again tomorrow. 
            The following day did not fare much better.  Although the students had doubled to about 60,

Saturday, November 8, 2014

PCTC Tour

Here is a video tour of the PCTC (Peace Corps Training Center). You can also read a short post about it here.

Vondrozo

Here are some pictures of Vondrozo.
Downtown Vondrozo

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bike Video

Here is a video of one of my bike rides out of Vondrozo.




Mantasoa


Here are some old pictures of Mantasoa.



The Kabone Guard

This is what guards my kabone at night, but lets be honest, it is really its kabone at night because I am not sharing a small, dark, enclosed room with that thing.

That is a broom stick in the corner, so you can get a size comparison.

The Heavens Opened and the Angels Shown Down Upon Us

Here are some pictures of the night sky over Mantasoa, brought to you by David (stagemate).




Real First Week of School



            Today, Monday 10/13/14, I started my first real day of teaching in Madagascar, as well as my first day of teaching English.  The rooms in my school are cement rooms with a blackboard on the wall in front of the class and two windows on each of the walls perpendicular to the blackboard.  These windows are the only source of light and airflow in the rooms.  The room is then filled with four rows of desks.  Each of these desks is about 3’ wide with a bench in which 3-4 students will sit.  Each room is has about 60 or so students and not all of them have a place to sit; though I am told more desks are being made. 
I have to say that overall my first days went fairly well; far better than I truly expected it to. 

Fara trip



            Fara is my banking town and is only 43 miles from me, but due to the condition of the road it takes about 6 hours during the dry season and, I am told, 12 hours during the raining season; which is fast approaching.  So at the end of each month I will be making the trip into Fara to withdraw money and to buy anything I can not get in Vondrozo.  This trip will, in the future, have to be taken during the weekend since I will be teaching during the week, but since we have had this month off to settle into our new towns I decided to take a mid-week trip and meet up with all the other Sudesters from my Stage.  For this trip I had a list of things I wanted to purchase, a few items of furniture I wanted to

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…Wait, What Mirror?



            I have gone almost two weeks now without a mirror and without ever knowing how I look and I have to say it is somewhat liberating.  For the first few days it was a little nerve racking trying to keep up appearances so I could go into town to meet everyone and not knowing if I truly was.  Though after a few days this feeling began to dissipate as I started to realize I could only do what I could with what I had.  The only problem lays in my need to see myself to trim my beard.  This has lead to little ingenuity on my part.  I have come to realize that the lid to my water filter works as a fairly good mirror, till I find a real one, and by hooking it to the door handle can serve as a mirror for trimming.  And so, now after almost two weeks, I have finally seen what I now look like. 

Ode to the Volunteer Families



            I have been told by some of my Stagemates that they have been guiding their family members to my blog.  So this post goes out to all of the families of Volunteers in my Stage that have been looking in and following what we have been up too. 
            Your kid, sibling, cousin, whatever they may be, is an amazingly awesome person.  I feel privileged and am happy to have gotten the chance to spend the last few months with them.  Through the good and bad, ups and downs, they were there for each other, if only in their own special way.  Many great friendships were formed with them that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.  I am honored to know them and to get to serve with them.   They are going to be doing some awesome work here in Madagascar and helping so many people better their lives.  It takes a special person, I think, to leave

Thank You Community Celebration



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cold Front…?


I feel bad saying this, but it is really cold in Vodrozo right now.  The rain last night brought in a cold front, at least that is what we are calling it.  You know that you have become accustom to the hot weather when it drops to 70 degrees and you have to pull out a jacket because it is to cold outside. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

1st Vac


            This weekend was my first VAC (Volunteer Action Committee) since I have been at site.  Each region has their own VAC’s, every three months, in which the PCV’s in that region come together and talk about what the news is from the national VAC and what is new with each of us at our sites.  For this VAC it was decided that we would meet at a beachside ‘resort’ outside of Manakara, which was listed as an ‘edge of the world’ location.  To get there most of the PCV’s rode there bikes, but a few of us did not bring them so we took a moto posiposy.  Stacking all of our stuff in and on top of the moto posiposy, five of us climbed in and started to make our way to the hotel.  It turned out though that we were too heavy for the posiposy to make it through the soft sand road and