My New Normal

            In coming to Madagascar I had to learn a completely new language which was nothing like any language I had ever heard before.  During the first three months of training we had language training everyday to ensure that we would be able to converse with people once we arrived at our sites.  There are some words that did not have direct translation into English, relate a more direct meaning than the English translation, or are just easier to use than the English words.  In these cases many Volunteers will just use these Malagasy words when speaking English to each other.  It has become our new normal of speaking.  It is so much a new normal that I find myself quite often using

Tour de Sud

            For those of you that have been following my blog you know that I recently completed a bike ride along the south eastern coast of Madagascar, from Vangindrano to Fort Dauphin.  This of course, for me, was the most epic part of my travels during the holiday season, but it was far from the end of them.  The rest of my travels during the holiday took me all the way around the southern tip of the island in a big circle ending back at home (see picture below).  During this trip I was able to see the southern most point of Madagascar, visit the sites of a few other volunteers, see the spiny forest,

Top 5 of Vondrozo

            Most people will never see Vondrozo in their life, which includes Malagasy people, so I have compiled a top 5 for what you must see/do in Vondrozo. 

#1: The view of Vondrozo from the hill over looking it in the south
            This is the #1 pick by every Malagasy person asked, as well as my own.  Although this view does not give a good view of the town proper, it does give a good view of the area as a whole.  From this vantage point you can see the tree filled town backed by the Corridor (mountain range) with views of things like the High School and Middle School, Protestant Church, both the public and

Proverbial Wisdom

            Proverbs are more than just a saying, a list of words strung together.  They are a reflection of the people and the culture that created them; a message that someone wanted to get across.  All countries have their own proverbs, but in Madagascar they take on a very special place in the life of the people.  Before any speech, whether official or not, the speaker will start with a proverb that encompasses the whole essence of what it is they are trying to express.  Not to mention that on every lambaoany (the cloth that every woman wears around their waist) is a different proverb. 
Translation from one language to another can be hard.  There are many words that do not have

Hurry Up and Wait

            All volunteers in Madagascar have to travel by taxi brousse at least sometime during their service; if not every time they want to go somewhere.  Though it gets easier for some, catching a brousse at the station can be one of the more trying and chaotic times during our service.  This is intensified at the stations in the capitol, Antananarivo.  I am one of the few volunteers that do not mind the regular brousse ride back to my region.  Usually for me it is an easy comfortable ride, especially when compared to my brousse ride to my town.  But the thought of having to go to the station sometimes fills me with apprehension and has me thinking of what else I can do to put of the
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