Tratry ny fetim-pirenena! Happy Independence Day!

June 26 signifies the independence of Madagascar from France. This year marks 56 years of independence and like always there was a huge party to celebrate the occasion. (You can read a detailed description of last years Independence Day in Vondrozo here or in Mantasoa two years ago here.) Like last year, everyday of the week proceeding independence day was marked by individual parties and performances of dancing and singing on the podium at the Commune. The morning of Independence Day itself was unfortunately marred by a down pour of rain, but that did not stop the celebrations. After the flag was raised and the national anthem sung the new Chef District (similar to

Secret Language

            In Madagascar the two official languages are Malagasy and French.  While both are known by almost everyone, French is rarely used (or possibly not well known) by those that live in the countryside.  English on the other hand is known by very few.  That is where I come in, to teach English, but even in the classes that I teach the comprehension level is fairly low. 
That gives English speakers the ability to talk to each other without worry about if others can understand us.  Volunteers take full advantage of this but it sometimes backfires when we least expect it.  It is great until the time when some Malagasy person around us turns and starts also speaking English to us.  We are not the only ones that do this though.  It is almost inevitable that whenever those around us do not know who we are (sometimes even if they do know us) they will begin to talk about us in Malagasy, not knowing that we also speak Malagasy and can understand what they are saying.  

Two Years Have Come and Gone

             Two years have come and gone while I have been here in Madagascar.  My Stagemates and I have finally finished our TEFL requirements and have become the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers to graduate from the program and receive our certificates.  This two year mark was also, like all of the volunteers before us, was marked by attended our Close of Service Conference in Mantasoa.  Here was detailed the next steps for our last two months of service and the years to come. 
My conference, along with a handful of other volunteers, was slightly different than that of the others.  About a month ago I had applied for a one year extension with Peace Corps Madagascar as the Volunteer Leader for the north of the country.  I had just had my interview with the senior staff about my extension the day prior to going to the conference and there I waited for their response.  The sessions we all attended were the same; resume building, interview skills, job hunting, ext.  The
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