Malagasy Music Video



My best friend and counterpart at my old site in Vondrozo, Madagascar, recently released his first music video.  The music is traditional Malagasy music played by him on a valiha (a traditional Malagasy instrument).  It has been a dream of his to become a musician for as long as I have known him.  This is the first of many music videos to come.  Enjoy the video!



 

A Malagasy Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving dinner table. Photo credit: Terra Ojeda

Thanksgiving brings to mind images of giving thanks to what we have, a family reunion, eating entirely too much food, and football.  It is an American holiday steeped in family traditions and recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.  Away from home and family, volunteers try to piece these traditions together with other volunteers in their regions.  This year I celebrated Thanksgiving with volunteers in my new home in the north.

Parties

            I have just celebrated my third birthday in Madagascar, and though this one was spent amongst other volunteers it reminded me of celebrations in the past.  Like everywhere, celebrations are big here in Madagascar, but they are not celebrated entirely the same.  Take birthdays for example.  Had I had this last birthday with my Malagasy friends in Vondrozo it would be expected that I buy all the drinks and snacks for the party, where in the United States you would expect that, though you may provide a lot for the party, those in attendance would also provide things (namely drinks). 

Peace Corps is a Liberal Arts Degree in Action




I'm honored to have been recently interviewed by my university (University of Texas at Arlington) about my Peace Corps experience and how my liberal arts degree from UTA helped me during my service.

 

New Job

            As the title says, my two years of regular service with the Peace Corps has come to an end and I have extended my service for a third year in a new job.  I am still a volunteer with the Peace Corps and am still living in Madagascar, but I no longer live in Vondrozo nor teach English.  My new job has me living in Diego Suarez (usually just referred to as Diego, for short, or by the Malagasy name, Antsiranana), a much larger city in the northern tip of Madagascar.  I live above the Peace

8 Quirks I Took to America



            During my two years in Madagascar I picked up many things that are culturally normal either in Malagasy or Volunteer culture that are a little weird when done in the United States.  These things though became my norm and were hard to shake, so when I returned home on leave my friends, family, and just innocent bystanders got to witness some of the quirks I had acquired.  Here are the top eight:

4 Things I Found Weird in America


            I lived in the United States for most of my life.  And many of the things that are common place there are not common place in other parts of the world.  I had become used to those things being part of life, but during my time in Madagascar I lived without many of those things and in turn that became my new normal.  I didn’t need/have them and when I returned to America the came as a bit of a shock to me and found them a little weird.  Here are the top four weird things for me when I returned to America:
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