It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve been having a great time at site. I have a computer now, so I will try to keep you all updated more often.
I just finished my in-service training, which means I have completed 3 months at site. That doesn’t actually mean anything to me anymore, because I no longer have any concept of time. Sometimes I also feel like I am also losing my concept of reality. In Tana there are billboards for cellphone companies showing young people in nice clothes sitting around in coffee shops. These billboards are along the same streets lined with make-shift shacks for the many homeless people that live there. In Ifaty, people live in grass huts, shower from a bucket in the middle of the road, defecate on the beach, and fry fish with charcoal on little metal stands. However, for 2 weeks I was taking hot showers, eating pizza and burgers with fries, and watching the olympics while drinking beer with my friends. I even had a halfway decent internet connection. I was starting to feel totally disconnected from life at site.
I certainly don’t want to imply that the hot shower, burger-eating life is better. On the contrary, I had raging heartburn for 3 days straight, I was completely overwhelmed everytime I went anywhere in Tana, and I was broke. I couldn’t wait to get back to my hut, my fish and rice, and even my bucket showers. Also, my time at IST gave me loads of ideas and extra motivation, so I wanted to get back to Ifaty and start some projects.
While in Tana, I made my best purchase ever. I bought a djembe, which is a drum. I knew carrying it back to site would be a pain in butt, especially with the ton of books I had picked up from the PC office, and I was not looking forward to the trip home. I took a taxi to the brousse station with my two friends Katie and Ryan, and as usual, all of our stuff was immediately grabbed out of the trunk by people wanting us to take their brousse. Then everyone started playing the drum and passing it around. They loved it! The same thing happened as soon as we got off our brousse in Ambositra. The next day, on the way to Fianarantsoa, the three little boys sitting next to Ryan were more than happy to play with the drum during the ride. It’s crazy how happy the drum makes people. It just confirms my belief that drums are magical! (A belief I know is shared by many of you 😉
My journey home to Ifaty was long, and I was extremely tired when I finally reached my little hut. As soon as I climbed off the brousse my favorite little buddy, Dougy, was there to help me carry my stuff, so I handed him the drum. Almost instantly the children gathered, and a dance party ensued on my porch. (Here’s a video with Dougy front and center. https://youtu.be/lfQPoX9Sd4o )
Later, some of my rhasta friends from Mangily (the town just 3mi away) showed up at my house with a guitar, so we built a fire on the beach and sat around singing with some of the people from Reef Doctor. It’s nice to travel and see other parts of Madagascar, but man, it’s good to be home.