Monday, August 26, 2013

My New Home

Hello again!

I am being surprisingly really good with this whole blog thing thus far.  Please don't get used to it, I am certain that it will all begin to change once were not at this Norwegian mission thing that has actual toilets and internet with French influenced food, and a tennis court among other amenities.

Wanted to write and give you the good news about my placement... I HAVE NEW!  After waiting almost 6 months to learn more about my individual placement and family, I have some information.

1.  Community.

Mahajanga (pronounced Ma-ja-ga, the ja is like the g/z sounding j if that makes any sort of sense at all... I'll have to insert a video or something at some point) is on the northwest coast and it's dry, and HOT.  It's a pretty big community of about 200,000 people (as per wikipedia.. so take that number as you will) and I'll be living in something like a suburb.  AND I'LL HAVE A BIKE.  I'm super pumped about that.  I'll be about 8 kilometers from the center, so a 20 minute-ish walk or quick bike ride.  The beach is about an hour drive, and a popular spot with lots of people and smoked fish!  I love smoked fish.  Mahajanga is known for their kabobs (sticks of meat, as I was explained), among some other things, that I don't really know...  They also have an active nightlife.  Since it will be so hot during the day, they have siesta's and go out with family during the night time hours.  Naps are what I live on, needless to say I am stoked beyond belief.

2.  Living

As I was explained, I will be in sort of a gated community I guess, but it is a community of families that are somewhat related.  The house is fairly new, and has a brand new hole, you can guess what for.  I think I am the only volunteer that has the blessing of a hole for a toilet.  Luckily I went on that fishing trip with Dad, so I know the routine.

My family is really exciting.  My site coordinators met with my mother and she's seems like a great woman.  She doesn't speak much English, but wants to learn, so that will be perfect with my wanting to learn Malagasy.  Perfect!!!

My father is a fisherman.  More specifically shrimp.  So we have come to call him a shrimperman, which I am excited about not only because I love shrimp, but because I love Forrest Gump.  I am super excited that I will hopefully have the opportunity to go on the boat with him and do some shrimping myself.  At times my mother will go with him for a week at a time, so I am reeeeeeeeeally hoping I can go with a couple of times.

They also have a couple of younger children from what I understand, but the whole "complex" has a ton of children.  I am really excited about that, not only because I get to play with freaking kids all day (luckily I brought a frisbee and football), but I'll be able to work on my Malagasy and French a lot!

3.  Work

I basically have 3 options when it comes to work.  Project Shalom, the area hospital, a deaf and blind school, or a regular Lutheran school.

Project Shalom is a program inspired by the FLM (Malagasy Lutheran Church) to help facilitate an inter-fatith dialogue between different religious communities.  It basically works with a budget to manage where there is most need for projects.  So they will go into the community, or an outside village to install a water pump, or school, or other needs.  With this, I will have the opportunity to be a part of those project where I will get to go out and work at a village for a few days, or even be a part of their managerial work at the office, and get to better know the people involved, all of which I am told are very impressive people.  Another high point is that its a really nice new office, with great toilets, so at least I have the comfort of those at work.

The hospital is a great way to be involved in the obvious clinical work, or even just helping out landscaping or something like that.  The schools are pretty self explanatory.

So there is it, thats a lot of information, AND I DO APOLOGIZE, but that is pretty much what these first few days are, information information information.


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