There is something to be said about making friends in Madagascar. Most of my friends up to a certain point of time included people that I met in church or at work. That was as far as my circle went. People that I really only connected with on a superficial level to be quite honest. Yea, I see them regularly at work, or I see them all the time at church, but that’s it. Of course, I have my family, which my family is awesome and I love them, but they’re family, they are the people you have to love regardless (which is same in the States!)
But back to the friend thing. So yea, I wouldn’t say that I have made real “friends” like I have in the states, until I visited Antsohery. I am sorry that I am mixing up my blog, I still have yet to enter my experience about Antsohery, which was unbelievably amazing, but this current event couldn’t wait. Long story short, which I will explain in another post, I made friends in Antsohery. Like true legitimate friends that I actually sought to hang out with them sort of friends. Their names are Syrelle, Patrick, Hassan, and Elize, just to name a few. We enjoyed each other’s company, even though I was still learning the language (and still am). These are the kind of people that I could bring back to the States with me and they would have no trouble fitting in with my group of friends.
Needless to say, these friends are different though, but not in the obvious “well no duh they’re different Zach, They’re from freaking Madagascar!” These friends are different because they are people that I legitimately care about, but people that after my stay of 10 days, I hoped, but was not sure, I would ever see again. It was surprisingly difficult leaving that little fishing village called Antsohery because it was like leaving the only friends that I will have made for an entire year. Again, I do have my family, but that wasn’t something I built on my own. That was something that was already set up for me, and loving them and getting to know them was easy. The friendships I made in Antsohery were solely my creation, and I left them. I think about those friends that I made a lot, all the way in a village you can't find on a map or go to by car.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I hear a familiar voice call, “Zachy” one random morning as I was on my way out of my house with my bike to work. It was Elize. It's hard to explain what I felt, other than that I was overcome by sheer joy. I ran up to him and gave him the standard Malagasy handshake as we made plans to meet up the next day to go into town together. I was elated, but again, it was different. I am sure when I get back home, I am going to be happy to see my friends, no questions asked, but they are friends that I know I am going to see again, this was different because this was a really good friend of mine, that I knew for 10 days. After those ten days, I could very possibly have never seen this person again in my entire life, but I did.
I haven’t been this excited since… well I can’t really remember, even the Colts winning the Super Bowl didn't quite top this. Plus, he was my means to send back the soccer ball that I had gotten for the village, considering they only play with a plastic sack filled with paper and tied off. Even though we haven’t seen each other for a month, and all we did was walk around Mahajanga and get a coke, it was like being back with an old friend that I hadn’t seen for 30 years.
So I guess that’s finally enough of me blathering on about the friends that I have made. It may be hard for someone reading this to understand because I know people in France, or Lesotho, and even back home, and people I would consider my friends, but friends being such a vague term that it is, these Malagasy friends are just simply, on another level. Them being of my own creation beyond the substantial cultural and linguistically challenging barriers that separate us, I have people that are my friends. Friends that I have made. Friends that I legitimately care about. Friends that I know about their history, and their personality. But these are friends that I can’t easily pick up the phone to talk to. Friends that I won’t see an update on Facebook from. Friends that I won’t be getting a Christmas card from (not that I get Christmas cards from my friends, but perhaps in the future…). Friends that I have a very real possibility of never seeing or hearing from again in this life, and that is as powerful as it is depressing.