Well, here we are in Madagascar…yes we, because as you pray and send support WE become a team in missionary work. We are currently in Mahajunga, a medium size city compared to some of our rural cities today. Most people here are at poverty level. We see lots of mission outreaches and there’s room for more. Islam is big here with many mosques, schools, and most shops owned by Muslims. Here I mostly walk the talk as I can’t converse very well because many speak French and Malagasy. I can do more French—all five words of it and only three in Malagasy. Oops there’s a problem here…good thing most people want to learn English.
What’s in a day for me…rise at 5 AM, and have devotions for half an hour. Then I wash clothes that have been soaking in soapy water overnight…oops, maybe not a good idea as overnight it starts to stink and your clothes are nasty…ok you hand wash and rinse then hang out immediately. I am learning. I’m also adjusting to having to boil my water and then filter it, along with washing all fruits and veggies before I store them.
My duties for now are to drive the country coordinator’s three children to school at 7 AM. Driving here is hazardous for all. People here are lowest on the list. The drivers don’t watch out for them so they are on their own. Moving up the ladder: cows and carts are next, then rickshaws, then tak taks or three-wheeled bikes are next. The cars and trucks, whichever are the biggest, get most of the attention. You just have to learn to think like they do and drive accordingly. Roundabouts are everywhere with few corners. Hey, at least they drive on the same side of the road as we do.
Now that I’ve taken the kids to school, it’s time to drive home or do errands. The Nirina school on our base is open to underprivileged children, and about one thousand attend. They get some Bible daily in their classes. They come at 6:30 AM, have a two-hour lunch break then go till 6 PM. Some even have Saturday morning classes. They look forward to coming, which is so different from so many North American kids.
The warm rainy season is upon us so gardens will be started soon. During the afternoons, the BMW students and I are starting compost piles. I have tested the soil and found it to be acidic, so we will be looking for ways to naturally bring our Ph into a workable number. We are making a banana area trying to put them in one plot, and refiguring plans for the garden and different fruit trees. We have also cleaned out and repaired an 18’ deep well. The walls still need to be replastered. For some other projects we will start broiler chickens and bees.
Words for your new vocabulary …”azafady” can be sorry, please, or excuse! “Sira” means salt; “Sira mommie” means sugar. Get this, there is no t sound tsy, it is pronounced “si”. “Pain” is bread, sun is “masandro” or eye of the day. As the sun goes down they say “moodymasandro” which translates into the sun goes home. Poetic in thought. Most of the language is around feelings and moods. Personal names have from 8 to17 letters, no fear they will only use 4 to 7 of those letters. Rena can be boy or girl, FeFe the same and we have three Rena’s, so I say Rena boy and Rena girl and one is a niece of our coordinator so you got it— Rena niece. O’boy it’s only been two months and sometimes I am exhausted just from the stress of no communication.
So how do I relieve stress? I get 10 day-old chicks and keep them in my room for awhile. I don’t need to try to make myself understood; they peep and I add food and water. We understand one another. Thank you Lord for the small things in life. Actually the students here so desire to please and to learn English that it is a joy to be with them. I am sure it’s as hard for them. Sorry no pictures yet…I keep trying to take pictures, but cannot seem to find where I have stored them..they’re in a safe place I am sure.
So my prayer list goes like this:
3. A desire to seek and share Jesus with others
4. Lord to watch over my family and friends in the States
5. Open doors to ministry
The Lord Bless and Keep each of you in His Peace,
Sister Loretta in Madagascar