a.k.a. Almost 1/2 way!
We have been here over 5 months and I still wake up most mornings in awe that we live in Africa. Driving offers a daily reminder of the differences between Madagascar and home. The main road into Mahajanga is a cacophony of sights, sounds, and smells and, at first glance, the road seems like chaos. There isn’t a working traffic light in the entire country, few road signs of any kind, and the police that stand in traffic blow their whistles in a laughable attempt to keep traffic moving. Scores of pedestrians, tuk-tuks, taxi-brouses, ox-carts, pouse-pouses, cars, cows, goats, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, quads, and various other vehicles and creatures share the crowded space. Over time, however, we have learned the rhythm of the road, if you will. And have come to admire the order that emerges from the chaos. This video doesn't capture the scale of craziness, but shows a typical drive:
In many ways, the roads are a good analogy for our time so far in Madagascar. Landing in Madagascar was a jump into chaos: no language, no identity, sensory overload, few comforts of home, and a rhythm very different than our own. But we are slowly learning to communicate and navigate life. Fortunately, we are blessed with the help of good friends and fellow missionaries that have helped and encouraged us in the transition. It is still uncomfortable at times, but we are learning the rhythm of life in Madagascar in the midst of the chaos.
As we find our rhythm, we are able to spend more time each day in the work that we set out to do. The ministries in Madagascar are growing and certainly need workers! Over 180 kids showed up to the Kids Club Christmas celebration last week and were treated to a chicken lunch - a luxury that many families cannot afford. Josh recently started the computer class for several Malagasy Eden employees. Amanda will start an exercise class with the women at the Maternity Center after New Years.
We also continue work on the guesthouse to get it fully operational with goal of being self-sustaining. The guesthouse will allow more partners and workers to come and support the growing ministry. Unfortunately, the number and expense of upfront home improvements exceeded our estimates. From hiring an extra night guard, to getting a second refrigerator, to extra mosquito nets, we need your help with these one time costs for the guesthouse. A list of specific needs are below.
Would you be willing to support our ministry with a year-end gift to help cover these expenses?
- $40 (x3) - Mosquito netting for the kids beds - Includes materials and wages for seamstress. These had to be custom made because of the sloped roof in the loft.
- $47/month (or $564 for the year) - Salary for Night Guard #1 - We hired a dedicated night guard to improve guesthouse security. This also provides living wage for another Malagasy in the community.
- $47/month (or $564 for the year) - Salary for Night Guard #2 - Guards work every other night and every other weekend. This also provides living wage for another Malagasy in the community.
- $50 (x3) - Floor pedestal fan
- $67 - Shelving/Furniture for master bath
- $67 - Driver’s License for Guesthouse employee. A drivers license costs more that a month's salary for Malagasy. Tanjona is responsible for guesthouse maintenance and security and will be responsible for logistics once we return to the US. He needs to able to drive the car that we will leave with the guesthouse.
- $80 - New Kitchen screen door - Improve airflow in kitchen without letting mosquitoes inside!
- $85 - Water Heater for guest room.
- $100 - Vet bill to fix Guesthouse dog. We just had a litter of puppies, and we don't want more!
- $100 (x3) Ceiling fan for kitchen and patio areas. We use these constantly during the hot season to help cool off and keep bugs at bay.
- $100 - Installation of fans, water heater, kitchen lights, air conditioner, washing machine. All proceeds paid to local Malagasy handyman that supports the guesthouse, Sarobidy, and Eden.
- $115 - Printer and Ink - To support guesthouse operation.
- $125 - Guard House Improvements - We needed to enclose the small guard-house for protection from rain. Also provides place to sleep for weekend shift.
- $200 - Continuing language school - We hired a Malagasy teacher to continue language learning. This teacher is taking a sabbatical year from teaching in the remote fishing village of Mahabana where Eden first started planting mangroves.
- $250 - Mosquito screen for porch - We enclosed the Guesthouse porch to extend the usable living space for the home. While long-term missionaries become accustomed to mosquitoes and bugs, having an enclosed area at the guesthouse will help relieve the discomfort for visitors and short-term guests.
- $350 - Refrigerator - We purchased a second refrigerator for the house as the existing fridge was not adequate when all guest rooms are filled. The refrigerator was purchased used from another missionary family that was leaving the fields.
- $400 - Wall Security - Only 1/2 of the guesthouse wall has security measures to prevent easy access. We would like to add glass or barbed wire to the wall to secure the perimeter and deter thieves.
- $500 - Washing machine - We purchased a new washing machine for the house.
- $525 - Air Conditioner for Guest Room - Only one of the guest rooms included A/C. We’ve added much needed AC to the second of 3 guest rooms.
Please also continue to pray for our family. Especially pray that we can stay focused on the work that needs to be done in the remaining 6 months!
Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement!
The Jensen Family
The Guesthouse at Night