We have been in Madagascar for just over a month now! It is amazing how fast the time has gone already. Here is a brief rundown of our lives the past 5 weeks:
1. Arrived in Antananarivo (Tana) on July 14th at 11:30pm (Malagasy time). All 15 pieces of luggage plus 3 bike boxes arrived with us!
2. Spent 10 days in Tana shopping for items that are not available in Mahajanga where we live.
3. While in Tana we took a 3 night trip to Andasibe National Park, for team building time and introduction to Madagascar’s wildlife. Lemur Island was a favorite for all!
4. On Monday, July 25th, we drove 10 hrs (with no delays!) to Mahajanga, the second largest city in Madagascar.
5. We stayed with the Carlstrom family for 4 nights while we learned the basics of life here (getting around, shopping, the bank, etc.).
6. On Friday, July 29th, we moved in with a Malagasy family who was gracious enough to host a family of five for 7 nights. We were the first family that they had ever hosted! It was a great opportunity to learn about Madagascar through Malagasy eyes and get to know some new friends.
7. August 5th - we moved into the guest house and have been working to get it ready for our first guests who arrive this Saturday, Aug. 20th! We have also started helping in other areas including the weekly neighborhood Kids Club, discussed possible projects with Eden Reforestation, and other minor help around the Maternity Center.
We are starting to learn Malagasy and official lessons begin in September. Thanks to Selah, one word that none of us will forget is “ovy”, which means potato. (Ovy is pronounced 'oo-vy' with 'oo' as in food.) "Tia ovy Selah" (Selah likes potatoes!).
Mosquitoes (moka), cockroaches (kadradraka), ants (vitsika), centepedes (trambu), and geckos (tanafisaka) are a few of the creatures living in our home with us. The geckos are welcome, especially since they eat mosquitoes, but the rest we could do without! The ants here rival any ant problem we have ever experienced in California, but the chameleons living in our mango (manga) trees sure are amazing!
We have enjoyed the beach, the Boulevard, trying new foods including snails (all the kids tried them!), crocodile pate (only Caleb liked this one), and especially Bolo (the local ice cream shop).
More in-depth thoughts to come, but we wanted you all to have a small glimpse into what our first month has looked like on this most incredible island!