Monday, November 17, 2014


Letters:                                                                     Packages:
Madagascar Antananarivo Mission                          Madagascar Antananarivo Mission
BP 5094                                                                   Dingana III 
101 Antananarivo                                                     101 Andrainariyo
Madagascar                                                              Madagascar

Take note real quick of my shiny new mailing adress, where it now only takes 3 weeks to get letters to me with a 95% success rate! if you ever decide to send me a package (i dont know why you would, but it would be awesome if you did) it takes longer than a month, and items might be removed #fun! BUUUUUT 90% of Madagascar is Christian and they love the missionaries so if put some pictures or stickers of Christ on the outside of the box/envelope the success rate goes way up. you can also send me mail much fast and for free at COOL


So, believe it or not, but traveling to Madagascar nonstop for three days and then living there has been a fairly crazy experience so far.

First things first. I am OFFICIALLY moved out of the MTC (to be read in the voice of Mrs. Incredible, the Incredibles being unequivocally the best Pixar movie). have a look at some pictures of my three malagasy teachers, but not too long of a look cause i was having a bad everything day #ugly

I wish i could go in depth about each of my teachers like i have about people in the past, but email time is way more limited out in the field and the one thing worse in madagascar than in america is the computers (french keyboards + dial up internet speed = hell). Suffice it to say theure all really cool guys who know a ton about missionary work and malagasy, quite possibly the three most fluent at the language white people in the world, considering only .03% of the globe speaks malagasy. 

Brother Sell is the most reserved of the three, and i think ive only heard him speak around 5-ish english sentences, the rest its full time gasy. Hes also a pretty mean cook and athlete, if his sotries are to be believed. 

Brother Bingham's skills include ultimate frisbee and hitting on sister missionaries then claiming he thought they were teachers. Hes the sharpest dresser of the three and has a disturbing amount of interesting socks. i hold a fondness for bingham cause he said he liked my tie the best #HeWasCorrect 

Annnnd i told you about Burton last time. (sorry Bro Bur)

quick pic of all the malagasies at the MTC at the time of my leaving and a picture of my favorite couple in our Branch Presidency, President and Sister Mangum. President has a drawl worth of his last name and an email address Im certain his work gave him. Sister Mangum has a thick Maine accent, something i had no idea existed. they are living pieces of Americana and i love them dearly.

I also had to say goodbye to my two MTC companions, Elder Hieden and Cyusa. You gotta know im gonna miss them like crazy. Here they are on the Utah TRAX (fun fact: it took planes trains and automobiles to get us to Mada)


Travel facts section (TravFax) Mada is the farthest possible mission in the world from its MTC (no one speaks Malagasy in the Ghana MTC) and the church for understandable reasons, wants you there as quickly as possible. point is I traveled for around 56 hours straight with no showers, and despite meeting some super nice missionary loving people in every city and the fact that i love airports and airplanes, it was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. As I entered hour 30 of not showering i could feel all of my old anxieties and stresses returning and i still had decades to go of being trapped inside of cage of my own turgid pool of sweat and dirt. i think i clenched my fists until i cut my hands and i almost just started shouting at one point in Johannesburg. But all in all it was a really fun experience actually!

This part of the London airport really spoke to me on an aesthetic level. the most lonely, cold christmas tree ever. trever. 

I know the "brittish people are silly" jokes have been done to death but i have to say i think London is the most bizarre, surreal place ive ever been. Literally EVERYTHING is exactly like america, except never exactly. just an inch off. It was so disturbing to be trying to buy some food in a brittish starbucks, have everthing be in english, and yet have no idea what the sandwhich i was ordering was or how much it cost. it was also like theyre version of veterans day, which is exactly like americas but called like veterouns day or some crap and everyone wears these big silly flowers. even their bathrooms were somehow fancier but more stuck up and ineffectual. their stalls are huge and wood, but the toilet is tiny and weak and they pipe in classical music. they have sinks that are some how laid out different and mange to do nothing to your hands.

quotes from the brittish news in the airport "Sausage Warning: 1 in 10 sausages may be infected" and "Sausage Warning: Sausage meat should be cooked for 20 minutes"

Enough of that. 


The gritty nitty: My trainer is named Elder Horspool. My area is Betongolo (Bay-toon-goo-loo), a section of da big city: Antananarivo. Betongolo literally means "lots of onions" (the green kind). i havent seen a ton but i eat alot with eggs for breakfast often. Everything here is superfresh, meaning the onions were probably grown within walking distance of our apartment and the eggs come with feathers still on them (delicious!)

I feel the need to talk about the chickens at this moment, cause they deserve special mention. the same way london is like a perverse bizarro version of america, madagascar is so completely and insanely different your much more surprised when something happens that feels familiar. Case in point: even their chickens are radically different, i swear theyre not the same beast. Theyre everywhere, theyre tall and thin and mangy and made of matted black feathers, they roam freely and im pretty sure each is a convicted felon. i swear i saw one wearing crips colors. theyre constantly making noise, and not clucking, its far more akin to the cry of a velociraptor. Malagasies are so hardcore they just grab these dinosaurs, still fighting, tie their feet up with scraps of rope and then break their neck when its breakfast time. then im pretty sure they squeeze a few last eggs out too. the sun rises here around 3:00 in the morning and i can hear the chickens and people eating each other until its time for me to get up at 6:30.

honestly i cant even talk about all the weird/cool/foreign things here cause its everything and its so much i can already feel myself getting used to it cause other wise i just curl up in the middle of a cobble stone street and stare into infinity mumbling in malagasy. i mean, in the last paragraph i just mentioned the sun rises at 3 and sets at 6 in passing and neglected to mention that one time while i was teaching a lesson one of the families chickens walkied right into their house and jumped on the table and started fighting with their kids/learning the restored gospel of Jesus Christ because it doesn't even seem strange anymore.
here, let me just describe a few images and maybe you can start to figure out what its like to serve a mission in Madagascar

the look of Tana summed up: a sixty year old malagasy wearing an "I ate my homework" T-shirt

two 4-8 year old kids under a butchers stall playing some sort checkers like game with cigarette butts

Jules, a deaf malagasy member of the church who invented his own sign language in order to talk with his family working with a few other missionaries who learned his language to skype a sister missionary in Washington DC in order to learn american sign language so he can get a better job and someday go to the temple in Johannesburg and understand it

Me, being so dehydrated on saturday i stumbled back into our apartment and peed yellow acrylic paint 

Countless shops claiming to sell PIZZ ' AS 

this, a typical malagasy roof

me, Elder Horspool, and about 7-9 malagasies crammed into a room about 10 feet by ten feet singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and then having to explain to them that its not really a hymn and is in fact more about atheistic doubts and sex than praising God

a street fight breaking out over a motorcycle in front of me and Horspool, and a third malagasy breaking it up by telling the two combatants that "they cant fight in front of holy men"

Seeing stray dogs literally everywhere  and learning to run away from adorable puppies bounding towards you because you know theres a rabid momma close behind

in fact, let me go on one more animal tangent: Dokotras. imagine a turkey crossed with a duck. Now, instead of whatever silly thing you just pictured, imagine the nightmare version of it. that is dokotras, and the only animal ive never seen a malagasy brave enough to touch. even the biggest dogs keep theyre distance and i dont think malagasies eat their meat or their eggs and yet somehow theyve managed to enter the city and walk its streets freely, their only purpose to inflict suffering.

Its just Antananarivo, man. the city that goes to sleep at 8:30 cause the sun went down a few hours ago and they cant light it. the city where every taxi is a khaki 1920's Volkswagen beetle. the city where you walk through rice paddies to get to your neighbors and say hi to their hyper malnourished cow. the city where everyone greets you with a friendly "Salama tompko!" no matter how few teeth they have. the city where 4 year olds come up to you dressed in rags, carring and infant on their back and you can bond with them by singing the Dora the Explorah theme song (the words are different, but the do-do-do-do-dora is the same). the city where youre food is 50% the fruit flies that land on it as you raise the spoon to your mouth. The city where youre either never pooping, or always. 

Really, just the coolest city in the world. 

have a dumb video,

and some pictures. for a challenge, see if you can guess which are provo, and which are tana.

1 comment:

  1. Sir, I came across your blog entirely by chance, whilst searching for information about Madagascar. I have read it through, and admit that it makes fun, light-hearted reading.
    However, your paragraph about Britain is heavy footed at best, insulting at worst. Your "EVERYTHING is exactly like america," Is rather appropriate, given the fact you were part of our Empire, thus you did get the things before rebelling. As to toilets, the modern toilet is a British invention, it's thanks to us, Brits, that the human body's waste can be disposed of in such a sanitary way.
    What really riled me though is your remark pertaining to our "Version of Veterans Day." and wearing those "big silly flowers." Firstly, we have "Remembrance Sunday" which takes place on the 2nd Sunday of November. on "Remembrance Day" (11/11), we observe 2 minutes of silence for the Fallen. Secondly, those flowers are Poppies. After WW1 in Belgium and France they grew abundantly on the old battlefields where men fought and died for their Country. We wear "those silly flowers" as a sign of Respect for those heroes, and to remind us of Their Sacrifices.