Wednesday, January 28, 2015

*Tenderly Avoids Male Bonding*

Q-Q-Q-quick post today folks, im short on time


Oh sorry i was in a rush MISY BAPTISM

The guy is Frere Ernest, our ward mission leader and a total baller. Love him to death, also hes very good at english so that probably is part of why i like him so much. He helps us all the time and essentially runs this ward from behind the scenes cause hes just such a hard worker.

The girl in the center is the one who got baptized, and her name is Sitraka (See-Chuk-ah) She's also an amazing member, super smart and dedicated. We always had a great time teaching her and her family. Kind of sad we wont get to see her as much anymore now that she's a full member.

picture of dead rat that was loose in the church office where i work. that rat was less dead when it was loose.

No malagasy path pictures this week, but there are pictures of typical malagasy roads

Remember Medisse, Frederic's friend? Better know as Hegrem or Eminem2.0? Heres a picture of us seeing him off at the airport as well as some other malagasy missionaries headed to the Ghana MTC. 

Medisse will serve in South Africa, english speaking once his visa goes through. They go through slow though, because as i understand it there's some sort of political tension between South Africa and Madagascar. 

Also a belated picture from the Christmas party/rave 

A PLS for tradition's sake

Sorry folks, thats all i got time for. See you next week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

You Can Take the Boy Out of the South(ern Portion of New England)

I hope you all are excited to read the title of this blog every week cause frankly thats my favorite part to write. todays was originally going to be Cynical Cyril Cyrus the Cyclopsian Cyclone Cyclist but then i realized the only part that was relevant was the 'cyclone' and i was being altogether too pleased with myself.

Oh yeah, we had a cyclone this week.

Picture of some of the cyclone damage. Its pretty sad, cause i was having the time of my life during it, all the rain and wind made it so it was actually a bearable temperature and i was saying "I hope there's a cyclone every week!" but then afterwards i started noticing all the damage it did. Mortar, if people even use it (which they often dont) is very weak around here and gets eroded in the cyclone. stones walls were falling down all around the city, and i heard five people died, crushed under a brick wall their house was under. Use quality mortar when building your houses, my friends.

So theres this restaurant (named SNACK in all caps and its actually pretty high class, i love this country) me and Elder Horspool go to sometimes and it has a tv that plays music videos. we've seen some pretty amazing things on the tv, him and I, but by far my favorites are these two malagasy pop songs that play once in a blue moon between all the club music called "Vavaka" and "Missionera". Literally about how a guy likes praying and these ladies appreciate the work missionaries do, respectively. And theyre both filmed on a shoestring budget, i honestly think with a handcam. so malagasy. 

But even more important than those two songs is that the other day in SNACK we saw our recent convert Frederick and his friend Medisse (who's currently serving a mission in South Africa) on the TV rapping away in their latest single. I didnt realize quite how big FIFTYderic and Hegrem (yes those are their names) were in madagascar.

OH I JUST FOUND THE VIDEO "My Last Chance" Hegrem FEAT Fiftyderic

On the right: my recent convert <3 the others are gasy rappers i havent met yet

 did i mention that frederics other job is that he teaches English? I love this guy.

Have some chameleon pictures and PLS shots

Also continuing to take pictures of tana paths, i love these. I'll call em RBL shots (Ratsy be ny lalana!)

I was remiss that i did not take a picture of these awesome sandals i saw the other day, i heard theyre pretty common but this was the first time i noticed them, theyre made out of worn out car tires and are super cheap and last forever. i think ill buy a pair.

Ugly story time, somebody left some towels on our apartment balcony during transfers unknown ages ago and theyve been festering ever since. the other day they sprouted some hefty toadstools and me and Horspool decided enough was enough and threw em out. But not before taking this pic,(i dont know if you can tell but thats like a six inch tall shroom that just appeared overnight. Fungi are amazing)

Interesting Gasy Fax: a ton of words in malagasy are just gasy-sized french but sometimes theyll invent or have prexisting words completely from malagasy for the same thing (teny gasy be) amd they can get kind of weird. for example pomegranate in teny gasy be is "Apongo Be Lanitra"  literally "Big Drum of Heaven" (or maybe "Heavenly Drum of Bigness" depending on your translator)

Speaking of language, heres a quick pic of our English class super stars. We teach a free English class ever week at the church as part of our service. The guy in the Scorpions tank is named Urban and the girl is Seheno (seh-hay-noo). Both are tena mahay be and probably teach more english than i do, cause I'm still struggling a little bit with malagasy (not personally, im just still new) and so its a little hard to teach sometimes. I mostly just help people with pronunciation 
and teach very basic things to the beginners.

Unfortunately also not pictured was this experience i had yesterday where a big ol' cow (hereafter referred to as an omby cause i cant stand saying cow anymore) got loose in the middle of the street. it held up a bunch of bus traffic and was creating quite spectacle, there was a whole crowd ringed around the wranglers trying to rope the thing again. and every time it would charge or try to gore one of the wranglers all the people (who were at least 3 yards away) would squeal and run away for like half a mile. i kinda think the onlookers were just using like a haunted house to get themselves worked up. but it was pretty crazy. I've always thought ombys are weirdly large for how little we think of them, just cause theyre (usually) so docile. But its a heck of a lot of animal, especially when youre standing right next to it. And it has 2 foot long devil horns. 

Some members in the Betongolo ward! These ladies are all extremely nice and have us over for soirees all the time. Left to right, Soeur Soa, Evette, and Tinamora. Sr Evette's even fed us a couple times, some really good rice and loaka and some katsaka (which is literally just a lot of corn floating in sugar water and i did not like as much).  I'm still laughing at how french for sister is pronounced "sir" btw.

ALSO you might notice that just recently google has finally come out with a malagasy function for google translate. its.. not very good but it just came out so i expect it will grow mightily. Point is i will probably start tossing out more malagasy words knowing you can go to uncle google to learn a little bit. Also because its becoming harder and harder for me to talk in just English. 

Lastly, and most importantly


This baby's been like six weeks in the making, took a lot of P-day time and planning. I had to argue with the lambahoany seller for like fifteen minutes to let me buy floral patterned cream satin for the back of the vest because he was convinced it was only for women. Metrosexual discrimination, that's whats holding back the malagasy economy. 

and let's not forget Horse's suit (digging the third pocket)

I also had a silversmith member of one of our wards make me a ring. Silvers actually more expensive here than in america but the labor and brand costs are low and non-existant, respectively. The ring is a CTR ring which i admit is pretty basic mormon garbage, but hopefully that fact that its in malagasy (Fidio ny Tsara btw) and made by hand by a guy who also raises chickens makes up for that. 
So thats it for now. Mada's really starting to feel like home, I'm not sure i can go back to a country without akoho sauce or grenadelle jus. Getting to the point where I can really enjoy speaking gasy too. But dont think I've forgotten any of you guys and your blurry, quickly evaporating faces. Love you guy(s?)

Monday, January 12, 2015

"You know that lady you gave candy to was a prostitute, right?"

You people just would not believe all the crazy stuff that comes with being a missionary in Madagascar. There is literally so many stories and so little email time that i'm not even going to explain the blog title for this week. I mean, I know every missionary says they got the best mission in the world (except the french missionaries) but i think i may have located the objective best one, at least in the top 14 (oh, to teach in the Marshall islands....)

honestly there's so much to say i think my blog this week might be reduced to bullet points (if you take the pictures out the prior posts youll notice this blog has always been glorified bullet points)

~ So it's the holidays and the spirit of giving is everywhere, and by that i mean the spirit of me giving my camera to thief in an unwilling and unsuspecting manner, i. e. pick-pocketing. Dude saw me taking pictures with some kids at the balfot pitch (soccer field) and unzipped my bag and took the camera during a five minute walk from the field to a restaurant without me noticing a thing. Ain't even mad, just mostly impressed. i hear this is a very common thing that happens to missionaries here and the area we were in is incredibly poor so i hope my camera can help some at least get their feet under them, but i cant say a career in thievery bodes well for his or the community's economic future. So anyways thats why no pictures this week

~Shaved my head last week. Best. Decision. Ever. i cant even express how hot/flooded this pace always is, as least to an east coast boy like myself. My Cali comp says the heats not that bad but im dying. I dream of winter every day. I hope you guys appreciate having a cold side of the pillow to flip it over to in the middle of the night, i only have the slightly less sweaty side.

~ Hey remember when i said  no picture, cause i actually meant misy pictures because my comp was a doll and sent me some

my aforementioned comp, Elder Horspool, me, and MY SWEAT-STAINED MANE
this is from a hike we went on to the top of a hill in the distant nether regions of Tana

Panorama of the view from the top of the hill (which is either a small mountain or stretching the definition of hill [and technically private property and inhabited by killer bees but its also a norm tourist destination so...])

MOST IMPORTANTLY i found out this week chameleons (and small malagasy children) live in the trees outside our apartment

Have i mentioned that Madagascar is the best place in the world? i get to do Indiana Jones crap every single day just to get around, and I live in the largest city in the country. I'm not sure this picture does it justice, but this bridge was so sketchy, tons of big gaps and tiny sticks holding it up over a decent sized ravine. let me reiterate that I LIVE IN THE CITY. on a mouintain and crippled by poverty in a less than 3rd world country, but in the city nonetheless. note my (black) dress shoes

typical Malagasy sidewalk (haha, sidewalk. Americans are so rich they pave stuff cars dont even drive on. idiots)

A bunch of the Elders serving in Tana, but not all. appreciate the front and back veiws. from left to right Elder Roush Morley Liao Koplin Babb Horspool Hein (a member from elder Hein's ward whose name i didnt catch) and McCrary (i know that guy!) You might hear stories about these guys later, the only thing i feel compelled to report is that Elder Koplin uttered the phrase "It's Carrie Underwood, baby!" to Elder Horspool today

kay, back to bullet points.

~for the second time in my life i saw someone have a seizure during a church meeting. difference was this time the seizee had a shaolin monk haircut and i had a little lifeguard training under my belt so i was able to help him out a little bit. He's perfectly okay now and doing well, thought he still has no sino ancestry or cultural links so i dont understand the hair, but doing great. funniest part was when some one ran out and and grabbed some mint leaves and threw them on him. i think he thought the smell would help resuscitate him? But it looked a little like black magic

~one of our members told me the other day before the church convinced him to change his life he slept with his aunt, except he said, in english, "my mothers brothers wife". I didnt need to know that but i appreciated his gasy phraseology

~We had an appointment for 7 lessons yesterday and every single one didnt show up. Thats a record for me!

~But other than that the works going great and i love it. we had a random guy on the street tell us to come in after a literal two word conversation and we taught one of our best lessons ever. his family is so interested in the gospel, way interested in religion but disatisfied with the the church experiences theyve had so far. They literally asked us about prophets first thing, uninvited, and me and Horspool just looked at each other and smiled.

~in a gasy accent, even when someone tells you theyre watching Uwe Boll's Zombie Massacre it sounds so elegant "zoom-BAY mah-SAH-crray"

~and to wrap it all up i got chased by a crazy lady who spoke unintelligible french for 20minutes this morning. she even tried to get in the taxi with us (the taxi we hired just to get away faster)

Never a dull moment in Madagascar. Y'all should really visit next time. Miss/love all of you, especially THOSE OF YOU WHO WRITE ME. *hint hint*

Monday, January 5, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve^353

I'm literally just writing this blog post so you all know i haven't forgotten about you. It just very hard to find time on computers out here, sorry.

But i thought you should all know that yes, i did get to celebrate Chrsitmas and New Years and yes, Malagasies celebrate them too. In fact they love them dare i say even more than Americans. Christmas and New Years parties are their two biggest parties of the year and they go ham. I've met multiple people who saved up all year for their parties. an its like the gift giving kind of time like in a america, they just dance all. night. long. and into the next night. and its all to Malagasy songs which are written in like 37/15 time signatures, just hyper rapid guitar plinking, and their bodies keep up with it. These people have been trained from birth to dance, all the two year olds do it. im kind of jealous. for a less hyperactive but extremely popular malagasy song, google "Mahatsiaro" by Stephanie.
I hear it at least 8 times a day, but never in good quality, only on malagasy sound systems (a Nokia flip phone turned up to max volume)

Tratrany Kristmasy daholo! 

Inona voavoa? Toana voavoa!