Thursday, July 2, 2015

All The Malagasies Want To Know If John Cena Is Dead (please say no)

Im back

Im gonna try to go fastand actually get something to you guys this week. as usual it wont be spiritually uplifting and there well be a lot of pictures so lets get goinging
First of all, for those of you who read the Liahona (im pretty sure this is no one but missionaries) check out the inside of the back cover this month! The Rasolofo family, genuine malagasies. we dont make it in church stuff very often over here in mada, so we're very excited.
lets throw some pics down. Warning: they are of turkeys

I just could not stop photographing this turkey. she was beautiful. Garcia tried to convert her but shes an adventist, and you know how they get about the sabbath


Ive been trying to get a pic of the way La Gastronomie Pizza names its combos for weeks now. Gastros is the only chain of anything of madagascar, the closest thing malagasies have to fast food. but its as exspensive as the fanciest restaurant, so its a luxury item for them. Tastes okay. Good ice cream though.

Gotta take dat Gastros Selfie

I like to fall behind Garcia and take pics of him dramatically walking into the distance

So we were watching European Womens Handball at an investigators house (dont ask) and the french team was of course 80% african ladies and they showed this one woman and i was like "she looks super malagasy" and then they showed her name and it was Kanto, which is not only the name of a region in japan but also means "beautiful" in malagasy. I called it, i officially win madagascar.
It is kinda of funny, because you might think malagasies would just look like africans in general, but its not true. they have their own totally seperate look, like somewhere between Mexicans, Indians, and true blue Africans, though depending on their tribe they can look like one or the other more so. you learn to spot it. You can have conversations like "oh you must be Betsilao" "oh howd you know?" "cause youre dark and you have an Antsirabe accent" and then theyll get all impressed with the vazaha fetsy.
I forget, is saying somes dark racist sounding in america? cause comparing youre relative blackness is something people talk about all the time here

Im about to make an #UnfairGeneralization but now that ive worked with 100+ africans i can honestly report they all love getting their pictures taken next to cars. You should have seen Cyusa in the MTC parking lot

Soiree meal at Sr Elvines again. ravitoto. You wouldnt think eating mashed up grass on top of rice would be good, but its great... if youve gota good cook and the grass was cut that day

Elvine is very quotable, at one point she was threatening to hit her super mischeivous son with a belt (facetiously) and she said "missionary, move over, i dont want you to get blood on your white shirt."

She's also 100% Atondroay, which means shes from Fort Dauphin (3rd most beautiful place in the world, remember?) and speaks in crazy dialect. she had us dress up all 'tondroay with her (Elvine insists you dont say the a in atondroay, its something the merinas added) the first woman is Elvine, the second is her daughter Fitia. Fitia is so good at the head carrying thing she can balance that water drum on her head without the rag under it for almost a minute.

fun fact, each malagasy tribe has its own unique wicker hat. So far i have the Atondroay and the Betsilao, pictured here in that order. I want one of each before i go home.

Malagasies can have pretty set gender roles sometimes, so they were pretty surprised when i took this picture (the head balancing thing is really frickin hard)

i dont have faith that my genes are good enough to produce a kid as adorable as this, so in the future i hope to adopt a malagasy child. Something about Sitraka McCrary just sounds... right.

Garcia quotes
"I know someday I'm going to break this staircase-" *the staircase breaks under his weight*

"This is my favorite spot" Garcia says as he gets ready to pee "This is the pee spot of a king" I concur

Its been a while since i linked you to one of Frederic or Hegrems music videos, and this one is by far their best

speaking of Hegrem, his older brother Heliode, just got back from serving his mission in England and is just an all around amazing guy. Of he got immediately snapped up and was called as Second Counsellour in the bishopbric. A High Preist at age 25, he beat my dad by 25 years. He showed up to church the other day wearing a sharp brittish suit, a tie President Uchtdorf gave him while he visited the London mission and Heliode was AP, and a pair of dress socks with the Playboy logo on them. Im gonna miss madagascar.

that apostrophe... (fun fact: a lot of times "massage" means "brothel" here)

the Ro Mazava at the Hotel Bellavue is insanely overpriced and we will not be returning. the only reason they stay in business is because theyre near the German embassy and no one else speaks Allemand/Deutsch

A water pump. This is how everyone gets their water, by walking to the pump with buckets and then taking it back to the house. Since there are no addresses or organization in Mada, pumps almost always serve as landmarks. “Where do they live?” “By the pump and banana seller” “okay thanks” and then you go to the street and theres 7 pumps and 20 banana sellers. Never ask a Malagasy for directions, ask him to lead you to the house.



Mada. We yelled to those kids playing soccer way in the distance and they yelled back. the fun thing about being a Vazaha is you stand out.

how cute are Garcia and Naliette? (very)

Mrs. H. S. BallsTM Chutney Flavor Potato Chips turned out to be quite good, i bought the big bag next time

my all time favorite Taxi Be sticker in mada (it says "water and rice" but the dikan is all you need in life is rice and water, the rest is extra. i almost cried when i read it, just beautiful)

I was so lucky the guard at our church walked by right as i took this, it makes the photo
by the way, meet the guardian for our church and his daughter. (all large buildings have guardians here) i love this guy, we always call each other chef be (big boss) and hes just such a punk. Gaurds dont recieve uniforms here but they are required to wear a blue shirt and black tie. His blue shirt is the McDonalds worker kind, with the little golden arches on the breast and everything.

the neighbors cock fighting rooster. he sneaks into the church grounds all the time and poops on Mission Presidents doorstep. No one can keep him out. Everyone wants to kill him, but hes apparently a very good cockfighter because he makes the neighbors a lot of money and they say well have to pay them a lot if he dies.

the local junkyard kids (just kidding, youd think this is a junkyard, but its actually just the middle of a street in downtown Ambohipo)
There a french guy that moved to Mada and set up a pizzareria near our house, its called Chez Arnaurd. Pizzarias are very fancy here, so me and elder Garcia pulled a little out of personal fund and splurge one day, and i got some great pics

get the chocolate mousse and the taglietelle, the calamari is great

mada, mada, mada

sorry i feel in love with the lighting in our kitchen one night

We also had a soiree at the Patriarchs house, it was delicious (rice, pig skin, beans, tomato and pistachio sauce, plus banana bread which is not American banana bread but fried bananas. Also three different kinds of juice, passion fruit, guava, and vegetable) but it also made me really sick the night after. Such is life. Patriarch is an elfin man, one of the few Malagasies ive ever seen with a full head of white hair, he looks like a cross between Ghandi and Yoda. He was also wearing a sports jacket that said “Boston Red Fox”. Amazing man, he learned with the missionaries so long ago that they were speaking to him in french.  

the hat seller: its 3000 for one
me: ill give you 5000 for two

her: metika [deal]

me: *puts it on*

her: tsara ve? [is it good?]

me: mangasika hatramin'ny taolona [CHILLED TO THE BONE]

tortoise. the richer malagasies have them as pets. adorable

Recent convert: Benanjara. Goes out with the missionaries all the time. Rock-solid and just an amazing guy. owns two shirts, and has a lot of music from cheesy american protestant revivalist concerts. Can you say an 80s style love ballad to Jesus?

like i said, baller

Our ward mission leader, Kennedy (he said his dad really liked american presidents). hes standing next to the man he most closely resembles. Also a great guy

i have spent my whole mission in easy veiw of the Rova, the most distinct building on Tana's skyline. Im sure you all have noticed by now. Im startingto see the Rova as as a surrogate mother, one time me and Elder Garcia got lost, i knew we were in trouble when i looked up and the rova was so far away it looked like a little speck. id never been that far from here before

my favorite grafitti so far

And this is my favorite bumper sticker

Elder Huata threw a birthday party the othr day. You may not think thats a big deal, but it was a Big Deal. It wasnt really clear if birthdays are a super big deal to tahitians in general or just elder huata, but what was clear to everyone that it was going to be an important event. So our plan was to make an appearance and get out by 9:30, but it turns out the party was the event of the year. literally insane, we ended up travelling by bus for an hour and a half to the opposite end of the city to visit the most politically and fininacially influential member in mada's mansion (this guy also happens to be huata's former investigator and theyre like super good friends) and the ordeal was set up like a presidential reception, im talking dining hall, 4 course meal, giant speakers and music and people from like 5 different wards (2 bishops present). Absolutely insane, i thought it was gonna be a little get together at the church. I shouldve known though, you guys need to see huata play a room, the dude has power over people. he is always every member and investigator's best friend and he loves setting up these shennanigans and being at the center of it.

me and the super rich, super powerful Norbert. The legend. We have multiple baptisms per week here but Norberts baptism was on mission prez's weekly issue list, he had to make sure it went perfect. If Norbert does a 180 and decides to attack the church he could seriously hurt it in madagascar. if he stay active, he can work with the govt and help us out a lot, esp with all the visa issues. High stakes. He wanted fireworks at his baptism

The shrine

in it is Elder Huatas two cakes, both the most elaborate id ever seen in mada, plus the rick shaw Norbert used to pull when he was starting his career (yes he started as a rick shaw puller, theyre called pos-pos here. he saved up and bought the pos from his boss, then saved up again and bought other poses to rent to other pullers. eventually he went to school, business, and then politics. he went back and bought the first pos and keeps it enshrined in his house)

More pos pos shrines

Ill let the pictures tell the story of me an Norberts daughters

The food (fanciest ive had in country)


It Begins

One Of the great things about Ambohipo is that I in the same Zone as Cyusa again so i get to see him every once in a while

So one of our investigators is a shirt seller, and she was begging us to buy a shirt. Buying stuff from investigators sets a bad precedent... but i wanted the shirt

wait let me get one with good lighting

The world famous Jao's Pub. It seats like 50-100 max but i swear its like the end goal of all malagasy singers. all the big stars peform there. We stopped in to pee and buy Fanta. overpriced. (the fanta not the pee)

Having a blast reading the Pauline Epistles

the girl in the middle is busy eating peanuts. Her name is Doratine and she preparing to go on a mission and helps all the time. Another great member. See if you can find Suzy

The menu at Faceboof. we mostly tried it cause of the name. Good, but way too exspensive and french porportions. We will not be returning

I SAW A STRIP MALL TODAY. IT WAS SO CLEAN. i seriously havent been this disoriented since my first week in country

Theres this one young guy in our ward named George whos just a great member, always helping the missionaries, and he just got his mission call to Brazzaville, Congo. his last name is Totovola, so he'll be going by the name Elder Youngmoney
speaking of young money, Lil Wayne 's YMCMB and Trukfit clothing brands are huge here, its pretty funny to see 80 year old granpas wearing em

Our financial couple, the Clowards, left today. I got to know them real well in the office, sad to see them go. Theyre both amazing and did a huge service to mada by coming here. Fun fact: any waterpark youve ever been to, elder cloward designed. plus some ones you havent been to because theyre the private parks of Arabian Shahs. he designed the place i worked at, Zoobezi Bay.

to add to the sadness, it was also the last week for our mission president, President and Sister Adams. An absolutely amazing group of people. Pres is one of the best maxiliofacial surgeons in the world and Sister Adams is a stud as well. native swiss, you should see the way she keeps thing going. I can honestly say President is one of the few Great Men Ive met in my life, he has a prescence like a t-rex. he can fill a room by saying nothing, the kind of person you snap to attention for. Sister Cloward is the only person ive seen to be strong enough to argue with him on any point about anything.  

there farewell was a blast, though i might have to credit that to the fact that all our pacific islanders (Tahitians and Venuatians) brought theyre ukeleles and drums to it and jammed the whole time. Ukeleles have some other name in teny gasy because ukelele has a malagasy swear word in it

everyone sang em some malagasy hymns on the way out

the stake center near Norberts mansion. its slightly larger. I took the fisheye lens so everyone could see that our building is situated right next to the american embassy. its great for telling people about the church "oh your the one by the american embassy?"

tana, tana, tana, with some garbage mixed in. but its tana so what do you expect
Ill talk more about them when i have picture, but we have this one investigator family thats just gold, Haja Sonja and their baby, Helios. Theyre the guys whose stair elder garcia broke. anyways, we visited them in the hospital because Haja is a Gendarme an had several health complications. In a fight with the Dahalo (mafioso cattle rustelers, remember?) Haja fell on his arm and took a bullet in the shoulder. The ball is still in him, and he had a few health complications from that, but the primary reason was for brain worms.
Have I explained this yet? so one species special to mada is a type of parasitic worm, like a tapeworm (which mada also has a lot of) that instead resides in your brain and starts eating it. completely treatable though, Hajas completely healthy now. But there are several reasons why missionaries, when they return home, take a lot of worm killing medication.

I didnt organize these thoughts, so sorry but were gonna end talking about food again

ill just let these shop names speak for themselves

We actually went to Soupe Tamatave Flamboyant

I got chicken

Garcia got Mi Sao

Farewell my children, dream sweetly

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