onsdag 22. oktober 2008

I'm still alive!

I see I'm on my way to be a really bad blogger. Actually I'm already there. When I check everyone else's blog there's always something new that's been written about. I have one post so far. The reason? Hm. May be because going to the internet café is not the easiest thing to do, especially not now that we have started the Malagasy courses. Also it's not the best connection so uploading pictures is not possible. Also, there's a lot going on most of the time so sitting down, trying to write something good is not that easy either. My excuses are many, I know. The main thing however is probably the fact that I'm having a really good time. So it's not necessary for me to go to my room, being introvert and writing stuff. It's more fun to be around people and experience the culture. So I'm sorry if there's anybody out there who wants more updates! I'm going to try to get better.

News since last blog: many, when I think about it. The last blog was a long time ago. Anyway, I have got a Malagasy phone number!!! +261 0326 1942 69. if you want to call me, drop the 0 in the beginning (= +/00261 326 1942 69).We've also finally bought the «moov» usb-internet-thing, so now we don't have to go to the internet café. Yes, it's a luxury object but in Mahajanga we would probably be without internet at all if we didn't buy this thing and it would also be very hard, if not impossible, to upload pictures and files/assignments in mails etc. So I think it's for the best. And hopefully I'll be able to show some pictures soon, from this wonderful land!

During the weekend Arnhild and I had a girl's trip to Antsirabe, the town where she spent most of her childhood. We stayed at the Norwegian school. There were less people there now than when she lived there but it was still a very nice place. It became a weekend with swimming (at a hotel), sun bathing and pousse pousse! We also had 6 hours on the bus (3 each way), squeezed in between two seats at high speed! With no security belts of course. T so charming, and that's not a ironic joke! The buses are some of the most charming things here, though in a hurtful way. We also ate morbær, sorry, I don't know the English word, but the berries from a tree like Sakkeus was sitting in! I enjoyed that. They were really sweet and good!

Now it's only two weeks left before we start working. For now it's just Malagasy courses, KRIK and English Club. I think everyone know about KRIK/CHRISC; sports and fun, followed by a prayer in the end. This event is for everyone as long as they follow the rules. English Club however is a group of young people gathering to speak, practice and improve English. They meet every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and we were lucky enough to accidentally see them in the living room our first day here. We were invited in and have joined them since then. I'm really impressed by their efforts. They speak English all the time! All the time. If there's a word someone doesn't understand, the others try to explain it to them, in English! I don't think that would ever happen in Norway. We would rather like the explanation in Norwegian. This policy also makes it easier for us.
To get some structure we put together a plan for the days, so that every Tuesday we have «Bible study», Thursday «Listening and singing» (mostly Christian songs) and Friday «English in daily life» (discussions etc). We divide into smaller groups so that everyone gets the chance to speak.
These evenings are some of the best things I do down here. Especially thursday when we had our first time of «listening and singing». I sang «The heart of worship» and «Majesty» to them. We had written the texts on the white board so it was easer for them to follow. Afterwards we talked about the song's meanings and explained. Then we all sang the song together. Everyone with their Malagasy dialect, some differences in the melody and in a language they don't know that well. So touching. And this was not the end of the night. When English club was finished the four of us, and Daniel, spoke to Pastora Haja, the general secretary in the youth department in the Lutheran Church. Afterwards we were served a nice supper of chicken, some tomatoes and onions and of course rice! To drink we got what I think is quite typical for Madagascar, the remaining boiled water from the cooked rice. No, it was not the best drink I've tasted but I was able to drink it anyway. It was a night to remember! And I think we'll have many more!

tirsdag 7. oktober 2008


Then it was time for some new here from Madagascar. I will write in English (though there probably will be some really bad expressions etc) so that it will be possible for my international friends to read as well.

After many hours on the plane we finally arrived here in Tana. It was dark, in the middle of the night, so we didn't see much other than lights. Then finally, after getting our suitcases (of course the lats ones), we got to meet Daniel and Helisoa! It was so nice to have some one waiting for us when we, kind of lost, entered the arrivial hall. We then got into the taxi and drove, really fast, to the youth center, our home for the next six months!

«Haianemann, jeg er i Afrika!», some of the first things going through my mind as I woke up Thursday morning. One of the first things that hit me when I looked out the window was that yes, Madagascar has the red/brown color of the earth but it is also so green and fresh! So many trees and plants that makes the land so extremely beautiful. Also, the people here are so beautiful. Everyone is pretty and the children are so cute! And people are so nice. Smiling and excited to see us and pointing: «vazaha», foreigner (white skinned).

We got more gas for the stove, after 4 hours of making dinner and still the water did not boil, so now the food is really nice. And we still haven't been sick. The three big cockroaches in the bathroom are dead and the small ones in our not-working fridge are not a big problem. We have also had our first 4 ½ hours long church ceremony, in a language we don't understand, singing songs were we are only able to pronouns some words and sitting squeezed together like never before. Except on the buss to town.

Today, 6th of October, we have had our first day in Antananarivo (Tana). We went to the NMS office and met Berit Romarheim, one of the two Romarheims who will be kind of our contact persons as well. They will talk to us individually and, as Daniel and Helisoa, take good care at us. We came to their house near by NMS's office in the afternoon and were served Norwegian waffles! Perfect. They are so nice and we really had a good day. Getting up at 6 in the morning, taking the bus at 6.30 and then home again 12 hours later! What a day. We are all really tired! :) Tana is really exciting but I'm glad we live outside the center. It is not so crowded here and also not so many baggers. It is really hard to not give them money when small children, thin and smelling really bad, come up to you and ask. Today dinner for 8 persons cost maybe 150kr? And we can't give a little amount to those who ask. Of course we know why but it is still really hard. Being «vazaha» and then not share does not make it any better.

It is really facinating to be here. It is strange to see the way people live, their daily life, everything is completely normal. And it is so different from what we are used to in Norway. Really heavy bags of corn and I don't know what on their heads, long lines for getting on the buses, buses passing eachother when there is really no room for it. Old people, young people. People everywhere. No wonder internationals says Norway is empty. :)

«Herren er mitt lys og min frelse. Hvem skal jeg frykte? Herren er mitt livs styrke. Hvem skal jeg da være redd for? (...) For Han gjemmer meg under sitt dekke på den onde dag. (...) Vent på Herren, vær frimodig, og Han skal styrke ditt hjerte. Ja, bare vent på Herren.» Sal 27: 1,5,14